Aaron James Draplin

Aaron James Draplin

Designer, guitar player, badass

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Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Aaron James Draplin, I'm 38 years old and I'm a graphic designer, traveler, Field Notes co-conspirator, guitar player and wonderer living and working in Portland, Oregon. Shit's going good, and I'm thankful as hell to be able to do this stuff for a living.

What hardware do you use?

I buy a new Apple super tower every couple years, and I soup the sonofabitch up with as much as possible with RAM and internal hard drive space. Drive one is for the programs and operating systems. Drive two is for my data. Drive three backs up drive two. Drive four is for my client archives which date back to 1998. I've got two 30-inch Apple monitors. One for the workboard and palettes, and then one for email, iTunes, calendars and iChat. Not down with switching windows! That shit gives me a headache.

A couple months back, I went into the Apple store and told the kid, "I want the 15" matte screen laptop. Soup it up as much as it'll go." Just as simple as that. With as much time as I spend on the road, I need full firepower for pulling off my projects out there. After a long day in the shop on the big rig, I'll plop whatever "thorn in my side" project is keeping me up at night, to take it home for the late shift. I'll tinker on stuff while watching tube, after supper. This stuff just sorta doesn't end for me. And I love it.

I "went wireless" a couple years back and splurged on the Apple keyboard and mouse. I love how much cleaner the workspace is with 'em, until the connection shits out. Then I'm a wreck, mad dog mean and ready to fight. I just can't handle it when the shit doesn't work. Too much is on the line, always! Each hour counts.

I've got the biggest iPhone they make and don't fill it up like I should. The little bastard is my lifeline, and that freaks me out. First thing I look at in the morning, and the last thing I look at before I konk out. Thank you, Steve Jobs. I've got a big iPad and use it on planes for watching movies. I still don't understand people using them to take photos. Feels weird.

I shoot dumb shit with my iPhone, and then the serious shit with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 with 20mm Pancake Lens. While junkin' I've got that Panasonic on a leather strap around my neck. Like a tourist. I'm always a tourist.

I always keep a couple guitars in the shop. I'll grab my guitar a couple times an hour to noodle on something or learn whatever's on the record player. Then I forget it, and go back to the grind. I've got a 2005 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar, a 1986 Fender Japanese Telecaster and DeArmond Jetstar "Green Machine" at close range at all times in the shop. Straight tuning. DDC plectrums. If I'm feeling nasty, I'll play the electric guitars through a 1954 Fender Champ 5C1 5 watt amp. Look it up. So rad. All warm, bite-size and old.

Back at the ranch I've got 1997 Gibson SG electric guitar, 2009 Yamaha Spanish Classical noodler guitar and 1993 Fender Precision bass set up for noodling and rocking. With some pedals, too, played through a 1996 Peavey Vintage Tweed 30 watt amp. And, a drum set. I totally suck on 'em, but can play a couple old Flaming Lips songs, so shit's cool. My favorite drummers are Steven Drozd, John Convertino, Patrick Keeler and Todd Trainer. Love watching those guys.

And what software?

Mainly, the "big three" from Adobe. Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign. Adobe Acrobat to make my PDF presentations. MacMail is always open. Always. My lifeline to everything. I doing my Tweeting through Tweetie. Pages and Numbers are my word processor bad boys. Transmit is always open with a direct internet tube to my FTP. I surf the web using Firefox. I don't mess around with iChat too much anymore, but will use it time to time when I'm on the clock with a client, knocking shit out.

What would be your dream setup?

My next set up will have three monitors. The middle monitor will be the artboard. The right monitor will be palettes, iTunes and Calendar. The far left monitor will be for email. Getting ready to settle a new machine, if I can get a couple free days. New machines are cool and all, but damn, you lose a couple days with the set up, so I always hesitate. I'm due for a new machine, so I'm pretty excited for some new muscle.