JEFF FINLEY: No Rest for the Wicked

The first thing you need to know about Jeff Finley is that he works his ass off. He is a freelance designer and one of the partners for GoMedia. If you do not know GoMedia, then you need to spend the next day cruising around their site. They have become the “it” design company by kicking out amazing design work for numerous clients but also providing countless media packs through the Arsenal moniker, which provides artists with vector packs, tutorials and shirt mock ups. Jeff laid some cardboard out and did some old school break-dancing for MBA (metaphorically speaking) and the result is the informative interview below:

The first thing that you need to know about Jeff Finley is that he works his ass off.How did you get your first paying art job?
I had a friend who started his own hobby shop called Gamer’s Edge, and he paid me store credit to design a flyer and a website for him.  I thought it was great because I could get free Magic cards (I was huge into Magic at the time, 2004) and I got to add it to my portfolio.  For bands, I would reach out to them on Myspace (when it was new) and got a lot of work that way.  I’d talk to them at shows and offer up designs for cheap when I was just starting out.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
My style has always been evolving.  I’ve always had a tendency to distress/age my work to some degree.  I’m into lettering and that’s always played a part in my work, as has illustration.  So as I keep working and keep trying to experiment and improve my skills, I see different styles take shape.

Who are your artistic influences?
I still love John Dyer Baizley, Justin Kamerer, Derek Hess, and Aaron Horkey, but I’m also a fan of Mark Weaver, Jessica Hische, Richie Stewart, Mikey Burton, Aaron Draplin, Dan Cassaro, Brandon Rike, Ron Lewis, Dan Christofferson, and many many more.

Tell us about your studio space?
The studio space here at Go Media is pretty awesome.  We’ve got a nice open floorplan with Ikea jerker desks, dual monitors, etc.  We bought a 3 story, 15k square foot warehouse back in 2008.  Prior to that we worked out of my business partner’s town house.

Take us through a typical for day Jeff Finley?
There’s not really a typical day for me.  Every day seems to bring something different to the table.  But I work 10-6 in the office at Go Media and at home I try to spend time with my wife, watch films, practice break-dancing and drums, and relax in general.  During the workday I could be designing or working within the design community at large with things like Weapons of Mass Creation Fest (which just went on this weekend btw), Dribbble, Twitter, Blogging, etc.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
Have a few different styles and ways of working.  You might be more interested to check out these process videos and tutorials I’ve put out. see the links on the bottom two sections.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
It’s almost all done on the computer.  But my sketching is usually in a Moleskine, Action Method, or Field Notes book.  I use AI and PS mostly.  Sometimes I’ll venture into 3D Studio Max.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
Reference materials are key.  I don’t think I could survive without them.  Stuff that just comes from my head usually ends up coming out worse that I imagine.

Do the bands give you any direction?
Certainly, they have ideas and concepts and ask me to come up with the design.  I’ve read somewhere recently that it’s better to have someone tell you their overall concept or goal, and the designer comes up with the solution.  Rather than the client thinks of the solution and the designer executes it.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Bands don’t have much of a budget usually, you have to expect that.  But whenever you reach out to a band, show them some work that is similar to their style and reference other bands they might know who you have worked for.

What are you currently working on?
I just wrapped up the 2nd ever Weapons of Mass Creation Fest –WMCFest so I’m trying to find my groove again.  I think I’ll take a vacation or something!  But once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll be working on a new site for myself at and probably a new site for our blog GoMediaZine

Do you have any dream projects?
Nothing specifically – but the recipe for a dream project is this:  Good pay, tight deadline, will get me exposure, allows me to flex some creative muscles and do what I think is good, easy client, and doesn’t have a ton of revisions.

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
This is a tough one, as I got through phases where I love a bunch of bands and then somehow get burnt out on bands.  I’m recovering from a burnout period that has lasted about a year, which totally sucks.  But before that I was huge into bands like Latterman, Anti-Flag, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Defiance OH.  There’s a newish band out there called Spraynard which I really like.  Back in the day I was huge into Blink 182, Rancid, the Offspring, Rise Against, Strike Anywhere, Taking Back Sunday, Bright Eyes, AFI, The Starting Line, etc.

About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.