University of South Carolina

What I Did This Summer: Create theatre posters

"What I Did This Summer" follows a number of University of South Carolina students this summer as they work, travel, and explore the world. Many of them are blogging about their adventures. This is the sixth story in the series.


Twice a week this summer, Ben Kiehl walks across campus and into Longstreet Theatre with his sketchbook firmly clutched under his arm.

Sketchbook page

That sketchbook, which has the status of an NFL playbook, contains the promotional art for Theatre South Carolina’s upcoming main stage season. The art will appear in theatre brochures and, a few weeks before each show, will be printed onto posters and strategically placed on campus and around the city.

In other words, everyone will see it.

A senior majoring in art with a focus on graphic design, Kiehl was recommended for the internship by art professor Marius Valdes and selected through a competitive process.

Translating sketches into digital art

“This is the second year we have chosen a student to create the main stage art,” said Kevin Bush, marketing director for the Department of Theatre and Dance. “And this is the first year we’ve had a student—senior art major Linda Fung from Lexington—create art for the upcoming Lab Theatre productions.”

The first play of the main stage season, Kiehl said, has been the most difficult to illustrate.

“Coming up with a really good idea or really good illustration was hardest for Our Country is Good,” said Kiehl, who is from Prosperity. “It’s an award-winning play by Timberlake Wertenbaker about a group of British convicts exiled to Australia in the 18th century. It’s a great play, but it’s been challenging figuring out how to create one clear image to portray what goes on in it.”

Naturally, the first step was to read the play.

“Kevin and I began meeting two days a week to bounce ideas off each other, and then we picked the best ideas,” Kiehl said. He creates a sketch based on those ideas and then the two refine it.

Kevin Bush
Kevin Bush

Having well-crafted, striking imagery helps to make each show stand out in the very full marketplace of cultural offerings in town, and we always hope that going the extra mile with our marketing imagery will result in bigger audiences,” Bush said.

“Kevin also wants to show the quality of the department and the plays,” Kiehl said. “Hopefully the posters will show that artistic excellence.”

By Web Communications

Posted: 07/07/10 @ 4:00 PM | Updated: 12/09/10 @ 3:50 PM | Permalink