Design Ranch 2021 Workshops

We’re wrangling up the best workshop leaders from across the land to deliver unique, engaging programming. More workshop leaders being announced later!

Print-Wood Derby

with David Dodde

Join House Industries’ David Dodde, along with a little help from our friends at Industry Print Shop, and explore the art of 3D printing. Jump in and hot rod your very own pinewood derby car with House Industries’ graphics while learning the finer points of screen printing 3D objects. You’ll learn jig making along with a few more insider tips and tricks. At the end of the workshop everyone walks away with their very own custom derby car and the chance to put it to the test against your fellow attendees on the racetrack! Who knows… maybe you’ll earn some bragging rights.

About David
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, David Dodde has successfully created products for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike. His credits include packaging for Kellogg’s, apparel for Disney, and as the creator of the 90’s skate brand Stink Brand Skateboards. His skills as a master screen printer and his sensitivity to craft have made him the choice of professional artists and designers, including House Industries. David is a key member of the House Industries creative and production teams, having touched nearly everything House has made.

Connection to Place

with Jessica Fontenot

All of us have connections to different places, like the bar where you met your partner or the house you grew up in. In this workshop, Jessica will guide you through creating a watercolor illustration of a place you love—sharing her approach to drawing architecture and some watercolor techniques she uses in her work. Walk away from this workshop with a piece of art uniquely special to you. (Attendees are encouraged to bring a picture of a place they love to the Ranch to work from.)

About Jessica
Jessica Fontenot is an illustrator and designer based in Austin, Texas. She enjoys working with different brands to illustrate their products, services and events. With 7+ years of work experience in agencies, her foundation is based in problem-solving and strategic design thinking.

Press this Mess

with Dirk Fowler

Not one to follow the rules, Dirk says he’ll print with anything he can cram through the press. Forget about perfect alignment and registration. Slow down and get analog! Make relief-printed poster mashups on antique proofing presses using vintage wood and metal type, old ad cuts and new-fangled laser cut blocks.

About Dirk
Dirk Fowler is an Associate Professor of Art in Graphic Design at Texas Tech University and one half of f2design, an award winning design and printing studio in sunny Lubbock, Texas. He has created letterpress posters and illustration for clients such as Wilco, The New York Dolls, Columbia Records, Wired, Billboard, Texas Monthly and The New York Times. His work has been awarded by the American Advertising Federation, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Type Directors Club and Society of Publication Designers and has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, Novum, PRINT, Communication Arts and numerous books including the Art of Modern Rock, New Masters of Poster Design and Impressive. He has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in museums and galleries around the world, including international poster exhibitions in China, Mexico and Bolivia.

Sequential Art is for Everyone

with Oscar Garza

Comics (aka sequential art) is one of the oldest forms of communication and storytelling, pre-dating the written word. Over the past 50 years this classic art form became pigeon-holed as a child’s medium, something to outgrow. But you know what? Nuh-uh! There is life outside of the comic book shops and Sunday funnies. Comics should be for the masses, both reading and creating. Discover a unique way to express yourself by recreating time on paper. In this workshop you’ll pick from various topics (the fist time you ate your favorite food, meeting your future spouse, meeting a personal goal, etc.) and we’ll walk through the entire comic creation process: script, layout, and drawing (trust me, you can draw). The end result will be a glorious one-page comic or folded mini-zine. Let’s embrace the independent comic scene, where there is no bad art, only your style!

About Oscar

Oscar Garza is an animator/comic book artist with 17 years’ experience in the video game and entertainment industry, with credits on various games, animated shorts, comic and children’s books. He currently works at Kingsisle Entertainment, and runs the independent comic book label 5 MEATS COMICS, and performs various characters for Party World Rasslin’, the Largest Free Independent Wrestling show in the World!

Coffee Senses

with Sara Gibson

Let’s activate two of the senses that sometimes get left out of the creative process: smell and taste. You’ll analyze different coffees side-by-side and discover how origin, process, and roast profile can affect flavor. Using reference foods (like nuts, berries, and chocolate) and the official Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel, you’ll evaluate differences in aroma, body, sweetness, and acidity and hone your ability to discern what you like in a cup of joe. You’ll leave well-caffeinated and ready to create!

About Sara
As head roaster at Greater Goods Coffee Co. (@gg_roasting), Sara’s job is to help every coffee bean become its best self. She sources coffee from around the world and creates individualized recipes to bring out ideal levels of sweetness, acidity, and body in each batch. She has Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certifications in roasting, sensory skills, and green coffee. She’s also a mom to two humans, one cat, and five fish.

Homecoming ’20

With Jess Moss

Like all Texans, Jess has a knack for making things bigger. Join her in welcoming us home to the ranch by crafting mums, a Texas-only tradition honoring a form of non-verbal communication based on symbolism. Get ready to glue together the gaudy, tacky, over the top materials onto a wearable homecoming corsage.

About Jess

Jess Moss is an Experience Designer in Austin, TX, building digital products at Projekt202. Beyond UX, Jess is a passionate crafter that finds potential in found objects, breathing new life into abandoned obscurities by combining them into quirky assemblages.


with Marisol Ortega

What is Zoomorphism? In the context of art, it could be described as art that imagines humans as non-human animals by taking form in a physical object. In this workshop, attendees will be learning the basics of carving on linocut with tools and printing on unexpected surfaces. We will explore our theme, draw inspiration from our location, use lithographic tools and processes to create an original morphed animal. Ranchers will be able to take home a printed wall hanging as a keepsake of their animal.

About Marisol
Marisol is a first generation Mexican-American designer/illustrator currently residing outside of Seattle, WA. She’s inspired by nature, working with her hands and the many colors of our planet. Her work reflects an exploration of nature, her cultures with a bright color palette.

Water Marbling

With Mercedez Rex

In this workshop students will be introduced to the ancient art of water marbling – a centuries’ old process that involves floating pigments on the surface of specially treated water. Textile artist Mercedez Rex will cover a brief history of the craft before guiding participants through the process of achieving specific patterns using various tools. Each student will have their own tray to experiment with learned techniques and play with color before transferring their designs onto silk and paper.

Mercedez Rex
Mercedez Rex is an Austin based artist and creativity enthusiast who favors processes that allow for chance, unpredictability and play.

She began experimenting with surface design in textiles in 2013 and shortly thereafter founded her eponymous collection of accessories and home goods. In 2018, after discovering the magic of water marbling, her focus shifted from dyes on textiles to pigments mono-printed on paper and silk. Believing that everyone has creative potential and that cultivating creativity is a worthwhile pursuit, Mercedez offers marbling workshops and private DIY experiential art sessions as a means to reconnect people with their inherent creativity.

Intro to Plant-Forward Cooking

Introduction to Plant-Forward Cooking: This hands-on training provides participants with an overview of plant-based cuisine including the social and media trends regarding plant-based foods, complete proteins, meat-analogues, environmental impacts, and sustainability. Participants will understand how to properly prepare a variety of plant-forward recipes, how to create and cook plant-forward meat substitutes, proper cooking techniques for vegetables and grains, and flavor composition.

Intro to Grillin’

Introduction to Grilling: This hands-on training provides participants with an overview of techniques and methods to properly prepare a variety of proteins and vegetables using a grill. Participants will understand the structure of protein and how it reacts to heat, how to set-up both a wood fire and charcoal grill, how to season and prepare proteins and vegetables, and how to properly grill items for maximum flavor and appearance.”

About Scott and Patrick

H-E-B Culinary Academy
Scott Pettit is the Director of Culinary for H-E-B. He has 36 years in grocery retailing and recently celebrated his 26th year with H-E-B. He may be best known for creating and leading Showtime, H-E-B’s selling organization. Most recently, he has received notice for the creation of H-E-B Culinary Academy. Currently, Scott leads Culinary Education, Culinary Product Development, and Recipe Services. One of his star chefs is Chef Patrick Clark, the Dean of H-E-B’s very own Culinary Academy. Prior to joining H-E-B two years ago, Patrick was a professor at the Culinary Institute of America at the San Antonio and Napa Valley campuses. Scott and Chef Patrick have a reputation of delivering fun, informative culinary experiences for H-E-B’s Partners and are excited to turn their team’s focus on folks at Design Ranch!

Papermaking for Keeps

With Yama Ploskonka

In this workshop, we’re going for the Guinness World Record for Largest Sheet of Handmade Paper. Yup, you heard us right. We’ll attempt a 2,000 square foot, Texas-sized sheet of paper, a record last set in Paraguay in 2015. We’ll also make lots of 100% cotton archival paper by hand that you can use for other DR activities like printing, lithographs, marbling, and drawing. You can also experiment with making one-of-a-kind paper art pieces such as the reverse-watermark, which was pioneered at Design Ranch in 2018!

About Yama
Again facing unemployment in late 2015, Yama attempts, again, to imitate ancient woodblock prints but just couldn’t afford paper that felt right. “I can make my own paper!” was the epiphany this time. However, the general absence in Austin, Texas, of 15th century thick-wool sheep, or workers that rejoice in sixpence pay for 16-hour days complicates replicating Middle Ages materials…

Hacking together post-modern tools and equipment designed for something else entirely, being quite a mutt (“eclectic”) as to skills, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, Prof.Mtro. Yamandu Zavish Ploskonka y Rivas, DSLL, nowadays can press print on good sustainable paper where the laid pattern mimicks incunable-era wire moulds, the surface the mediæval curly coarse felts.

Yet, as it turns out, as nice or era-accurate those may be, the product or tools are not what matters. Meeting the wabi-sabi of this silent and unseen sidekick to civilization, paper delivers some undefinable quality in its making. Handmade paper, with naturally distinctive deckle edges, texture, signatures of individual Creation, becomes support for further human creativity and uniqueness. As quiet as store-bought, but alive.

Get Gelli!

With Judy Schulz

These soft, floppy slabs of amazing-ness will become one of your favorite art tools. In this unique workshop you’ll learn image magazine transfer using GelliArts® plates, acrylic paint and high gloss magazine images. You’ll create a cover for a special die-cut, 150 page dot/grid notebook.

About Judy

Judy is Austin’s resident paper enthusiast. A veteran in the industry for the past 30+ years, her career has taken her from print design, the paper mill to paper distribution. Judy is the Brand Ambassador for Olmsted-Kirk, the friendliest and oldest paper company in Texas. She was named an AIGA Fellow in 2015 and her paper story was published in Uppercase Magazine. Judy consults with creatives regularly on their printing and paper choices. She’s a card-carrying member of AIGA.

Model Car Culture

With Edgar Vergara and Armando Flores

In this workshop you will be prepping, painting and building a 1/24 scale model car. Go back in time and choose a kit from the 40s, 50s or 60s! Discover the unique design of these American classics and express yourself with custom building and painting techniques. This is the world of model car culture!

About Edgar & Armando
Edgar Vergara has been a scale model car artist since 2015. He has shown his work in model car shows and presentations across California, and he is currently the host of the Scale Riders Model Car Culture Podcast. Armando Flores has been a scale model car artist for over 30 years. Throughout the 1990s he was featured in Lowrider Bicycle Magazine, the publication credited for popularizing the craft of scale model car art. He has shown his work at museums and car shows throughout California and Japan.

Whittle a Desktop Bird

With Brad Woodard

Take a big step back from the computer, grab a piece of wood and a pocket knife and start whittling! In this workshop you will learn whittling basics while carving out your own 4-inch bird to keep you company on your desk. It will be fun, relaxing and most importantly, rewarding. You’ll come away with tangible proof of all your hard work, and if we do this right, all your fingers 🙂

About Brad
Brad is the co-founder of the design and illustration studio, Brave the Woods. His love for creating and experimenting leads him to working in all different types of art projects, mediums and styles. In order to justify all his hobbies, he loves teaching everything he knows via workshops, online courses and a YouTube channel. Aside from being an artist, Brad enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with his wife and kids.