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PHS student designs artwork for Onion Festival

 Leah McCarthy shows off her design after receiving the T-shirt from Lions Club President Donald McIntyre.

Leah McCarthy, a 10th-grade graphic design student at PHS, recently created the artwork for the annual Onion Festival promotional T-shirt.

“We always use student artwork for our promotional logo because it’s a way to recognize and celebrate our students,” said PISD Superintendent and Lions Club President Donald McIntyre.

Leah received a free T-shirt, featuring her art, as well as a $50 prize, which she plans to put toward a new pair of AirPods.

Onion Festival organizers presented the project idea to the graphic design students at PHS, who then created drafts of their design using Adobe Illustrator.

According to Mr. McIntyre, this project gives students the opportunity to create a real-world product using a real-world process.

“Once we received some of the preliminary artwork, we reached out to the students again to explain that the ultimate end-goal needed to incorporate the images they created into a T-shirt design,” he said.

Students were using the computer program to draw images, such as onions, trophies, tennis racquets, classic cars and panther paws, on a computer.

“They started with a blank screen,” Mr. McIntyre said. “And a several-step process created a cool design that was used on our T-shirts to commemorate our annual Onion Festival.”

Although this started as a routine assignment, the students were able to expand beyond the normal grade in a gradebook.

“This project was a lot of fun, and even though it was a class assignment, we were able to enjoy having a real-world application,” Leah said.

The revision process provided more of a challenge.

“My entire previous design was a whole carnival theme,” she said. “Then we found out it didn’t really match with what the Onion Festival is all about, so I had to start at the beginning and completely change it.”

As part of the revision process, once Leah understood the concept of what the Onion Festival was all about, she was able to dig into the project to create a design the Lions Club selected as the best from her class.

“I really focused on the main importance of the Onion Festival and based it all on the big activities, like antique cars, the 5K, tennis and, obviously, an onion,” she said.

Leah, who was the PHS Artist of the Month earlier this year, has gotten a lot from her graphics class.

“I really like art in general, so I thought it would be neat to try it out on the computer,” she said.

The graphics course recently switched gears.

“We spent a lot of time learning about Illustrator,” Leah said. “But we recently moved to Photoshop. We focus on a different design skill each week, and we are now learning about perspective.”

This class could lead Leah into a future career.

“I’ve been doing a lot of graphics design even outside of class,” she said. “I recently designed a logo for a coach for him to use with his podcast. I like creating things and making art out of my ideas. Designing logos is probably my favorite thing to do, and I may go into that area in the future.”