Freshly Laundered 036 / Josh Lewis


We took a few moments to catch up with graphic designer and illustrator, Josh Lewis recently. After getting a chance to meet him in person at Creative Works, we knew he’d be a fun interview. Read on to learn how he turned a personal project into something much more.

CB: Tell us Josh, what’s behind the obsession with Space?

JL: My love for space began when I was a kid in the 80s. NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 missions sent back images of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. I was hooked! It has to do with the sense of wonder and awe I get when looking at this vast universe. It’s beautiful and mind blowing!

Fun fact: I paid tribute to Voyager 1 in my Jupiter shirt.


CB: As a fellow child of the 80’s, I get it! Space is rad. You have a beautiful new Solar System Poster for sale in your Etsy shop right now, what was the process like for illustrating this piece? How long did you work on this project?

JL: Thanks! This poster is based on a personal project. I created a website with my illustrations and fun facts to give a basic overview of our solar system. During my research phase, I realized how complex and mind blowing our solar system is! So the poster was a way to use this art to capture the majority of objects orbiting our sun including the types of planets, largest moons, Jupiter’s trojan planets, asteroids, centaurs and comets.

I started this project with tons of research through NASA’s website, books and even a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I gathered tons of references and started with a few tests. My goal was to create a stylized illustration that shows key features of the object. So Mars has Valles Marineris (the largest canyon in our solar system) and Jupiter has the Great Red Spot (a gigantic storm that has raged for centuries.) To create a stylized yet accurate illustration takes time to get it right. It’s hard to nail down the exact amount of time, but some of the simple moons took an hour or 2 and larger, more detailed planets took 15-20 hours each. I was defining the style and learning about the planet/moon/object as I went. Through it all, I had a blast and improved as an illustrator.


CB: That’s a lot of work for a personal project! Did you think when you started the website that it would eventually end up being something you were able to make money off of? You’ve turned this little project into two tees and a poster so far, not too shabby!

JL: Yes! As I was creating the website, I knew I could create lots of products around my work. It’s the solar system. It can be a lot of things! Thanks to Cotton Bureau, I was able to kick off the first product with my Jupiter shirt.

Yes, this was a lengthy personal project! Before I started I told myself to focus on something simple and obtainable. I wanted to give a basic overview of our solar system. At the time I thought that there’s only the sun, 8 planets with a couple dozen or so moons, 3 or so dwarf planets and a couple of belts. How hard could that be? Turns out there’s millions of objects orbiting our sun! Ha! I was able to simplify the content a bit, but it was far more work than I realized.


CB: Besides personal projects like this, what other stuff do you do in your free time?

JL: The rest of my free time is mostly spent with my wife and three kids. Our kids are 13, 12 and 8. They’re growing up fast, so we spend our time making memories like building Lego, playing games, going to the library and exploring Colorado. My 2 youngest will draw with me from time to time.

I’m also a runner. I’ll admit that it’s an acquired taste, but it helps my focus and overall energy. I stick around the 5k to 10k distances.

My office consists of art books, vintage childrens books, toys and art prints. I’m usually adding to the collection and I’ve always been a sucker for Lego minifigures.


CB: I remember you telling me at Creative Works last year that one of your sons created an online Lego version of each of your planets as you released them. How did that feel, to see your son following in your footsteps?

JL: The most rewarding part of this project was connecting with my oldest son. He’s a high functioning kid with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s quiet, didn’t initiate conversations at the time and only talks about the topics he cares about. He saw me developing the content/site and would check in from time to time. When I launched the site, I released 2-3 pages a week. On the first day of launching the site, he said he had something for me on our computer. He had my sun page up and had built a Lego version using the Lego Digital Designer. That blew me away that I was able to connect with him! He followed along and built Lego versions for about half of the pages. That’s something I’ll cherish the rest of my life!


CB: What an amazing outcome for this personal project of yours! It was great connecting with you again Josh, thanks for chatting!

You can view more of Josh’s work on his website, see what new stuff he’s getting into on his twitter, instagram, and dribbble pages, or sign up to be notified when his CB tees are for sale again, here.