Aaron Draplin is a rock star and enigma in the design world – talent flows from every pour and yet zero pretention. He’s a free flowing fountain of ideas, stories and inspiration… and like the rest of us, he’s also an avid record collector. We’re closing out our first season of conversations with a biggie, packed full of wild moments from the design highway of Draplin’s brain. He delves into projects he’s worked on, but also digs into his own record collection and even grabs the guitar to strum a few chords of a Canadian classic. Pour up a drink but don’t go for a sip when Draplin is speaking as you never know what he’ll come out with next and you don’t want to spit hot coffee over your brand new Macbook when he drops some hilarious insanity and design bombshells into your ears. 



2:00 – RGD webinars happen 3-4 times a month and are free for all RGD members. From your home you can get perspective from many of the worlds top names on a ton of design related topics. Draplin has been a guest on more than one occasion. More info here.



3:20 – Aaron Draplin in St. John’s (at Signal Hill, which he later refers to as ‘the bluff’) in 2017 for the annual ‘thedesigners’ event. Photo by Jerry Stamp.



Find Aaron Draplin on instagram here @draplin

4:00 – Draplin’s amazing book – BUY IT HERE




Photo by Jerry Stamp


  • Terry O’Reilly’s show, Under the Influence
  • Ellen Lupton on Instagram

    12:00 – Some of Jud’s skateboards. He started a skate company called Atlantic Aire in 2020 with his friend Jon.

    And a few skateboards Aaron Draplin has designed over the years for Arbor Skateboards:

    14:20 – Aaron, Leigh and the van.

    16:15 –

    If you’re into record collecting, and somehow have never heard of Discogs – check out their site and app. You’ll have found your mecca. Not only do they catalogue your collection, their site is also a MASSIVE global marketplace where collectors buy and sell records, tapes and rare CDs.

    18:30 – Both Wolverine and The Punisher first appeared in comics in 1974.

    19:30 – Chris Ware is a famous American cartoonist known for his Acme Novelty Library series and the graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Building Stories and Rusty Brown. His works explore themes of social isolation, emotional torment and depression. He has been a frequent New Yorker cover artist.

    19:45 – The Brand New Conference 2012 held in New York featured big names including Massimo Vignelli, an Italian designer who is considered one of the most important of the 20th century. Unfortunately he passed away in 2014. Chip Kidd is an equally famous graphic designer best known for book covers.

    Aaron Draplin has designed a bunch of different projects for John Hodgman, an actor, writer and humorist.

    Art Spiegelman is a rock star in the world of comic books, editorial illustration, and magazine covers. His series MAUS is widely regarded as the best and most important comic book/graphic novel series ever made. Do a search for ‘best comic books ever’ and almost every list places MAUS at number 1. In 1992, Spiegelman was awards a Pulitzer Prize for his work on MAUS, the first time a comic had ever received the award. Its often times considered the moment that comics were first considered a real literary artform (mostly just considered ‘kids stuff’ before then).

    Remember the Garbage Pail Kids cards from the 1980s? He drew those too. A remarkable career and we’re VERY JEALOUS that Aaron Draplin had the opportunity to meet Art Spiegelman.

    23:00 – Not Jud’s actual Warlock, but a similar one.

    26:45 – A few of Jud’s Buck 65 collection from the 90’s. A couple of these have been sold and are no longer part of his collection…

    31:00 – Field Notes are Draplin’s popular series of vintage style notebooks. They’re for sale all over the world and come in a multitude of various options with special and limited editions released frequently. They have become highly collectible. Get some for yourself right here.

    33:00 – Aaron’s Dad. He and Jud’s Dad would have been best buds.

    37:45 – In 1991 Jud’s parents opened an antiques shop. Jud made this short video for Father’s Day, 2017 (using an old Go Pro and iMovie)

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    44:30 –

    46:00 – The first LP Aaron Draplin designed – a split between Danava, Earthless, and Lecherous Gaze (2011).

    47:45 –

    48:10 – Aaron Draplin’s first album he ever purchased was Quiet Riot on tape, when he was 8 or 9.

    49:00 – Danava

    53:15 – First album Draplin designed for Richmond Fontaine

    54:45 –

    56:15 –

    57:30 – Much of Aaron Draplin’s design voice is wrapped up in what he and others have called his “thick lines” style. Bold solid colour lines and shapes make up simple illustrations and design. He has used this technique on dozens if not hundreds of projects over the years, and now other designers are often seen riffing on his style trying to emulate his magic. This All Tiny Creatures record was the first piece Draplin used this style on, and the rest rolled out from here.



    1:03:15 – Jud designed Voyageur. The concept for the Great Lakes on the cover was Kathleen’s, and Jud hired Toronto collage-painter Darren Booth to paint the lakes and other illustrations used throughout the layout.

    1:04:55 – Blue Rodeo – and a shot of Kathleen Edwards in hockey gear, Aaron’s favourite uniform of Canadian rock stars.


    1:08:15 – Blue Rodeo albums designed by Jud. Cover photo on 1000 Arms by Mark Bennett. Cover photo on Live at Massey Hall by Heather Pollock. In Our Nature illustration by Jud Haynes.

    1:10:00 – Check out Aaron Draplin’s amazing Skillshare class about Designing Merch here.

    Blue Rodeo put a new record out this week! Their first in five years – and its a great one. Many A Mile was designed by Jud, and features incredibly beautiful artwork by Luke Swinson – check out his art @lukeswinsonart.

    1:11:00 – Photos from Aaron speaking engagement in Newfoundland (2017). Aaron with one of the graduating students in Newfoundland. Michaela is an awesome designer and now has a great gig working at one of the top ad agencies in Atlantic Canada. The second photo features designer Jerry Stamp, Creative Director Don-E Coady (DC Design House), Draplin, Creative Director Terri Roberts (Ray Agency), photographer and educator Ray Fennelly (CNA), and Jud Haynes.


  • Learn more about Aaron Draplin at www.draplin.com
  • @draplin on Instagram
  • www.fieldnotesbrand.com

    1:17:25 – WIN BLUE RODEO’S ‘FIVE DAYS IN JULY’ DOUBLE LP! Send along a comment about this episode; a suggestion for a future episode; or a story about an album cover, poster or music video that had an impact on your life – to artdesignmusicpodcast@gmail.com and we’ll enter your name in the draw for the record. Winners will be announced on our next episode, number 11.

    1:18:00 – Thanks Loel!!!

  • @loelcampbell on Instagram
  • www.wintersleep.com

    1:18:30 – Buy our Merch!!!

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