How We Made Our Dream Job a Reality and the Tools We’ve Used Along the Way: An Interview with The Bubble Process

Thoughts from Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 5 Designers, The Bubble Process (written by Rez. added to by Sean)

Written like a voice over from the Wonder Years.

Hello! We are The Bubble Process, an ongoing, 8+ year, dream job that still started and remains a glorified dream hobby. When we met each other we had no idea we would be where we are, doing what we do. We being Sean Higgins (Sean) and Nicholas Rezabek (Rez).

We all, yes all, met at KSU in a dorm called Koonce Hall. Part of a complex called Tri-Towers…AKA “The Bubble.” Named this way, because everyone that lived there never left. It was a self-sustaining dorm. Had a cafeteria and a grocery store. No need to go out, except for class, to party and to skate.

There were 5 of us that met on the 7th floor. We all skated and liked to party, so that is what we had in common. We were all big fans of the music scene as well, so we quickly bonded. Sean and I met in the elevator. He said, I hear there is a kid with a mowhawk that skates here too. I said that’s me, and took off my beanie. Done deal.

Calexico Poster | The Bubble Process
Calexico Poster | The Bubble Process

I goofed off the first semester, and my grades showed it. Sean was in the VCD program. I saw what he was doing and decided to catch up over the summer. When he got back, we were primed to be the “Beavis and Butthead” of our program, as we found out later on through our tenure. I’d prefer Bill and Ted, but both are equally spot on.

Well, we used to play this game in illustration classes called “the Kill game.” Draw something, then draw something terminating the previous’ existence. Some people took notes, (passed notes?). We drew. It was fun. We thought so anyways. We both got pushed pretty hard to keep going at illustration separately in school by William Quinn, Doug Goldsmith and our main man Jerry Kalback. He saw the “talent” but we saw a partner in crime. He made us what we are and can’t thank him enough for that.

Long story short: party, party, skate, work, draw, work, work, fall down the stairs, party, party, work, work, party. Graduate.

I went first, BFA in design and pretty much all the drawing courses as well. I moved to NY and carved out a gig at a wine magazine. Sean was close behind-a BFA in illustration and dug his feet in that sweet, Ohio soil. Next chapter.

After about two years of grinding in design stuff, we kept waiting for those sweet jobs – the ones in the design and illustration annuals – to show up. Well, they didn’t. So Sean reached out and said lets just do something. We agreed, immediately on posters, and that is history. Cleveland needed some visual love and we were ready to try.

We decided to play the kill game, long distance…our “Process” and give credit to where it is due, where we met – “The Bubble”.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Poster | The Bubble Process
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Poster | The Bubble Process

That’s how we work and that is who we are. We come up with ideas, sketches, jokes, you name it. Send them back and forth over the web and “kill” each others work. Add to it, change it, push it to the next level. It is always amazing to get an email of a screen shot that just gets your gears turning. You pretty much try to re-arrange your time to get back into some BUB work.

And time is the caveat. We did all this, and still do, with real, full-time jobs. Like real ones. We keep it as a hobby, because that is what it is. We love doing it. We make time to keep it going. We keep our “prices” low, because we would rather you have extra coin for a beer, or to get a bands 7″ or shirt after scoring our posters, and honestly when it becomes about money, it sort of takes the wind out of the sails for us. We just need enough to get us the equipment for a better end product, and maybe a trip to Europe, Pitchfork or SXSW to sell some posters. Really those trips are big excuse to see each other. If we go bust, NBD. We probably had the best time out of anyone there. That is what friendship is about, and that is cool by us.

The Head and The Heart | The Bubble Process
The Head and The Heart Poster | The Bubble Process

If we could give some advice to anyone reading it would be this.

Quit waiting for that dream job. It won’t come unless you make it happen.

Quit waiting for that dream job. It won’t come unless you make it happen. The work we do as a hobby gets us in the door 90% of the time because it shows we like to do other things that keep us fresh.

MGMT | The Bubble Process
MGMT Poster | The Bubble Process

A List of Supplies that Make our World

First of all we would be nothing without the Web. The better the tech gets, the quicker we can do what we do. We used to host all of our stuff on our websites (yikes!) to send. It was archaic, but it worked. Dropbox is our dream machine now. And Instant Messenger is our phone line. We talk pretty much every day, but will go months without even hearing each other. It is kinda weird. But it works. We are only in each other’s hair as much as we need to be. If we get heated, we can step away, take our time, and reach back out tomorrow. It might not work for everyone, but it works for us.

My Morning Jacket | The Bubble Process
My Morning Jacket Poster | The Bubble Process

/* Music */

You can probably find us on Spotify if you looked hard enough. We listen to everything. If we could narrow us down to two it would be DEVO and Creedence.

/* Food */

Huge food dudes.

Taco Tanto’s Burritos – our Main Vein for burritos in Kent, and a go to place for Sean

Pizza. Every kind, everywhere.

Vampire Weekend Poster | The Bubble Process
Vampire Weekend Poster | The Bubble Process

/* Coffee */

A Definite.

/* Beer */

Happy to endorse all flavors of beer.

Our Tastiest Pals include:

Great Lakes Brewing Company (all flavors)

Sierra Nevada (awesome stuff)

Coors (both Banquet and Silver Bullet)

Old Style (when in Chicago)

Feel free to reach out to us directly to send us samples. Or to do some work. We are waiting! :)

Neil Young Poster | The Bubble Process
Neil Young Poster | The Bubble Process

/* For Doodling */

~~ Pens / Pencils / Markers / Sticks ~~

We tend to use everything. The worst is when we forget to close the caps though. :(

Pilot G2.

Nothing fits our grubby mitts quite like that gem of a pen.

Micron .01 / .05 – So Smooth. A tad pricy, but can’t beat the consistency. These get dried out though when we are in the heat of a drawing. Caps seem to just disappear.

Ticonderoga pencil – They are the jam.

Pencil Sharpeners

Electric and xacto blades. Both have their merits.

Paint / Brushes / Ink

Winsor Newton Water Colors / inks

If we are gonna break those out, we want the finest. Plus we have a boat load still kickin after college, so the throwback aspect is a nice stroll down memory lane.

Winsor Newton Sceptre Gold  / Sable Brushes – Pushed by our great friend Jerry Kalback, those are our big boy brushes. They hold a bead like no other. Just a drag when we leave them on the light table and they get hard. :(

Light Table – Oversized. A MUST when doodlin’ and layers are your forte.

Scanner – A USB 2.0 (or better is a must) I think I have an HP photo one? Those old ones were like turtles. No time for slow scanning.

Paper – Reams of the lesser quality white copy paper are the finest for what we do.

Washed Out Poster | The Bubble Process
Washed Out Poster | The Bubble Process

/* For Printing */

Exposure Unit – Built from scratch by Sean’s Dad AKA Old Man Higgins. Features 8 UV black light bulbs and has screen storage below.


Victory Factory Screen Supply. Great prices and great dudes in Brooklyn, NY.

Vacuum table – Custom built vacuum table top by Andy MacDougall of Squeegeeville fame. Table frame and height adjustment apparatus also built by Old Man Higgins.

Inks – A mix of Speedball ink and Sherwin Williams (Cleveland Represent) paint which we score “Test Quarts” for under 5 bucks. The dudes there will mix up any color on the wall for me. Also a touch of Floetrol added to each ink to keep it smooth. All other chemicals are from Multicraft in Cleveland.

Drying Rack – Salvaged this from an old sign shop in Medina, Ohio. Still smells like stale cigs and I almost lost an eye to a broken spring.

Paper – French Paper, 100lb Cover Stock – various

We couldn’t do what we do without them. Fast delivery and amazing packaging.

Clamps – Speedball hinge clamps– 4Eva.

Yeasayer Poster | The Bubble Process
Yeasayer Poster | The Bubble Process

/* For Shipping */

Tubes – Uline 3″ Tubes filled with tons of extra stuff to make it worth your while.

USPS – Still gotta root for the classics here. USA.

 /* For Coding */

TextMate – Game changer.


Look out for the next wave of digital TBP as soon as I can dust off those archive CD ROMs and get those assets. Taking forever.

The Internets

The code is out there.


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