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Art by Brian Rau

Brian Rau finds inspiration in lore and exploring new worlds

Who are you?

Hi! My name is Brian Rau. I’m a designer and illustrator living in Chicago, IL. I was born and raised in central Illinois and went to school at Northern Illinois University. My first job out of college was in Orange County, CA so I moved there and enjoyed the west coast for two years. I moved back to the midwest and started working in Chicago. Since then I’ve worked for a few design and advertising agencies around the city.

What are you working on?

I was working at VSA Partners for the last 3 years, but recently made the leap into full-time freelance! So I’m currently taking on new projects and learning a lot more about the business side of things. I generally focus on branding, identity, illustration and packaging. Aside from that, I’ve been working on a lot of personal projects, which has been super enjoyable and beneficial in pursuing work i’m passionate about.

Choose a favorite shot of yours. Why is it a favorite?

The Gay Saint

The Gay Saint

by Brian Rau

This was inspired by a variety of things from my personal life along with the image of Saint Sebastian, sometimes referred to as 'The Gay Saint'. It can be frustrating, as a gay man, to receive so much negativity for simply showing love to another human...

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I chose this shot because it represents me and the work I’m really passionate about. Aesthetically, I feel that I’m finally understanding my sense of style and the work I’d like to continue doing. In terms of subject matter, it’d be great to continue doing work for the LGBTQ community. I’m also been a big fan of the human form and have been trying to figure out how to incorporate that into my work more.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration, in and out of the office?

Subject matter that inspires me comes from my interest in fantasy and lore. My father was a magician and growing up I played several Blizzard and Wizards of the Coast games. Now, traveling has become a big one for me as well. So maybe I could say I get inspired by going on adventures and exploring new worlds. Within the design and illustration community I find so many talented people constantly producing great work. I think this motivates me to keep up with this mentality of ‘If they can do it, so can I!” I also absolutely love seeing a design or illustration broken down into a super simple form that still conveys a lot of storytelling and emotion.

Tell us about your setup. What tools did you use to create the shot?


I just barely moved apartments and I need a few things such as a real chair. I mostly work off of my MacBook Pro 15-inch, 2017 using a magic mouse and Adobe Illustrator. Occasionally I’ll use my Wacom Cintiq 13-inch, but I still prefer using pencil and paper for sketching. If I’m working remotely, I’m hopping around coffee shops trying to cop that free wifi.

Choose a favorite shot from another Player. Why do you dig it?

Preacher Stained Glass '18

Preacher Stained Glass '18

by Daniel Seong

New stained glass window for Preacher SXSW 2018. Inspired by a sermon about Passover I listened to few months ago. Where one life ends, another begins.

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This recent shot by Daniel Seong is just so good! I find designing stained-glass to be incredibly challenging and have definitely struggled with it in the past. But this is so simple and turned out so beautiful!

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