"Hey You, PSU!"

Prospective and current Portland State students have a new way to explore the university: "Hey You, PSU!", created by PSU student Steven Christian, offers an exuberant journey around the campus and its facilities. The city of Portland is renowned for its many comic book artists, writers, publishers and thousands of fans, so it is particularly fitting that the PSU Office of Admissions would explain the school via a comic book--and Christian was a natural choice to create it.

Christian, a second-year student in PSU’s Postbaccalaureate program, draws a comic strip called “A Moment in Iltopia” for the Vanguard, the university’s weekly student-run newspaper. When Admissions asked him to make a comic book for them, he took a campus tour and shot reference photographs of landmarks and rooms all over the school. These became the background of a story in which Christian’s characters explore PSU, from its labs and lecture halls, to its climbing wall, movie theater, pool hall, and much more.

Before arriving at PSU, Christian earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Hawaii and a master’s from Oregon State. At both schools, he played football, but a series of injuries and surgeries sidelined him. While recovering, he began exploring comics and animation, partly to keep his days filled and active. “I was used to doing things,” he says. “I had to redefine what a fulfilling day was.”

After getting his master’s degree at OSU, Christian decided to continue his education at PSU because the interdisciplinary nature of the school gave him the ability to prepare for medical school while simultaneously developing himself as an artist. PSU has deep ties to Portland's dynamic comics scene, including a Comics Studies program, which is striving to enhance ties to that community.

Influenced by artists such as Marvel mainstay Skottie Young, Christian’s work features stylized characters, without photorealistic details. “It’s easily relatable and lets people see themselves,” he says. “That’s the beauty of the medium.” For “Hey You, PSU!”, he did the ink in Manga Studio, then created digital paints in Adobe Photoshop so that he could add exaggerated colors to the images.

More of Christian’s work can be found on his website, stuckonaneyeland.com.