Starting out making graphics on his phone for a St. Louis Cardinals fan page on Instagram, junior sport marketing and media major Blake Rowedder wanted to improve his graphics skills and in the process, stumbled across a career.
“I almost deleted Photoshop after a week because I was so frustrated with it,” Rowedder said. “One weekend, my bosses with the equipment staff said I could make a graphic for the football team, who needed a graphic for a commitment. Thats where I got started.”
Rowedder didn’t come to USD to be a graphic designer. Coming from Harlan, Iowa, Rowedder said he wanted to be a clubhouse manager for a baseball team. He joined the equipment staff and did whatever work they asked him to, such as laundry and setting up the locker rooms when teams were on the road.
Rowedder traveled with the football team as a football manager during his freshman and sophomore year. He set up the sidelines, coaches booth and loaded and unloaded equipment.
After making his first graphic for the sports information department, Rowedder stayed under the radar and continued to do graphics occasionally for the department, but Rowedder said no one really knew where they were coming from, since he wasn’t working in the marketing or sports information (SID) departments.
Once Assistant AD for Sports information Bryan Boettcher found out Rowedder was the one making the graphics, Boettcher called Rowedder, asking him if he wanted to join the SID department.
Rowedder’s job now has him doing a variety of tasks, from social media to running stats.
“My main job is graphic designing,” Rowedder said. “Leah Dusterhoft and I do most of the social media graphics. I also ran stats to opposing teams or media during games. I have called a couple football games while also running the official social media. Their main goal was to have me run and make graphics for social media. I also cut highlight videos for social media.”
Rowedder has been using Photoshop for less than two years but has found success on Twitter with some of his graphics. Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson retweeted a graphic Rowedder made of Watson. He has also gotten interactions from Justin Fields, Kolten Wong, Willy Adames and USD alum Tyson Graham.
Other opportunities Rowedder has had to this point is working with Indiana Wesleyan and Southern University. Rowedder said one of his biggest opportunities came when the XFL started up last spring.
“I worked with the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL,” Rowedder said. “Being a Cardinals fan, I needed to pick an XFL team and picked the Saint Louis team. I created a personal project on my own for the Battlehawks. After the opening week, I made a gameday graphic, score graphics and a victory graphic. I was taking photos from the website and making graphics that way. I sent them a DM on twitter, and they reached out to me a few days later asking if I wanted to work with them.”
Rowedder has since worked with The Draft Network, and currently interns with the University of Toledo. Rowedder said one of his favorite parts is seeing the appreciation for the graphics.
“It’s really cool to see all the feedback from my work, and I see all the comments and it is really rewarding,” Rowedder said.
Recently, Rowedder has picked up photography for sports information. Rowedder said he is self taught, learning from YouTube and talking with other graphic designers.
“Coming out of high school I wanted a job that felt like a hobby,” Rowedder said. “I think this is something that feels that way.”