“Good design is not mastering Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign, that part is expected. Good design comes from perfecting your creative technique, tweaking your sketches, understanding layout, movement, typography, color and balance. It’s for ever learning to be a better artist. To compete in this digital age you must master the tools of the trade, but that should include both the stylus and the pencil.” - Jeff Hobrath
Navy Chief (Ret) and Graphic Artist Jeff Hobrath’s unique artistic style is unmistakable and evident in everything he creates, whether it’s illustrations, technical drawings, web sites, page layout, cartoons, or logos. 30+ years experience as a leader and senior graphic artist in both government and commercial environments. He thrives on all things creative.
Born in 1963 and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, by parents who immigrated to the United States after World War II. His interest in art started in childhood, spending countless hours illustrating in pencil and ink. Once the digital age arrived, he translated his talent as a traditional artist into computer graphic arts, mastering Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and other professional design applications.
Although he loved being a young artist, his childhood dream was to serve in the United States Navy. So Jeff joined the Navy in 1981, at the age of 17 and shipped off to bootcamp in February 1982. An interesting career in the Navy to say the least. Most of Jeff's military service revolved around Naval Aviation, specifically Aviation Life Support Systems (ALSS) dealing with Aircrew Survival related issues and equipment on America's most advanced weapons systems including carrier based aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom, F-14 Tomcat, A-6 Intruder, EA-6B Prowler, F-5 Tigershark and F/A-18 Hornet.
He also served extensively in the Naval Security Forces, graduating from the Naval Special Weapons and Tactics Academy at Naval Air Station Miramar in 1987 and becoming a member of the Crisis Response Force, an Anti-terrorist unit which supported various specialized security operations. He served in various commands and duty stations including Recruit Training Command Great Lakes Illinois, Naval Air Technical Training Center Lakehurst New Jersey, Naval Air Station Miramar Califronia, Naval Air Station Glenview Illinois, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove Pennsylvania, Fighter Squadron Twenty One (VF-21), Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five One (VR-51), Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Two (VR-52), the aircraft carriers USS Constellation (CV-64) and the USS Coral Sea (CV-43). Deployed around the world several times in various operations. While stationed at NAS JRB Willow Grove, Jeff was selected as “Sailor of the Year” and promoted to Chief.
During his 20 years of service in the Navy, he never really stepped away from his artistic talent. Jeff honed his creative skills at each command he served, always being asked to draw or paint something on the ship, the squadron walls, or cartoons of the crew. He even painted the sides of a few aircraft reminiscent of WW-II aircraft. Jeff became a very popular artist where ever he was stationed. Later he turned some of his designs into a household name brand “NavyChief.com”. Jeff founded NavyChief.com and parent company NavalTees in 1997 and served as CEO, President, Art Director, Artist and Web Designer for the next 15 years building it into one of the most popular military related brands in the world. His creativity, expert design and keen sense of humor made Jeff’s work a favorite among the troops and today he stands as one of the most recognized military artists of all time. Jeff was the first person on active duty to become an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Photoshop.
Countless moves across seven states, Jeff finally retired from the Navy in 2002. After retirement from the service he worked in various creative roles including Creative Director, Art Director, Senior Graphic Designer and Web Designer for a vast array of commercial clients, government organizations and defense contractor’s, which included graphic design services in support of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Maryland and other military commands around the globe. In 2006 Jeff was selected as the Navy Historical Volunteer of the Year by the Navy Historical Society at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C. His popularity among the troops was even recognized by a personal invite and private behind the scenes tour from the White House.
In 2010 he relocated his studio From Leonardtown Maryland to Williamsburg Virginia. By this time NavyChief.com reached one million in sales annually. Then, tragedy struck- Jeff lost his beloved wife and childhood sweetheart, Marion, to cancer. She died in Jeff's arms at their Williamsburg home just before Christmas, 2011. They were married for 24 years. Marion fought many serious disabilities her entire life, but she never let them defeat her spirit or sense of humor. The fullness of the life Marion lived against all odds remains Jeff's biggest inspiration to push on. Their son Christopher also served in the Navy.
So in 2012 Jeff took a hiatus from day to day business for a little over a year to focus on "re-inventing" his life. By July 2013 Jeff sold NavyChief.com and relocated to Richmond VA where he served as Art Director, Graphic Designer and Web Designer for Capital One on the Brand Standards and Governance Team and the Community Affairs Marketing Team.
In 2014 Jeff returned to government contracting serving in various creative roles including Creative Director, Art Director and Illustrator supporting the U.S. Military in visual communications, graphic design, presentation design, instructional design and software UI/UX design. Occasionally he still serves as a Freelance Artist/Consultant to other clientele on a case-by-case basis.
Jeff enjoys free time traveling, fitness, motorcycling, off-roading, playing drums or just relaxing with dog.
(Excerpts of Jeff Hobrath's Bio by P. Fasset)