Artist draws applause, scholarship for work

POULSBO — The slow-going process of graphite drawing and a little help from a family member made up the winning combination for Northwest College of Art student Kelton Cram.

Cram’s drawing of a Viking blowing a horn was chosen as the logo for this year’s Viking Fest, Poulsbo’s celebration of its Norwegian heritage centering on the May 17 Norwegian Constitution Day.

Each year, the Viking Fest Corporation accepts potential logo designs through NWCA as part of its scholarship programs. The winning entry not only becomes the mascot for the event, but gains its creator scholarship money. This year, Cram was awarded $1,000 for his efforts.

The annual scholarship is given in memory of long-time Viking Fest volunteer Barbara Krell who died in January 2000. Krell was dedicated to both the Poulsbo event and to instilling a love of art in people, most notably students.

Cram said he was drawn to the contest as an opportunity to get recognition for his art and also for a chance to fund his schooling. Calling himself an “illustrator at heart,” Cram is pursuing a career in animation.

The Park City, Utah native is in his third year of art schooling and has attended NWCA for about a year and a half.

Although pen and ink is his medium of choice, Cram said he chose graphite for the Viking drawing, which he completed while home during Christmas break this year. He explained that the end product tends to be better with graphite because the work takes more patience and editing.

Cram said he started by looking at last year’s Viking Fest logo as an inspiration and then began his own creation by talking his brother into serving as a model.

“But he’s a much skinnier guy, so I kind of blew him up and then added the Viking clothing and stuff like that,” Cram said with a laugh.

Another unique aspect of the drawing is the “hard light,” basically a very bright light source that Cram incorporated into the drawing. He said the hard light serves to blind out the majority of the world around the subject, only hinting at an environment.

“It’s like one of my instructors said it’s not what you put into it that makes a figure beautiful — it’s what you leave out,” Cram commented.

The 35th Annual Viking Fest will take place in Poulsbo May 16-18. For more information, go to

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