It was a close friend’s happy, upbeat and “life-bringing” attitude that inspired first-year Matt Helmuth to create the graphic design he titles, “Tree of Life.”

The colorful design features a tree rooted in the ground, its branches turning into hands that reach upward to catch a falling raindrop.

“My friend just brought life to people—so she inspired me to make this,” Helmuth said.

Helmuth started graphic designing his sophomore year of high school when he had the idea to create T-shirts and give them to friends as Christmas gifts. Since then, he has pursued designing in his free time, teaching himself the art of computers and graphic work.

“I like the fact that I can sit down, lose time, look up at the clock, and realize I just spent six hours on one tiny piece of the design,” Helmuth said.

In essence, graphic design is like drawing, except on a computer. It is a process of visualizing an image, forming a rough draft and then editing every detail until the image is completed.

“It takes time, but if I have an idea, I can make it happen,” Helmuth said.