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July 2, 2013
Mountaineers in images
It started as nothing more than just a fun outlet for Noah Williams, a 16-year old, high school sophomore in Sacramento, California.
Noticing the trends on Instagram and other social media outlets, the life-long West Virginia fan decided that it would be neat to try his hand at online graphic editing.
"The first one was terrible but I just started progressing," he said.
Now, only three short months later, Williams has created images for West Virginia footballers Brodrick Jenkins, Karl Joseph, Dante Campbell, Shaq Petteway, J.T. Thomas, Andrew Buie, Shawne Alston, and the list goes on. He currently has several other requests waiting for him in his mailbox as well as the buzz around his work has built in recent weeks.
"I've had 35-40 requests," he said.
His images can be found on the profiles of multiple athletes on twitter ranging from Ivan McCartney to Kevin White, while his work have garnered compliments from many more including hoopster Terry Henderson and Will Johnson.
Williams got his first big-break when he completed a graphic of West Virginia cornerback Brodrick Jenkins after surfing the web, and the senior defensive back re-posted the image. In the comments section, several other WVU athletes commented on how sharp the look of the graphic was and Williams would reach out to those players through social media to create images for them as well.
All of the sudden, his graphics had attracted well over 20-requests from other athletes wanting to get their own likeness created.
"I just did this for fun and never thought this could happen. You look up to the guys hoping that they would look at it or maybe repost it, but I never thought that this would go anywhere," he said. "I haven't put my i-Pad down once I posted that."
Williams's father, Charles, is a native West Virginian growing up in St. Albans before moving to Ohio and eventually ending up in California. But his passion for the Mountaineers is something that was passed onto his son.
Every week during the fall and winter, Williams and his father would tune into the West Virginia games, even if it meant huddling around the computer to stream the matchups. He proudly states that he hasn't missed a game since he was five years old.
The younger-Williams decided early into his graphic editing that his primary target audience would be those that represent his beloved Mountaineers instead of the common pictures of professional athletes such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Adrian Peterson.
"A picture says a lot," he said.
Williams starts with a picture with plenty of background space and then finds other images to insert into the body of the original. He then runs the combined art form through several effects applications and a program known as Repix, to add a unique feel and texture to each of his efforts. Williams also adds a motivational quote to each of his edits, unique to each.
While many online graphic edits vary in costs, Williams does his images free of charge and takes great enjoyment off of the reaction he gets from many of the players he looks up to.
"I just don't see the point. I get more satisfaction posting it and having them like it and commenting on it," he said. "I appreciate when they do that stuff."
The high-school student isn't sure where his graphic editing will take him, but for now he plans to become a firefighter. He has expressed some interest about possibly attending West Virginia University once he graduates, but believes he will most likely remain in California.
Williams has been to West Virginia around four-times in his life, and although he has yet to visit for an actual game, he did catch a spring game during the Pat White and Steve Slaton era. He has hopes to change that next year, when he returns to Morgantown hopefully for a game.
"When we go we make it big. We go and see everything and we love the Mountaineers," he said.
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