Another casualty of the recession -- paintball and, of course, the people who made their living from it. Last Thursday, I met Jeff Deubert, an art director from New Jersey who lost his job when his magazine folded. The topic? Paint ball. "Paint ball is really struggling in this economy," he said.

Deubert was a little bit older than the 90 "young" designers who showed up at last week's Portfolio Night sponsored by the Philadelphia Ad Club. (I wrote about it in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer). Most of them had graduated in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but Deubert graduated in 2000 and had been steadily employed, most recently as the sole art director of a paint ball magazine. By the time he lost his job in February, 2010, he was designing the magazine out of his home in Mt. Laurel.

"I was a one-man art department," he said.

Times are tough. "I've had a hard time getting people to respond to me," he said. Because he moved up from Florida, he doesn't have a huge local network. "I think I'm up against a lot of competition."

His goal in coming to Thursday's event was to get the critiques from the seasoned pros, some of whom were no more seasoned than he was, and to network.

"Because I was into paint ball, I have a lot of grungy art in my portfolio," he said. "I think I need to diversify my portfolio and show that I can do the simple clean stuff as well as the grungy stuff."

He found the sessions valuable.  "I get feedback from these people that I don't get from my wife," he said.

Key advice: They encouraged him (and everyone) to make sure they understand digital media and marketing. He asked if they thought he should return to school, but they urged him in the direction of online tutorials, which are ahead of the schools in exploring the newest technology.