Original Interview: December 2013

Shanelle Clay

Shanelle is a firecracker from Brisbane with an eye for monsters, illustration, design as well as some helpful hints on what it’s really like post-graduation….

What was your original plan before you graduated for getting a job and how does that compare to what really happened?
I knew I wanted to work in an agency and maybe do some freelance illustration in my spare time, with the goal of being able to freelance full-time eventually. When I graduated I interned at Profero in London and learnt a shitload about design for web and mobile. Since moving home to Brisbane I’ve landed a role as an illustrator/designer at TeachStarter.com where I help design teaching resources for primary school teachers. The team there are super fantastic and I get to wake up every morning feeling like I’m winning at life because someone wants to pay me to draw all day long! I also have a couple of ongoing contracts and some freelance work every so often which keeps me nice and busy.

shanelle clay

Do you have any tips for soon to be graduates or the best advice you received.
Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that aren’t advertised as junior or graduate positions. If you’ve read the job description and got some relevant projects in your portfolio go for it!

Describe your typical day and what students can expect from working in industry.
Since I mostly work from home I get to set my own hours and work in my pj’s. Win! I’m generally more productive in the mornings so I’ve usually planned my day and started on my first project by 6.30am. By 3pm I can be done for the day still go out and enjoy a bit of afternoon sunshine. I’m usually working on freelance projects or working on lettering and type stuff in the evenings. 1-2 days a week I also work for a not-for-profit, going in to the office and hanging out with other people keeps me sane – although they’re a spectacularly crazy bunch! (Yeah you lot know who you are!)


Who are your three most inspiring speakers?
Alex Trochut – his type work is super amazing
Jessica Walsh – Not only is she an absolute powerhouse and now a partner at Sagmeister & Walsh, she’s just done an amazingly honest project called 40 days of dating. I really admire the devotion and energy she has for her work.
Yum Yum London – all their little characters are so damn cute I squeal in delight when I visit their site.

shanelle clay

shanelle clay

What do you think TDK does well to facilitate the gap between students and industry and what could we do better?
It’s been great to see the Brisbane design community grow over the past few years. The team at TDK are doing a freakin’ fantastic job of bringing people together and building support for designers and creative businesses. I’d love to see more motion and digital work featured on the site.

shanelle clay

What would be the five things you would make sure you had done before you graduated if you went back and did it all again?
So I can’t think of five things that I wish I’d done before I graduated but I do remember my lecturers Jo and Sarah telling me to take a break and to think about something other than design for just a wee bit. Breaks are about more than just chillin’ they’re super important for your brain to rest and recharge! Beers + ASOS/eBay/Pinterest/cat videos = not a good break. Afternoon strolls, naps, rollerskating, violin, reading a novel, beers + friends = good breaks. You’ll be way more productive if you can learn when to push through a challenging task and when you simply need to leave it simmer away for a bit.