When I was a kid I used to take apart the music album packaging (records and cassettes) and redraw my own versions. One time while I was doing this my uncle (I don’t remember exactly who told me because my brain reset after the initial shock) told me that I should be a “graphic artist”. I had no idea what that was and when he (sort of) explained it, it blew my mind. All I could think about was that my mom must not know this a possibly! I thought, “Why on earth would she go to work sorting mail at the post office when she could just draw pictures?!” Anyway, I was very young and didn’t know anything about the world. However, I knew what I was going to be doing when I grew up.
I went to the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School and studied Visual Communication Design. Right after graduation I started working at a small design studio, doing a lot of pretty boring work for hospitals and banks—though the work wasn’t as stimulating as I wanted I learned a tremendous amount about production and working with clients and vendors. Two years later I was offered a job at another small studio in Boston called Alphabet Arm. While there I worked on branding and album packaging (just like my uncle predicted!) Working there was pretty much my dream job and I probably would have stayed indefinitely if it wasn’t for the recession of 2009, long story short, I got laid off. It was a blessing in disguise because I wouldn’t have otherwise attempted to go full-time freelance as an illustrator.
I am an independent illustrator and letterer, often a combination of both. I create images for all kinds of projects including advertising campaigns, editorial illustrations, books, social media, murals, etc.
My favorite part about being an independent illustrator is my lack of a typical work day. Sometimes I work all day, sometimes I don’t work at all. Sometimes I start in the morning, sometimes I don’t do anything work relating until late in the evening. I tend to do the things I’m bad at in the mornings, which includes things like responding to emails, invoicing, business admin stuff, etc. I often to most of drawing in the evenings. I also teach a class two days a week from 1:30–4.
Creative Pep Talk podcast by Andy J Miller. Andy is a good friend of mine, and his podcast has been growing like crazy. His weekly podcast is incredibly inspirational and jam-packed with helpful info about building your own person creative career.
Full Time You by Meg Lewis. Meg is amazing.
Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon. Lisa is a amazing too. This book is an incredible resource for making a living as a artist.
I developed my style and for that matter, career, as an illustrator accidentally. At the end of 2007 I realized I wasn’t drawing for my self anymore and it kind of freaked me out. Drawing was such a big part of my life all throughout my childhood. I decided to fix the issue by committing to a daily drawing project. I have to trick myself into doing anything, and I also love challenges—so this worked out well for me. Forcing myself to draw something everyday helped me refine and develop my style naturally without having to force it. It’s also helped me to slowly evolve and branch off into new areas. Making tons of work is the only way to find and develop your own style. For it to be real it has to come naturally to you. You can’t just pick a style and do it—at least that’s the case for me.