2013 In Review

It’s hard to believe another year has gone by already! 2013 gave me many sentiments ranging from grateful, nervous, experimental, to ambitious. If I were to sum up the year, I’d say the theme was search and reward. It started off great then hit a rocky patch when I found myself having to look for work again. Though I usually have some freelance and personal projects to keep afloat, it was imperative that I secure a day job again.

It was during this gap that I did the most learning, stressing, and hustling. When I wasn’t applying to jobs or doing art / design tests (not ideal but sometimes a necessary procedure), I was busy with networking, personal work – mostly my Lana Del Rey illustration – and freelance work. At first, the freelance came slowly but what gave me hope was most of the inquiries I got were for fashion or pattern oriented illustration, the very type of work I was aiming to get. As of now, I’m not able to share this work due to client confidentiality, but I can say it’s in the realm of pattern and surface design, a skill I spent the better part of 2012 developing so it was nice to see my efforts come full circle.

I’m ever grateful for the connections and friendships I’ve made and this year was no exception. In the summer, when Tatiana Read of Knot PR recommended me to sketch at the ROM for the annual Luminato Festival’s Big Bang Bash, I was beyond honoured and thrilled. The big bonus was that Toronto fashion illustrator / blogger Danielle Meder was also there! She’s the one who initially sparked my whole-hearted foray into fashion illustration in fall 2011 and now we were sketching buddies! The event itself was also a joy as it featured a unique exhibition of dolls wearing Viktor&Rolf’s designs. Luminato was very gracious and provided Danielle and I with a lovely meal and gift bag! Definitely a dream gig.

Clockwise from left: Thanks to Tatiana Read of Knot PR for recommending me to sketch at Luminato Festival’s Big Bang Bash! | Luminato provided Danielle Meder and I with a lovely dinner. | Fashion and dinosaurs mingle at the ROM.

Soon after, my search for a day job was answered thanks to another friend. A high-school friend gave me her former manager’s contact and next thing I knew I was interviewing with and ultimately joining Toronto based YM Inc, parent company of Stitches, Urban Planet, Bluenotes, Urban Behaviour and Suzy Shier among others. I’m one of the apparel graphic designers in the ladieswear team for Stitches / Urban Planet and my skills were put into full force. It’s only been seven months and I’ve already learned LOADS in way of technical skill, production for a fashion company and how trends work. The most fulfilling part is seeing my work in store on various clothing and accessories – a new and exciting milestone!

In the fall, I checked off having Flare magazine as a client when I was invited to sketch at their World Runway Toronto Fashion Show. I was sketching buddies once again with Danielle and a third fashion illustrator, Lisa Kiyomi, was also there so I was in good company. It’s always more fun to sketch when guests are well dressed and this event did not disappoint. After sketching, Flare’s fashion director Tiyana Grulovic presented a fall fashion trend report. We then saw those trends in the runway show hosted by Breakfast Television’s Jennifer Valentyne! I thoroughly enjoyed that night and look forward to more.

I had a fantastic night sketching at Flare magazine’s WRT Toronto Fashion Show.

Continuing in 2013′s wave of positive freelance karma, I’m lucky to have had repeat and new clients. Perhaps due to my constant efforts to stay visible by social media and reaching out to cold / not-so-cold prospective clients, I’ve received the most inquiries this year through word-of-mouth and the wonder of Google. I’m particularly happy to have been approached by Canadian women’s fitness magazine Best Health for illustrating various stretching exercises. The beauty of how this happened is that about three years ago, I cold-emailed the art director and got no response. I later found out an acquaintance works on their editorial team and told her about me. Still, nothing happened.

Granted, for me most times this is how things go so I didn’t think much of it. However, being the romantic I am, I always kept that optimistic light on in the back of my mind that someday it will turn into something. In this case it actually happened and I’m excited to again see my efforts come full circle, this time in networking. Turns out the art director did in fact find out about me through my acquaintance! This reinforced the power of pursuing meaningful contacts, being patient and trusting fate to work its magic in due time.

Above: my first spot illustration for Best Health magazine in the November 2013 issue.

With all the highlights of 2013 still fresh in my mind, I eagerly embrace what 2014 will bring. I feel the most professionally confident and collected than ever before, while remaining perpetually open-minded and hungry to keep learning. My mantra going into the new year is: “I want to be sought after”. I want clients to be excited to work with me. I want to meet more like-minded creatives and let fate and the universe surprise me. I want to keep carving out my niche with new projects, sketching events and personal work. Since there are already some upcoming projects (another first for me – to have things lined up so early in the year!) I feel this is a realistic outlook. You’ll have to stay tuned to see how it all unfolds!

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Streetcar Holiday Party 2013

In December 2013, I was invited to sketch guests at Toronto condo firm Streetcar‘s holiday company party. It was a delightful night thanks to the theme being The Great Gatsby – a theme that I love. Sketching everyone dressed in their old Hollywood best was quite the treat! The night had plenty of fanciful feathers, shiny sequins and dapper suits. It was even catered with delicious food which is always a welcome bonus. I had a great time sketching at my final event of 2013!

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Best Health Magazine: November 2013

I illustrated a stretch exercise for Best Health magazine November 2013 issue. This stretch focuses on the lower quads as well as the abs. I’ve been getting more into fitness and toning lately so this was a most fitting project! Below is the article for the stretch. Art direction by Stephanie Han. | Adobe Illustrator

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Flare Magazine’s WRT Event 2013

On October 25, 2013, I was invited by Flare magazine to live sketch guests at their WRT 2013 fashion event at the Toronto Design Exchange. Another dream gig that fulfilled my three fave F’s: Fashion, Fun and Food!

It was the most stylish event I’ve sketched at yet as there were no shortage of fashionistas at every turn, so I felt very inspired with every sketch. Prior to the fashion show there were finger foods and mini desserts, makeup stations by Estée Lauder, and hair stations by Tresemme. The show was hosted by Breakfast Television’s Jennifer Valentyne, while Flare’s fashion director Tiyana Grulovic presented a fall fashion trend report. We then saw those trends in motion in the runway show courtesy of Holt Renfrew!

It was also a joy to sketch among two other talented artists, Danielle Meder and Lisa Kiyomi. As if all that weren’t enough, every guest received a gift bag full of goodies. What a lovely night!

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Fall Update

Hi guys! It’s been awhile. I know I haven’t posted anything new in oh…much too long. It’s because I’ve been juggling a new day job since June as an apparel graphic designer and some freelance work, and that’s kept me fairly busy for the last little bit. I promise I haven’t forgot about you and I do miss creating personal work. Throw in a few trips to Vancouver, Ottawa and New York, I’m feeling inspired and will be back soon with new posts. Thanks for your patience, hope the fall has been kind to you all! x, Wendy

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Luminato’s Big Bang Bash 2013

Above: a few of my favourites from Dolls by Viktor&Rolf, on now for FREE til June 30, 2013 at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

I had a wonderful time at the 2013 Luminato Festival’s Big Bang Bash gala last Saturday June 8! The event celebrated the launch of special art installation Dolls by Viktor&Rolf at the Royal Ontario Museum, where numerous porcelain dolls donned miniature versions of their haute couture dresses. Along with fashion illustrator Danielle Meder, I sketched guests while they mingled, nibbled, and danced while decked out in the prettiest frocks and chicest suits.

This was a dream event since it featured plenty of my three fave F’s: fashion, fun and food. I’m so honoured to have sketched alongside Danielle, who is a key inspiration for my foray into fashion illustration and live sketching. And it was through her that I met Tatiana Read of Knot PR who ultimately suggested me for this fabulous event. Thanks ladies!

My highlights from the night: seeing actor Willem Dafoe in the crowd (he was performing in a play in town), sketching blogger Jay Strut, Fashion magazine editor-in-chief Bernadette Mora, and many many more! More photos on Luminato’s Facebook page and Flare magazine.

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Summer Tops

Three new apparel graphics just in time for the summer! Soak up the rays, the love and the waves. | Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop

Summer Love | Buy shirt and more

Surf Play Love | Buy shirt and more

Palm Trees | Buy shirt and more

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