Above: 2012 highlights. Top row: portrait of actress Ashley Johnson at TIFF, illustration of MGMT, illustration of Golnaz Ashtiani’s dress from the White Cashmere Fashion Show. Middle row: “Raining Cats and Dogs” pattern, meeting Molly Shannon at TIFF, watercolour floral pattern. Bottom row: Dolce & Gabbana FW12 illustration, live tablet portrait sketching for Teknion, Polly Pocket dress-up game illustration.
I’m always amazed at how quickly a year goes by and 2012 was full of changes. Six months ago, I lamented on the hardships of job searching, the quirks of sharing a home with a significant other, and having downtown Toronto as a backyard (still loving it!). There were a lot of highs and lows, but in the end the great curve ball that was 2012 finally started making sense.
I’m forever grateful for the friends I have personally, professionally, and via the wonders of the internet. Thank you for supporting my work, sharing your stories and advice, making me laugh, and brightening my days. It’s a lot easier being a freelance illustrator (or freelance anything) when you’re surrounded by a tribe of like-minded, warm individuals. I look forward to new adventures with you all!
The main lessons I learned this year are A: sometimes obstacles are blessings in disguise (originally said by Kelly Cutrone), and B: with tailored portfolio building and networking, the right job will come along eventually. My biggest goal was to work in the fashion and / or textile graphic design industry. I’m happy to say I reached that goal after a winded journey. The year started with me working as an apparel graphic designer at a Toronto hosiery company, followed by freelancing, job-searching, moving to downtown Toronto, and finding work again at two other companies near year-end.
What I’m most proud of was the process of creating the portfolio pieces that landed the latter two jobs. I needed to ramp up my diversity in textile patterns so I spent a good bit of the summer doing that. Even though the jobs didn’t come right away, I stayed hopeful and continued sending out my resume and portfolio. And when the jobs finally came around, it was rewarding to see my efforts come full circle. It also proved that with persistence and hard work in the art / creative field, you can go a lot of places.
To my delight, a good part of this year’s freelance work was fashion-oriented. I collaborated with Toronto fashion blogger Marcus Kan twice in creating illustrations inspired by Dolce & Gabbana’s womenswear collections (SS12 and FW12), creating a book cover for a private client, and illustrating outfits for a Polly Pocket dress-up game. Again, I felt my efforts come full circle in doing work I’m most passionate about.
I’m also happy to have been invited to several special events. A bit of blogging and social media went a long way as some of these came through online word-of-mouth. Notable events: spring Toronto Fashion Week, White Cashmere Fashion Show, guest speaking at Ryerson University and Seneca @ York University.
Lastly, a great highlight was doing more live portrait sketching gigs. It became a somewhat regular gig in September 2011 and I feel lucky to not only have sketched at some key events but to have repeat clients. I particularly enjoyed sketching at TIFF, Shop Til You Drop, Textstyles 4th, and Teknion (where I live sketched on a tablet). What I love most about these gigs is that it’s an art form in multiple ways: sketching live, capturing likness in a short time, and the entertainment aspect. It’s a unique challenge every time as every subject looks different and I hope there will be many more to come.
In short: thanks 2012 for another colourful year! You’ve put me to the test in many ways and I welcome 2013 with open arms.