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.
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!