Oh Happy Day-01

A new style of illustration I’m working on!

I’ve been in the design industry since 1991- omg has it been that long?- and I’ve seen and done a lot over my career so far. I was trained in design pre-computer, so absolutely everything was done by hand. Funnily there’s an article in the newest issue of Uppercase magazine about a new documentary being made about the pre-computer design industry days, Graphic Means, by Briar Levit. I am excited to see it when it comes out! Oh the memories of PMT’s, ruby lithe (I still remember the very distinct smell of it!), and marker renderings. As much as the industry has changed, because, computer, I wouldn’t trade my old-school training for anything, as I think now, there is a big lack in the “craft” side of design. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Over the years, my style of illustration and design has changed, clients have changed, and overall scope of projects I work on has changed. When I graduated from design college, the ultimate of ultimate projects to design was an annual report. If you landed one of those gigs, you were a total design rockstar. I have to say though, in my 25 years working in this industry, I have never actually designed an annual report. Do they even produce them in print anymore? So funny.

My illustration style has changed many times, from black and white hand-drawn cartoon-y illustrations I used to do for a local pizza chain, to more slick, digital girly character illustrations for bloggers. Trends change, client needs change, and overall themes change. As a designer and illustrator, you need to keep up with the trends and styles to keep the work coming in, refining your style and work as you go, as well as to keep your brain fresh and stay in the game. I love looking at design magazines and websites, they are chock full of great inspiration, trends, and ways of working that I just love learning about. Pinterest is also a great source of style and inspiration.

Sidenote: I was once (recently-ish) offered a label design project for a product and everything was great and they loved my work and the price quote I gave them was great and everything was ok to start, then the person in charge asked me how old I am. What? How does that factor in? Ok? So I told her, why not, what does that matter? My work is what’s important, right? I could be 80, or I could be 20? Who cares?  She then came back the next day saying that I was officially “too old” in their books to know anything about the new style and trends of design, and how would I know how to design anything current, and thanks but no thanks. Huh? (And funny to see now that their “new” design is still the old, very dated design they had previously, now a couple years later- snap!). Wow. Just wow.

Anyway! Lately I’ve been refining a new illustration style, based on hand-drawn and cut paper style, but in digital format. Merging my old school and new school skills, into a new style I’m quite enjoying exploring. It’s quite freeing to pick up a pencil and draw, then scan, and use the pencil tool (one of my faves) in Illustrator to bring an illustration to life.

new illo detail

So much fun! I’ve also discovered how to create fun “hand-lettering” in Illustrator, so I’ve been really loving playing with that- lettering has always been a passion of mine.

I’ve challenged myself to revamp my old illustration portfolio and bring some new life and love to it. This is part of a bigger picture plan I am keeping close at heart for now, but it’s all coming together and can’t wait to see where it all goes! And I’m having fun learning and trying new things, and that’s what it’s all about. Looking on the bright side, staying current, finding inspiration, and just keeping on going! It’s all so exciting and fun and I love what I do, and my clients love what I do for them, and that is all I need.

“Too old”, my butt.