I got an INPRNT account set up. I have two prints up for sale so far:
- The handy planting guide for indoor gardening, for your summer vegetable and herb needs!
- The plant cell diagram, the only one of its kind to emphasize the vast numbers of organelles in each cell!
1. What are three words that describe your work?
Detailed, informative, organic.
2. How did you get into illustration?
In kindergarten, people always complimented me on how I coloured inside the lines. When I got older, I graduated from a Bachelor of Arts majoring in music in 2008, and then ended up working a couple of retail jobs. A high school friend mentioned that she was going to apply to Sheridan for Illustration and asked me to go with her. Yes, I applied to Illustration on a whim.
3. Is this the career path you had in mind when you started?
When I applied to Sheridan’s Illustration program and was accepted, I was originally planning on going into concept art - things like character and environment design. However I kept changing my focus, from concept art to technical illustration, then finally settling on scientific illustration in 3rd year.
4. What inspired you when you started out in illustration? What inspires you now?
As I mentioned above, I had originally planned to do concept art. I was always awed by the art of World of Warcraft as well as artbooks of my favourite RPGs. Concept art still inspires me now, as well as fantasy and science fiction art, scientific illustrations, and the natural world.
5. What is your ideal illustration job?
I would like to freelance full-time. I like the flexibility of managing my own work hours, as well as working from my home studio.
6. What is your working environment like?
I have a small studio workspace in a corner of the living room and near some large windows, so I get a good amount of natural light for most of the day. I am surrounded by various houseplants and a couple of aquariums, and my roommate’s cat occasionally comes to pester me for some playtime or food. My work setup includes my Macbook, Intuos, drawing board, and sketchbook paper. There is also a scattering of 2H pencils and Pigma Microns on the desk.
7. What is your creative process?
- A chicken scratch layout sketch with notes, just to quickly get some ideas down.
- Lots of information-seeking. Since most of my illustrations are scientific and informational, they need to be accurately drawn and the accompanying text needs to be correct too.
- I use Illustrator to plan out how big the different sections will be on the page layout - the illustration(s), title, text boxes, etc.
- Drawing the line work and inking it.
- Scanning in the line work and colouring it in Photoshop.
- Placing the illustration(s) in the final layout, adding all the other elements, and tweaking the layout until everything looks right.
8. What tools do you work with to make your illustrations and which is your preferred one?
My style combines both traditional and digital media. I typically do line work with Pigma Micron pens, then I scan it and colour the illustration with texture brushes in Photoshop. I cannot say that I prefer either traditional or digital over the other - I enjoy working in both.
9. Do you think an illustrator needs a style? Why? Do you have tips on developing an illustration style?
I do think an illustrator needs a style, although that term can be applied broadly. I believe an illustrator’s “style” can be anything from the way they draw a subject, the media they use, the techniques they use, or even how they design their layouts. The main factor is that it is consistent and recognizably the work of that particular illustrator. Having a style is important because it is an illustrator’s identifier and what makes their work unique to them. Your style develops as you draw and experiment with media and techniques, and you realize what you like to draw and how you put your own spin on things, what and how your illustrations communicate to the audience, and how you see the world.
10. Which have been your most satisfying projects to date?
My informational pieces such as the Green Roof Structure and the Apartment Gardening have been the most satisfying to work on from process to completion. I get to combine a bunch of things I like in one piece: scientific illustration, technical illustration, infographics, ink line work, using Photoshop, and using Illustrator.
11. What projects are you currently working on?
I am doing a series of 2 to 3 poster-size pieces with the theme “Predator & Prey”. The first one is in progress right now, and it features owls of Canada as the predators.
12. How have social media platforms been useful in promoting your work?
For illustration, I find that tumblr works pretty well for promoting my work. It is a platform that allows people to share what they find very easily, and it can get my work out to a wide audience. The scientific illustration tumblr has reblogged some of my work, which got me a lot of views.
13. What is success to you?
A good balance of everything I want to do, while being able to support myself as a freelancer. While I plan to devote much of my time to freelancing, success in my illustration career is not the only definition of success for me. Spending time with family and friends and having time for some hobbies too - that is what will keep me happy and that is success.
14. Who are some of your favorite illustrators and why?
Claire Hummel - Her characters are very expressive, and she uses her extensive knowledge of period clothing to lend authenticity to her illustrations.
Bridget Underwood - Her use of colour palettes and lighting in her illustrations.
Aaron Diaz - He tells a very compelling story with each page of his Dark Science webcomic, with character expressions and panel placement.
Kathryn Chorney - I am always in awe of her watercolour paintings.
15. Any words of advice for an illustrator looking to freelance?
- Build a strong online presence (through your website, social media, etc) so that people can share your work. The best promotion is having other people do it for you.
- You may not get any responses from all the promos you send out. That is okay because art directors who like your work will keep it in mind. They can end up contacting you 6 months later when they decide your illustration is suitable for a job at that time.
- Only accept work that pays what you value your illustration. Don’t take underpaid work or work for free unless you will get 100% creative satisfaction from it.
16. Lastly, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility! Sneaking around with the added bonus of being invisible would be great for urban exploration or playing pranks.