Why did you choose MICA illustration?
I looked at some other schools in New York, but MICA really has the best variety of classes. The options within the illustration department alone are awesome. I've been able to try different fields I didn't know I was interested in when I first started.
What is the most important thing you have learned in your four years?
School is hard and will make you cry a lot. Being self motivated is incredibly important. It's easy to let your personal life and stress lessen your drive and keep you from working. You have to find what will make you keep working when no one else is there to motivate you.
Tell us a little about your work and professional successes.
I've wanted to illustrate a book as long as I can remember. I started drawing because of my interest in reading. My work is based heavily in narratives – especially fairy tales. Unfortunately books are one of the areas where I've had no professional experience yet! I haven't counted it out, but since I came to MICA I realized that there are many other ways I can utilize my talent.
My first exposure on a professional level was having work in an illustration show at Towson Arts Collectivethat was juried by Edward Sorel and James Warhola(Andrew Warhol's nephew). One of my high school teachers suggested I apply, and since then I've had work in five of their shows. Since freshman year I've also been displaying original artwork for sale at Ukazoo Books in Towson. It's really important to look up local places!
Last year I was contacted by a French magazine, Parceque, asking to use my work for their cover and an insert about me and my art. Since then they've hired me to illustrate two short stories. It was kind of difficult because the stories were in French, but the editor was very helpful in providing the best translation she could, and it took several sketches to make sure we were on the same page.
This year I started making jewelry and I had my first table at a convention, Katsucon. I sold prints of my artwork and some of my jewelry designs. It was a really great experience, getting to talk to customers directly and learn what people responded to. I'm looking into doing a few more on the east coast this summer.
What is your greatest achievement?
Having my work included in a show at Gallery Nucleusin Los Angeles.
Over 1000 people came to the opening. It was freaking sweet.
Words of advice for younger illustrators?
Be open to the possibilities. What you think you want now might change. Keep trying new things and challenging yourself.