MY JOURNEY AS AN ARTIST
I've longed to be a children's book illustrator for as long as I can remember, but as everyone knows... life happens. I don't regret my long journey to this point in my life. I've been blessed to be able to use my illustration/art abilities in other fields. Each job position I've held has given me a little more confidence and a little more skill toward the profession I truly hoped to have one day. To me, the things I've learned along the way are priceless.
When my children were grown, I decided to return to school to learn the art of being a children's book illustrator. I am, indeed, thankful to the things I learned in school, but the jobs I held as an artist/illustrator and graphic designer are just as important to me as my college education. I am so thankful and appreciate the employers who were willing to hire me and give me that opportunity for growth and knowledge.
My art career, before returning to college, has spanned over ten years. I've worked at sportswear companies to candle companies. I thought I would share some of the first works I've ever done and also some of the last, but in reverse order.
The last job I held was for a candle/fragrance company. I wore many hats. Some days, I was an illustrator, painting in watercolor, creating "folk art" or whimsical labels for some of the companies many candle lines. On other days, I was a graphic designer, creating brochures, order forms, vinyl lettering, business cards, logos, or other labels for other candle and fragrance lines. I can definitely say, I was never bored! It was a good job! I enjoyed the people I worked with and the many things I did there. This company is no longer in business but it was this company that gave me the final push I needed to go after my dream and return to school.
These watercolored labels were for the "fold art" line. This line sold in Kohl's Department Store:
These watercolored labels were for a "home party" line:
These labels were for an odor eliminator, diaper bag spray, and candle. I actually painting this design, only once. I changed the colors for the other labels in Photoshop:
These labels were painted for a Christmas line for Kohl's Department Store. The buyers wanted two different candle sizes and styles but also wanted them to match:
Here are a few of my the graphic design labels:
The first artist/illustrator job I held was at a sportswear company creating illustrations that would be screen printed onto sweatshirts, t-shirts, tank tops, jackets, shorts, sweat pants, hats, etc. These would be sold throughout the tourist industry. I had my illustrations in Sea World, Dollywood, the Iron Man triathlon, Gecko Hawaii and many of the smaller tourist shops throughout the U.S. I had designs in Alaska, California, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and many more. I illustrated lighthouses, sailboats, saguaros, humpback whales, killer whales, dolphins, sea turtles, seals, otters, seagulls, flowers, wolves, cougars, sled dogs, bears, caves, skiers, snowy mountains, sunsets, lakes, Eskimo items, Native American items, and much more.
I color separated my own illustrations. Most of my works had six colors or six plates. The black plate held the detail. Here's a few illustrations of mine, showing just the black plate:
And here's a few in full color:
And here's some graphic design appliques:
This company is no longer in business, but I will always have fond memories of working there. The owners gave me my first illustration job. They believed in me and I appreciate that more than they could ever know.
I've come a long way, since my first job. I look back with gratitude. But now, I'm looking forward with excitement and confidence, and with the desire to continue to grow and learn in my chosen field.