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If you have a degree in what field is it? I graduated with BFA in illustration from Parsons The New School for Design in May 2011.

Have you always been able to draw or was it a skill you learned in college? It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, but it definitely became more serious late in high school and it became a career choice when I decided to go to design school.

What was your first paid assignment? My first illustration job was for the Deloitte Review; they actually found me through the Illustration Annual.

Which illustrator (or fine artist) do you most admire? I’ve always loved Alphonse Mucha and Toulouse Lautrec; as for more contemporary illustrators, I really admire Jillian Tamaki and Natalia Pierandrei.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator? I’ve never really considered a career that didn’t involve art or design. I think I would be doing something with animals, like working for a shelter, fostering or something. I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid but I was never good at science and I never could dissect anything.

From where do your best ideas originate? The ones that, seemingly, come out of nowhere are the best. When I stress over something for a long time it feels forced; when an idea happens spontaneously I always think it’s better.

How do you overcome a creative block? This is one of my biggest problems. And I don’t have a real solution yet. Usually I just try to find inspiration by looking through art and design books and blogs, whatever I’m reading at the moment or just doing sketching the people and things around me. I love doing blind contour drawings when I’m in a creative rut because they’re so liberating and I’m usually amused by the outcome. It takes some of the stress and pressure off.

In one word describe how you feel when beginning a new assignment. Excited.

Do you have a personal philosophy? No, not yet. I try to approach everything with a fresh perspective and without any baggage because I’m just starting out and I want to explore and experiment as much as I can. I don’t want to limit myself.

Do you have creative pursuits other than illustration? Yes, I also do graphic design, and some day I would love to own a studio/boutique where I could hold small shows and sell prints and original work by myself and other artists.

What music are you listening to right now? ? I don’t listen to music that much (most of the time I listen to audiobooks) but when I do, I listen to everything in my library on shuffle. Right now, though, I’m listening to my fiance’s band practice in the living room.

What’s your favorite quote? “With a little more hard work, your creativity takes you to great heights.” —a fortune-cookie fortune taped to my desk

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Something that I need to remind myself often: Don’t get too bummed out when it seems like things are slow or that you aren’t getting as many jobs as you want. It’s important to keep making work and motivating yourself when you don’t (and even when you do) have jobs.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Hmm...I don’t know if I can answer this yet since I’m still just starting my own career.
Jackie Hahn is a freelance illustrator and designer living and working in Jersey City. Recently graduated from Parsons School of Design, with a BFA in illustration, her work has been recognized by 3x3, American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts.

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