Duration: Four months.
Location: Brooklyn, New York.
Education: BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Career path: Growing up, I took a lot of art and music lessons, so it felt natural to pursue a creative career—although I didn’t understand what professional illustration was until I got to RISD. It blew my mind that I could actually draw for a living. Over the course of my school years, I took as many different classes as I could, from printmaking to 3-D to digital. I changed my mind about my career every other week: I wanted to work in animation, then picture books, then video games, etc. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started to figure out what kind of work I wanted to do, thanks to the guidance of my amazing teachers, Chris Buzelli, Kelly Murphy, Fred Lynch and JooHee Yoon. They taught me the ins and outs of freelance illustration, which I’ve been working in ever since!
Favorite projects: My first New York Times op-ed illustration about the relationship between the United States and Vietnam. I got the assignment two weeks before graduating—smack in the middle of finals week—so you can imagine the whirlwind of emotions I was going through. It was also my first taste of crazy editorial turnarounds: I had three hours to sketch the illustration and three hours to finish it. But when I opened the paper the next day to see my piece published, it was all worth it. It was the boost of confidence I needed. I’m very grateful to Jim Datz, who was the nicest art director to work with.
Approach: I work 100 percent in Photoshop, although I occasionally scan in textures to make new brushes. I started drawing with a tablet when I was thirteen years old—before I ever painted or used inks—so it’s the medium I’m most comfortable with. It enables me to make the greatest variety of marks while having the most control over the image.
Aspirations: Book projects. I’m working on a children’s book project with a friend at the moment! I want to be as versatile as I can be with my art. I would get bored doing the same kinds of projects forever, so taking on diverse projects and collaborating with other creatives in fields like animation, branding and fashion would be amazing.
Philosophy: Have grit and grace.