Last week a very talented illustrator I had hired a few times, Mickey Duzyj, emailed me asking if I would come speak to his senior illustration class about being an Art Director and the experience I have had working with illustrators.
I was SO excited about this opportunity, but at the same time SO nervous.
I realized about five minutes later that I was probably around the same age as these students and they were not going to take me seriously, at all. I also started panicking trying to think about what I know about being an Art Director. All the sudden I felt completely unprepared and like I didn’t know anything. There are plenty of people much more qualified for this than me. So I emailed Mickey back, explaining I might not be the most seasoned Art Director to have come in, and he replied thinking it was great I was younger and they would be able to relate. It was a plan!
I actually learned probably a lot more from this experience than the students did. Mickey asked me to talk about my daily life as an art director, my thoughts on promos and the best way for illustrators to break into the field and any advice I had for them to follow.
I seriously felt like I knew nothing and was so unprepared. So I went around to coworkers asking them these same questions and learned so much. I had never really thought about what it is like from the illustrators point of view trying to get jobs and it was really eye opening. How do you send promos? What kind of promos are annoying to Art Directors? What will catch their eye? I looked at tons of examples and really realized how hard it is for an illustrator to get into the business. There are so many out there and getting someone to notice you in a sea of illustrators is very challenging.
I went to the class last Wednesday and it was so much fun. They asked me so many questions (I was so surprised!), were all so talented and I even got to critique their final projects. When I left, one of the sweetest (and extremely talented) girls, Sue, thanked me by giving me one of her hand screen printed greeting cards of a clock and said “because you work at TIME”. I almost died inside – how cute is that. This experience made me realize why all of my professors in school decided to teach.
It was also wonderful being able to meet Mickey in real life. I always kind of make up in my head what I think the illustrators look like that I am hiring, but it was so fun to actually meet him and talk in real life instead of an email.
I am so thankful for these types of experiences and being able to learn more about myself and my industry.