Apprenticeship Journal

Total Apprenticeship Hours: 91

Week Twelve:

Weekly Hours: 4

October 17, 2018:

Last weekend, I worked for 4 hours (which I added to last week’s log) developing initial sketches, choosing a color palette and working on drawing the finalized b/w sketches. I also spent 4 hours this week completing the final b/w sketches and finalizing one final color card.

Week Eleven:

Weekly Hours: 8

October 11, 2018:

For the next personal piece, I’d like to explore illustrated handlettering. I really enjoy the work of hand lettering artists such as Mary Kate McDevitt, Jill DeHaan and Clairice Gifford. I love their playful, decorative styles and would like to create a small series of three hand lettered greeting cards for the holidays. I’ll keep you posted on my chosen phrases and sketches.

October 10, 2018:

Over the weekend I worked on the final cover for 4 hours (and added them to last week) and worked on the cover for another 4 hours into this week. Below is the progress I have made on the final color version. I added hand lettered iconic quotes from the story on the interior flaps of the jacket, as well as the hills and sky stretching across the spine.

Week Ten:

Weekly Hours: 8

October 4, 2018:

Last night I worked on concepting and developing sketches for the Oz book cover. I wanted to create a transition from the back to the front, showing the cyclone run through bleak, rural Kansas (on the back) to the Land of Oz (on the front), in some variation. I also wanted to include hand lettered type into the illustration as well. I have included below of few sketches from my process.

Sketch #1

The first sketch shows Dorothy’s entry into Oz. The viewer is situated within the dark house after it lands and shows the odd new place through the doorway. Dorothy and Toto stand in a state of shock, before entering Oz. Through the doorway, they can see an array of rare, strange plants and the yellow brick road. However, I felt like the composition wasn’t compelling and wasn’t fantastical enough for the story.

Sketch #2

The second sketch shows yellow brick road breaks through her figure and leads up to the Emerald City. This concept references the witches looming presence as a silhouette of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Lion journey to the city. I felt like the composition was becoming more interesting, but the version lacked a focus between the emerald city, type, witch and road.

Final Sketch

For the sketch that I would like to move forward on, I used the previous sketch as a jumping off point. I took out the witch and gave the Emerald city more emphasis and focus. The road will still break through the dark cloud that is coming from the back and the bright city and blue sky will create a nice contrast to the dark cloud and cyclone. I also included quotes from the book on the interior flaps.

October 3, 2018:

For the personal piece, I am thinking I will create a book cover for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I have been working on a series of illustrations from the book for my portfolio, and I think it would be a nice addition to the collection. I plan to send initial sketches and ideation by tomorrow.

Week Nine:

Weekly Hours: 6.5

October 1, 2018:

This weekend, I spent about 4 hours between Friday and Saturday researching and brainstorming a few ideas to help promote Cartoon Zoo.

First, I think branching out to several social media platforms such as Twitter and especially Instagram for the caption competitions, similar to what you have already been doing on Facebook, would help reach a wider audience. These competitions could either be separate or conducted together, or alternate days in which each account posts.

I also think the idea of choosing captions transitions well into a game that could be used on the app. The game could be targeted especially to families to play together. A group of people links up their phones and they all have a limited amount of time (i.e. 30 seconds) to come up with a clever or funny caption. Each round, one person is designated to choose which caption they think is the funniest and this role rotates throughout the game. Everytime a person’s caption is chosen they get a point. The game continues until one person gets a certain number of points.

This game could also transition into a physical card format (similar to Apples to Apples). One person gets card with the illustration and others put in a caption from their hand that they think would fit the best. Captions from previous online competition that maybe didn’t win, but were still good runner up captions could be used within the card game as well. This could also be targeted to families as a fun activity parents and children can do together.

In terms of a digital campaign ad, an illustration could be shown and three different options are provided as captions (like a multiple choice format). The audience can then click the link to vote on which caption they would like to choose and from there, learn more about Cartoon Zoo.

I also follow a few popular comic artists (most of which I have found through Instagram) that have licensed their characters and created successful merchandise. Some of these items consist of greeting cards (which would interact well with the caption concept), enamel pins and badges of characters, mugs, coffee table books, notebooks, t-shirts, plush toys etc. I compiled a short list of some of those illustrators’ shops:

Gemma Correll

Sarah Andersen

The Awkward Yeti

Poorly Drawn Lines

September 27, 2018:

Last night I worked for 2.5 hours and completed the final color for the editorial piece about employee health. I added the hills in the background to create a better sense of atmosphere/environment as well as further the connection to nature and peacefulness.

Week Eight:

Weekly Hours: 7.5

September 19, 2018:

This afternoon I spent 1.5 hours completing the line work and started blocking out the color. I will keep you posted on my progress.

September 19, 2018:

On Tuesday, I began looking through articles and illustrations on PlanSponsor and found an article to focus on. This took about an hour and then I spent another hour brainstorming concepts and creating wordlists based on the article I chose which is about Employee Health and Wellness. Yesterday evening, I continued concepting and sketching, which took about 4 hours. I eventually came up with three concepts to present:

The first concept shows a woman dressed in professional attire riding a bike while facing her work desk. However, the environment around her has transformed into a serene, outdoor scene. The bike references the woman’s physical heath and focus on exercise, while the environment around her reflects a positive and calm mindset, as a result of a more health conscious work environment.

The second concept shows a woman practicing yoga and has a relaxed expression on her face. Her meditative activity is connected to her healthier mental and physical state. Items that would be found in her office float around her, as if her meditation has caused them to levitate.

The third concept also references yoga and shows an office presentation taking place. However, all of the employees are on yoga mats as they face the presenter. This concept shows a more health conscious work environment with a bit of humor.

Week Seven:

Weekly Hours: 9.5

September 16, 2018:

This weekend I spent 7 hours completing the New Yorker cover. I worked on utilizing contrast more with my color palette and experimented with style choices to emphasize the playful nature of the illustration’s concept.

September 13, 2018:

This week I made a few edits to the sketch and started working on deciding the color palette, which has taken about 2.5 hours throughout this week. I have begun blocking the color out and included a progress image below:

September 10, 2018:

This weekend I worked on the line work for the New Yorker cover for two hours and I added the hours to last week. I plan to start adding color to the illustration next.

Week Six:

Weekly Hours: 7.5

September 7, 2018:

Yesterday I spent 4 hours researching and conceptualizing various ideas and themes for the New Yorker cover. I chose four rough thumbnail sketches to present for ideas.

I noticed a common trend in previous covers that they often focused on the season/time of year the issue was being published. I decided to focus on Autumn in the urban context, as Fall is soon approaching. My first two ideas used the visual metaphors of Craig Frazier and Brad Holland as a starting point. They are both fairly simple and utilize fall leaves as the primary element.

The first is laundry hanging from a clothes line in NY city and as they blow in the wind, they turn to leaves. The color would play an important role in the final, and would create a focal point contrasting with the duller colors of the city.

The second concept features a postman delivering mail, and instead of letters blowing out of his bag, fall leaves are flying out, creating a colorful path of behind him as he “delivers” the new season.

The third concept would be specifically used for November and features a playful reference to the Thanksgiving Macy’s Day parade. It shows a group of children flying their kites on a chilly, windy day in a NY park. One child lags behind them, struggling to pull his “kite,” which is a large balloon, much like one you would see in the parade.

The fourth concept is another playful illustration that focuses on the transition from summer into fall as shows a child about to jump into a pile of leaves. He’s wearing goggles and his stance on the crate mimics a diver right before they are about to jump.

September 5, 2018:

I spent about an 1.5 hours yesterday researching past New Yorker covers on their archive. I also created a Pinterest board for Craig Frazier and Brad Holland. I was especially struck by Craig Frazier’s ability to create really witty and effective visual metaphors.

I am currently still in the ideation phase of creating the New Yorker cover, but I will update you as soon as I have multiple ideas/sketches to work from.

September 3, 2018:

Yesterday I watched the Christoph Niemann documentary and created a Pinterest board of his work, which can be found here. (I logged the hours for this entry into last week’s hours and worked for a total of 90 minutes yesterday.)

I really enjoy Niemann’s Sunday Sketches and how these visual puns require a bit of intelligence from the audience and are incredible conceptually, but also have a quality of playfulness and fun. In the documentary he also says he is working on being more of a carefree artist while he works but is able to step back and look at his work like a ruthless editor at the same time, which I thought was a really insightful thought. Niemann’s thoughts on abstraction were also striking when he says that it is getting rid of everything not essential to getting across a point.

I feel as though communication and how the apprenticeship has been facilitated has been working quite well. I believe I learn better from being shown my weaknesses, so more criticism in regards to the work would be helpful. In terms of things I’d like to do moving forward, I would like to explore creating editorial work and creating stronger work conceptually. I would also like to learn more about the business side of editorial work as well. I am also interested in book cover illustration and incorporating design elements into the cover art as well. I would also like to work more with color and would enjoy doing a bit of art licensing too, since I have found a new interest recently in hand lettering work.

Week Five:

Weekly Hours: 8

September 1, 2018:

Last night I spent an hour exploring the work of branding, advertising and marketing firms around Nashville. I compiled a list of possible agencies to work at after graduation with links to their websites.





Peck and Co.:

Nice Branding:

Delevante Creative:

Perky Bros:


Buntin Group:

Locomotion Creative:

Powell Creative:


Paramore Digital:

Horton Group:

August 30, 2018:

Last night I did a live drawing session for 1.5 hours and then another session this morning for 1.5 hours. I also spent about a half hour scanning them in and piecing them together in the same document in Photoshop. Many of the objects I drew were sitting on my desk and I also included a sketch of a friend.

August 29, 2018:

I reviewed the email, pdf files and sketch. It sounds like a great project! I am flexible regarding the schedule in completing the project and can put in a few extra hours this weekend.

August 27, 2018:

This morning I spent an hour and a half studying the work of Koivo and then created my own image in Adobe Illustrator (on the right), similar to her work.

Week Four:

Weekly Hours: 7

August 24, 2018

Today I drew the contents of my purse for an hour this morning after looking at the daily drawings of Kate Bingaman-Burt.

August 23, 2018

This morning I spent a half hour studying the work of Kate Bingaman-Burt and I created a Pinterest board of my favorite pieces of her work. I really enjoyed her daily drawing project which she has been doing for the past 8 years. I love the looseness and quality of chance in her mark which really gives these ordinary objects lots of character.

August 22, 2018

For the self directed project, I spent about 1.5 hours brainstorming ideas and 2.5 hours creating the line work for the piece. I decided to create a narrative piece, showing a little boy blowing bubbles that contain goldfish within this dream like environment. I wanted to explore a playful and imaginative tone as well as experiment with style ( i.e. the odd botanicals, hills and character.)

August 20, 2018

I enjoyed your article about cheerleaders. I definitely think having that kind of support is very beneficial to building an artistic career, and reminded me that I am lucky to have my own cheerleaders in family, friends and colleagues. Also, here’s my answers to your questions:

Q: How many more months do you have to complete your program at Watkins?

I am currently starting my junior year, so I have two years left at Watkins.

Q: What do you consider to be the ideal track to take upon graduation?

I am majoring in Graphic Design, so I intend to work in a design position while I steadily work my way into becoming a freelance illustrator. Everyone’s path is different, and some find that they can support themselves as an illustrator out of college. However, I find that working in a corporate design position temporarily will provide me with a steady income as well as create connections through a professional creative environment. Additionally, I think that understanding the fundamentals of design can provide more avenues of work as well as provide me with skills to be a more valuable illustrator.

Q: Do you have aspirations to become a full time freelance illustrator at some point in your career?

Yes! I plan to transition into full time freelance within a few years of graduating college. By pushing side projects and building up connections in school and after graduation, I plan to either find representation with an agency or build up a clientele that provides enough for me to work freelance full time.

Q: What would you consider to be an successful annual income as a freelance illustrator?

I am content with not making large amounts of money, just enough to live comfortably while doing what I love. Currently, I think making 50k annually would be a successful annual income as an illustrator.

Q: Have you had a chance to spend time with or talk with other professional, full time working artists? If so, please list their names and website links.

I have spoken with Lauren Lowen and Kayla Stark, both illustrators at The Warren. I have had a chance to sit down with each of them and discuss their experiences becoming illustrators and provide me with helpful advice to create my own path. I also spent the summer of 2017 as a Curatorial Intern at the Nashville Public Library, where I worked with Thaxton Waters. He held a more fine artist perspective but also taught me some helpful tips on supporting yourself financially through art.

Q: Have you had any coaches or mentors in your life in the past, with sports, music, school that you admire? If so, please list and explain briefly about each.

An important mentor I had growing up was Claire Cope, my piano teacher. I took piano lessons for 8 years and got to know her very well. She was always very positive and kind and provided praise when I overcame a difficult piece or technique. She was also encouraging when I struggled and patient when I needed more time to perfect a piece. Another mentor of mine was my high school art teacher, Sharon Johnson. I admired her dedication to our class and that she challenged and pushed us to work harder and approach our weaknesses. She was honest, yet kind and provided me with the constructive criticism I needed to improve my work.

Q: What qualities do you think are most important to be a successful as a full time working artist?

First and foremost, a strong intrinsic desire to create and the need for the fulfillment it brings. If there is no passion, then overcoming obstacles will be much more difficult to withstand. Consistent self discipline to work hard and persevere are also crucial to keep up with deadlines and making large amounts of quality work. Additionally, the ability to self reflect, improve on one’s own weakness, and apply constructive criticism are crucial in progressing as an artist and not becoming stagnant. Good communication skills are also important in working with clients and overall being humble and easy to work with can provide an artist with a good reputation to receive more work.

Q: Are your parents understanding and supportive of your artistic aspirations? Or are you working on your goals independently, regardless of your parents opinions? Please outline circumstance.

My mother is supportive of my goals to become a full time artist, as long as I can find a way to become financially independent after college. I have two younger siblings that are in need of resources as well, so it is important I find financial independence soon after school. My mother also takes a lot of interest in my art and we work together to put me through school.

Q: Do you have a supportive network of peers and working colleagues in the arts community? If so, expand and comment on these relationships.

Yes! Through school, I have been able to find a wonderful and supportive network of peers here in Nashville. Many are designers and illustrators I have met through classes and working in the studio on campus. I have developed relationships where we can provide feedback to one another, discuss ideas, talk about our perspectives on the struggles and rewards of creating an artistic career. However, I have also been acquainted with fine artists and filmmakers through collaborative shows and projects at school. I have also gotten to know a few musicians in Nashville and create their promotional work while developing great friendships.

Q: Do you have plans on staying in Nashville or Middle Tennessee upon graduation, or do you have plans to move elsewhere?

Currently, I plan on staying in the Nashville area after graduation. I suspect that the local connections I make while in school with help provide job opportunities. However, I am also open to the idea of going elsewhere if a good opportunity arises.

Week Three:

Weekly Hours: 7

August 17, 2018

Yesterday, I spent 3 hours completing the final bird illustration and worked on keeping the contrast while adding color.

August 15, 2018

Last night I spent 3.5 hours working on the black and white bird drawings, and worked on utilizing more contrast.

I also spent about a half hour reading through the various articles about style and my summary is below:

Overall, my biggest take away was working towards an endgame in terms of one style, but not rushing the process. I think the emphasis on play in Kyle’s article was important, because I believe that can definitely aid in finding a distinct style. Additionally, emulating the things you like in a wide variety of other illustrators can come together to create a unique look.

Week Two:

Weekly Hours: 10

August 11, 2018

This evening I worked for 4.5 hours and added color to the final piece. I experimented with different textures and kept in mind the idea of playfulness.

August 9, 2018

Today I worked for three hours on the sketch and reading the articles.

Thanks for linking the articles! They were very informative and offer an encouraging perspective, especially how the second post broke down all the different sources of income. In the article, “Best Case,” you stated having one distinct style is important. Currently, as someone in the very beginning of my illustration career, I feel as though I have yet to find that one style. What kind of advice do you have for someone looking to develop a style unique to them?

I also completed a pencil sketch of the garden assignment. Using Aitch’s piece as a starting point, I added my own flavor by including descriptive details such as the cat peering out the window, birdhouse, etc. I chose to focus on Summer Harvest, as the gardener collects the vegetables into her basket.

I intend to complete the final digitally, fulfill my remaining 1.5 hours over the weekend by working on the final, and will report again on Monday. Let me know if there’s any feedback you have and things I could change to the sketch to improve.

August 7, 2018

Today I spent a half hour looking deeper into the work of Aitch and created a Pinterest board of selections of my favorite pieces by her.

I also spent two hours adding blocks of color to 5 of my flower illustrations from last week.

Week One:

Weekly Hours: 8

July 31, 2018

This evening, I spent three hours creating a series of flower with faces using only black and white line. After looking at the work of Aitch, I wanted to have a bit of fun creating various personalities within their facial expressions.

July 30, 2018

This morning I worked for two hours and selected three artists whose work I was drawn to from Travis Foster’s agency:

Agata Krolak: I was attracted to the offbeat whimsy and charming use of color in her work.There is an unpredictable quality to her illustrations which creates an enjoyable sense of play.

Danielle Chenette: I was intrigued by her work’s dynamism and instinctual energy. Her unpretentious and cheeky approach to social commentary is witty and authentic.

Mister Phil: I was drawn to the excitement and expressiveness of Mister Phil’s characters and color palette. The use of lettering within his work is also really fun and is integrated well into the chaotic compositions.

I also collected a few thoughts after reading Travis’s article, “Content, Consistency, Caliber and Depth”:

As a freelance illustrator you wear many hats not only as an artist, but working with finances, promotion, management, etc. which are all required to be a successful business owner. Promoting your work and keeping track of finances/fluctuating income are essential to creating a thriving career. Effective communication skills with clients is key to maintaining strong professional relationships.

I also spent some time reading the internship journal entries of Natalie Miles and Danielle Duer. It was interesting to see how they drew influence from various illustrators and their explorations with different process/media.

Finally, I chose my three best pieces in my current portfolio. I have selected pieces that show different styles/media I have explored:

July 28, 2018

I spent three hours Saturday afternoon exploring the work of various illustrators. I created a Pinterest board of my 20 favorite illustrators from the “Directory of Illustration” which can be found here.