I had the honor of talking about my profession to a group of about 30 Pratt University students today. I talked about how I got my start in publishing, graduating RISD as a illustrations major, (Illustration got some cheers. RISD got some boos.) as well as the process of making a picture book. All along trying my hardest to give as much real world advice as possible no matter how scary it might have seemed to them. I am sure I would have scared the crap out of myself at that age. The truth is a scary thing when you feel unprepared to hear it. How did my work fit in, I remember thinking? As I sure everyone does at that time. I tried to keep that in mind when talking with them. Trying to think what are other routes that you can take your work to make money so not to limit yourself. I went around the room and gave a brief crit of there work. which gets harder as you go around the room. I kept thinking I don't want to repeat myself and this person deserves to hear something new from me. I managed to mumble out some gems. Most had the same issues color, direction of there work and overall voice. Common issues that we all struggle with even after school. (well maybe not color ) Before each crit I asked the same question. The hardest question you can ask a senior with only weeks left of school. "What do you want to do?" I couldn't have answered it at that time but I knew what I liked. And if you follow that you will find what you want. I had no idea that I would be in children's books let alone and art director of them. In fact I didn't like kids books at all. Mainly because I didn't fit into them or so I thought. Perhaps that is why I have done well in the field. All in all I saw some promising work in the room but I left feeling a touch of anxiety in my chest. I was feeling the stress of the room I think. In no uncertain terms there futures are before them. Not knowing where they are going. It's tough to let go and dive into the abyss and hope for the best. My parting advice is we must plan for the worst so good things happen. If the bad shall occur we are prepare to deal with it rather than letting it consume us, keeping us from moving forward.
That being said, my next portfolio review is at RISD, April 23rd. I am interested to see what they will be bringing.