Hi Jackie! Would you tell us a little bit about your journey in becoming an artist? What did that look like? How did that align or parallel your studies for grad school?
Hello Marissa!! Hello everyone! My name is Jackie, I’m a 26 year old, Brazilian-German illustrator. To start from the beginning, I had private art lessons and painted a lot with oil on canvas at home which I enjoyed very much since I was a child. My parents really provided me with many creative outlets, so I was never really bored as long as I had paper and pencils.
Fast forward to the awkward teenage years, I was 17 when I went to do a exchange year in High School, and went to Nashville where I really settled into studying design. During most of my studies in Design I mostly focused into the technical part of Product Design, the processes, the history, and the applications. It was only around 2 years before graduating, that I realized I enjoyed most whenever I had to create visuals for presentations and decided to go more into Illustration and Graphic Design.
We've discussed this a little, but I'd love to hear more about how moving to Germany from Brasil impacted your life and your art.
In Brazil, at least before I left to study in Germany, I was not doing any kind of illustration/art/paintings. My daily routine consisted of University, German/French classes and swimming. It was basically it, but University in Brazil was so intense I rarely had free time. Germany was a complete different reality: even if the school was hard, there was always some way to get free time and enjoy life. I also got to know people from all over the world, and to do small trips around Europe. This was the time when I really started drawing and painting again, because there was so much things I wanted to "catalog", and this started evolving into a real career in illustration.
Do you remember your first illustration client project? What was that like? Can you share any lessons you learned or tips that could help others at the beginning of their careers?
My first big job was for a big international beauty brand that was launching a new product in Brazil. I was hired to do the invitation design, which would include florals and hand lettering. I gave them a price, and they offered to pay me with exposure, which I declined. After we agreed on a sum, there were so many changes over the course of the job that I had not foresee which meant the payment was very small for my time. In the end, it was a very important project because it showed me that you definitely should never work for free (or for exposure). You should also be careful about the details of your contract so that it is a fair agreement to everyone. I definitely learned a lot from this first job.
I could look at your work all day. It feels so joyful to me-like the optimistic feeling that anything is possible when you wake up early on a Saturday with no plans with a gorgeous day ahead of you. What does your creative process look like? Would you walk us through a little bit from an idea to completion? Is it different for your personal versus client projects?
There is definitely a difference between personal or self-initiated projects and commercial and client projects. If I am doing something for myself, I usually paint it first on my sketch book, I can work outside, in a park or a café. It’s more relaxed. With client projects, everything happens at my desk, from getting the briefing, doing lots of research, first sketches, scanning drafts for approval, etc. It’s a longer and more precise process.
Fashion, design, travel and pastries come to mind when I think of you. How does your love of those things influence your work?
It’s all interconnected for sure. I love painting things I want and can’t have, whether is a dress with beautiful prints, a landscape from a place I want to go (craving South of France and Mallorca at the moment) or a piece of cake from back home. Sometimes it makes me experience a far away place or mood from my desk if I paint it. And more than often I visit the place of my painting at some point which is nice.
Who is a dream client you'd love to work with?
Oooh, there are so many!! But let’s say my top five would be: Anthropologie, Kate Spade, J. Crew, L’Occitane, and Granado (a brazilian beauty brand that I adore). I would love to do more packaging and textile patterns in the future and I love the aesthetic of these brands.
What is something you wish you could do if you had unlimited time, space and money?
I would do so many more collaborations with my creative friends and invest in talented people who need help with resources to do their craft. I would host workshops to teach kids and teenagers about illustration and art career. Would also like to travel a lot, do and publish fully illustrated travel guides.
What is something you wish someone would ask you? And can you ask it to yourself and answer? :)
"What are the challenges of being a freelancer illustrator who works from home?" Although it is great to have your studio at home it can be hard on the body. I am thinking about the wrists, back, eye sight and your general health here. You spend almost all of your time sitting at a desk, doing repetitive movements and its also very demanding psychologically. On the other hand you can work in your pajamas.
Is there a medium or technique you'd love to try? Why?
Ceramics!!! I would absolutely love to hand paint pottery and create unique pieces, or to be able to create pattern designs to be applied to ceramics in a large scale.
What do you do when you need to refresh your work / get inspired / or get out of your head? Do you have any tips or tricks?
Go out of the studio! I go anywhere I can: parks, cafés, museums, or go to Holland (it’s only a 2 and a half hour car drive to Amsterdam from Cologne!). If the time is too short, or if I can’t find the energy to go out, it’s also ok to stay home and watch a movie or read a book.