I had the distinct pleasure of working on a series of Illustrations for GYK Antler’s end of year client gifts last month. I was excited to work on the project because I have a lot of unapologetic pride in businesses that operate out of new England. I believe that, large or small, localizing business is one of the top ways to strengthen the community. Some of their clients included born and raised New England giants like Dunkin Dounuts, Timberland and Cedars Hummus. While these corporations distribute and operate on an international level, I know people in my community as well as friends and family who have been personally and positively effected by their existence.
GYKA wanted an original piece of art that could be printed, framed and sent to their clients as a sincere thank you for their partnership. They really wanted them to to be a genuine token of gratitude and needed the item to be of the upmost quality to reflect that. (They originally wanted the illustrations to be letter pressed; bless their souls!) Unfortunately, letterpress did not complement our timeline nor our edition size. So, I had them printed on thick cotton paper to look as handmade as possible.
A few days before Christmas, I had a few facebook notifications from old coworkers. They had shared a link to an Adweek article. When I recognized that the title was; Inventive and Creative Agency Holiday Cards 2018, I selfishly, couldn’t help but scroll through to see if my illustrations made the cut. I stopped to read the paragraph about Droga5 since my boyfriend (a multi media designer in marketing) and I always geek out about their work. Then, almost directly beneath them, I found GYK Client Homage. I was elated just to see the work recognized but when I saw that they mentioned my full name, I ran into the living room to show my mom. I had to explain what Droga 5 was and what a big deal it was to be mentioned in the same article as them but, I think She understood the weight of it from my voice being many octaves higher than normal.
It’s been 4 weeks since I went full time freelance ( I hope you read that in Steven Page’s voice) And, not going to lie, It’s-been-WORK. I’ve made many mistakes and pushed myself to my limits. I knew in my heart that it was the right choice to go self employed but, I’m always glancing shiftily around for validation that I’m on the right track. Shortly after sharing the news with my mom, I received that holy validation in the form of an email from the project manager from GYKA. She shared the link to the Adweek article as well as a retweet of the project from a prominent editor in the marketing industry. She wrote that the gifts received overwhelmingly positive feedback many appreciated how thoughtful they had been. They where so thankful for my part in bringing their vision to life I could barely contain my happiness.
Starting out as an illustrator, self esteem is fragile. You take a lot of “bad” clients because you don’t know any better and end up doing a ton of work without receiving any kind of positive feedback. I think many refer to this time as “earning your stripes.” I’ve learned a LOT from making mistakes which has led me to taking better and better clients. When I receive positive feedback like this, it makes me go even more boldly in the direction of my dreams.
It’s the little things. Thanks GYKA!