What did/do your parents do for a living? Did their careers influence your approach to your career?
My parents are both blue-collar workers. My dad has been in the restaurant business since he was 21 years old and my mom works in the garment industry. On his free time, my dad does Chinese calligraphy and would often get commissioned to write the special menu's for Chinese restaurants in the NYC area. My mom is a sample maker so she sews together one of a kind dresses for celebrities. Both these industries are incredibly tiring and they often work 12-14 hour days. Seeing them work so hard definitely made me think twice about going into a art-related field. I had considered going into a profession (doctor, nurse or business) where I can make enough so my parents can rest comfortably. But, the creative field was where my passion was. My dad's calligraphy and mom's work in fashion definitely helped push me towards it.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Also, please share a memorable experience you had with art or design before the 6th grade.
I wanted to be a nurse! I have 2 siblings and we had set our careers together. I would've been the nurse, my brother would be a doctor and my sister would've been the lawyer. None of us ended up doing any of that by the way. I have always been into art though and that is thanks to my mom who signed my sister and I up for the yearly Metlife Drawing contest that occurred during the summer. And it is also thanks to this one kid in my class (from Pre-K - 5th grade) whom I competed with art wise all thru elementary school. And this relates to the memorable experience because I was always 2nd place to him in art class for so long but by the time the end of 5th grade came around, I was chosen to draw the spot illustrations for the yearbook.
What was your first job after school? How did you feel about it?
My first job after school was in publishing as a design intern for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It was amazing and it taught me so much about actually designing a book cover. All the internships I had in the past was in the Ad/Promo dept. I had the opportunity to meet so many great illustrators and it was hard work but so worth it. My first actual grown up/non-internship job though was working at Scholastic designing teacher's workbooks. The job was super fun and I also learned a lot of things. One of the most important things I learned was contacting and working with illustrators. I have never done anything like that before.
Children are brutally honest and inherently more creative than adults; they can be an intimidating audience to make things for. Thoughts?
I think the fact that a child's honestly is sincere and not an actual critique of the work itself makes them easier to create things for. I don't find them to be a intimidating audience.
Name a young illustrator that people may not be familiar with.
I've met so many new illustrators and artists lately and I can't name them all. But some that stand out are Giselle Sarmiento, she's a comic artist/illustrator who just graduated from SVA this year and Robin Kaplan aka The Gorgonist.
What is the first typeface that comes to mind after reading this question?
20 years from now publishing will be…
Struggling but holding on because there will always be people who are in love with books
Of all the projects on your plate this week which project are you most excited about?
I'm actually super excited about a project I'm doing outside of work on my free time. I'm playing with colored paper to create illustrations and I'm super excited. Using paper to build 3D illustrations isn't something I've done before and I can't wait to just pick the colors of the paper itself.
Do you make things in your spare time?
Yup! I have my own line of characters and illustrations which I make into tangible products. I love playing with different materials; felt, acrylic sheets, and clay.
If you could only give one piece of advice to someone just starting their career what would it be?
Listen, explore, and be excited! Always explore and never try to stop learning. There's always something new to learn that can help you with your career. And being excited about things makes your job more enjoyable and worth it.
Wendy's portfolio can be found here
Additional CPDF interviews may be found via the table of contents.