We recently connected with Jodi Hill and have shared our conversation below.
Jodi, appreciate you joining us today. Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
My illustrations have never been a full time gig for me but I have really enjoyed the creative distraction in my life. Sometimes I worked on one children’s book illustration project a year, creating all the artwork, including creating the cover, getting paid, and then the authors self publish on amazon. When I look at the completed books that I have had the honor of illustrating, including my name on the cover, I am so proud and I feel accomplished in my art career, tiny as it may be. Looking back when I was in college as an art major I thought I would create a famous logo or a creative label to be seen on the shelf at the grocery store. I just enjoyed creating and drawing. Two years into college, artwork was beginning to move from the sketch pad to the mouse and a computer. I didn’t understand it, thought it was cheating and walked away from it leading me instead to a rewarding career as an elementary and a high school teacher. I found my creative skills came in handy in the classroom with the kids as well as helping the flow of my classroom. Ten years later I went back to art school, finishing up my needed units and I received an AA in Graphic Design. Go figure, artwork created on a computer. What have I learned from this? I maybe shouldn’t have been so afraid of the unknown. I maybe should have stepped up to the challenge and been there at the start of computer animation and who knows what could have happened. My gift as an artist has worked out just fine, just when I start to get idle, I get another opportunity to illustrate for a local writer who needs help making his or her dream of bringing their children’s book to life.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I partnered up with a writer I found on Craigslist in the 90’s who had a children’s rhyme titled Albert Lag Behind and needed an illustrator. I loved her story and she loved my artwork. We split the costs and self published with a company in Canada leading to our book up for sale on amazon.com. Needless to say, we are not famous, we are not on the top seller list but we sure had a good time and our families and friends were proud! Since that moment I love the job of illustrating stories and I advertise my skills as a children’s book illustrator. At this point in my life I have completed 14 books! I meet my clients, they tell me their vision, I suggest ideas and sketch characters and settings and we go from there. I have been blessed to have a great connection with authors, putting together their words along with my illustrations seem to work beautifully. I am always determined to come up with the characters that my clients want. I want to complete their story the way they see it, luckily I think I have done that.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
The most rewarding aspect as an illustrator of children’s books is seeing them complete and receiving a box full of fresh, hot off the press books arriving at my doorstep! I especially like reading them to my nieces and nephews who are overjoyed that I draw and my work is in a book that is their very own. I believe that illustrations help a story come to life. The reader can see how words are interpreted by pictures in the story. I have expanded myself a little and done some logo work for a friend of mine. Her online apothecary business is booming and seeing my artwork all over her products is very rewarding, especially when I read that people say, ‘I love your labels!”.
Is there a mission driving your creative journey?
My journey as a creative will always be alive. I started doodling flowers, turtles, fish, I copied cartoon characters, horses and unicorns, eagerly drawing whatever anyone asked me to draw for them. That was my challenge. I learned to look at real life as well as photographs of things and to really look at what lines and shadows do to make it what it is. My creative journey has been a reflection of the stages of my personal life. In college I made and sold drawstring baggy pants at reggae shows; designed t-shirts for concerts, I was a maker of book bags, stitched together with beautiful upholstery fabrics that changed into less generic looking baby bags when I became a mother; I then started illustrating books; and even painting a few signs and logos for local businesses. I get the most joy when I am able to share my books and art work with children and my students, to show them that when you have a talent, it’s a gift and you can accomplish anything you want as long as you make the effort, practice and don’t be discouraged by that little mean voice that tells you that you can’t. YOU CAN!
- Website: www.jodsdesigns.com
- Instagram: jodsdesigns
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- Twitter: @jodsdesigns