When I first came to MICA, I transferred as a GFA major, but most of the GFA classes were already closed when I tried to register. Instead, I chose the Drawing as Illustration class as one of my electives. From that class, I realized that my style fit more into illustration and that picture book illustration is what I wanted to do, so I changed my major from GFA to illustration without any hesitation.
What are the most important things you have learned from your MICA experience?
Over the past two years, I’ve learned how research is important for the final piece. I realized that the quality of work sometimes depends on how much time I spent on research. I spend at least 2 hours and sometimes more than three days on research before I start my assignment. During the research process, looking at other illustrators’ styles always stimulates me to try some new materials or techniques.
Words of advice for underclassmen?
Do as much work as you can do; sometimes quantity leads to quality in your work. Try to bring your best piece for every class critique, because that helps you to build up your portfolio naturally and easily.
Tell us a little about your work and professional successes. I don’t have any work experience or published work yet, but winning the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) student scholarship and attending the SCBWI winter conference was the most valuable experience in my life as a student. I had a wonderful chance to meet great people and see the professional world. I learned a lot from all the programs that I participated in SCBWI, but I also learned so many things through the preparation for the conference, because it was my first experience to show my portfolio as a professional.
What is your greatest achievement?
All the classes that I’ve taken during past the 2 years and all the works from those classes are the greatest achievement to me. Even though some of my works weren’t successfully finished, I learned something from that failure.
Anything else you’d like to share? Plans for the future? At some point in my future, I really want to be a children’s book illustrator, but I don’t expect that will happen right after I graduate from MICA. I will keep trying to get a book contract, but I will also try to find a job which is related to the children’s book illustration field. I hope that I can find an internship for this summer :-)
To see more of Jaime's work, visit her professional links: