A few months back I was contacted by a student at the local high school who was in search of a mentor in a similar profession to the one she wanted to pursue. My initial thought was “haha me?” I can’t even adult. But then I realized, “yes, me. I do adult, just not the way a lot of people do.” Unless you go a hour or so to a bigger city, it’s very hard to find someone in a creative design field! I would’ve been thrilled to have had an opportunity like that in high school. So I said yes. Fast forward a few months later and it’s been a great learning experience for us both. The student I’m working with is so incredibly talented. She’s hoping to get into the digital art field in animation or illustration and loves to create digital paintings. I cannot wait to see what she does in the future.
As someone who works on a computer, alone and from home, being a mentor is very different than someone in the medical or legal profession. We haven’t spent a lot of time actually doing interning or “ghosting”. I show her what I’m currently working on with clients and talk about the design field, different resources and tools. Talking about the creative process in a corporate setting has been a big part of our talks as well. I’ve helped her to get started using some of the tools and software she’ll be using in her profession and brought her along for some creative adventures. We’ve even been collaborating on some projects recently.
For the program, she has to present a final project. We ended up choosing to design an illustrated children’s book since she could use her skills to create something that could one day be an actual product or job that she might have. We’re treating this like a real life project she might be doing for a client. This project is one way that I’ve emphasized a process. We’ve started with gather inspiration and using mood boards and moved onto character development, thumbnail sketches and story boards. It’s going to be amazing to see her final project. I’ve also put a huge emphasis on curating a digital portfolio to get ready for college and potential employers. For her portfolio we’re planning to also establish a “brand” for herself by creating a logo, business cards and customizing her digital portfolio web site.
It’s been an exciting adventure and has really helped me to step back and analyze my own processes. It’s one thing to do things everyday, but a completely different thing to teach someone about it in person. I’ve blogged for years about business and design related things but it’s been thrilling having someone in person to guide. Stay tuned for more on her final project!