I asked Ashley McDevitt, a 2011 grad, how she got her dream job so fast in today’s tough market?
OK, so it all started when I went to the Portfolio Review. I heard from Prof. Bosler and Prof. Cunfer about a few of the people coming that I should pay attention to, one of them being Kathy Davis. Kathy Davis, Paper Magic, and Hallmark where the three people on my list. So that evening I met three of Kathy Davis’s senior designers, one of whom was a fellow KU alumni. I immediately wrote down their names, collected business cards, and within two days had handmade thank you notes in the mail.
Fast forward: two weeks later and I got my first call from Kathy Davis. My first interview was over the phone with the head of licencing, HR and creative director, the second was at the studio to show my portfolio and then finally I met Kathy Davis. I didn’t know until when I came in for paperwork that Vallerie Berstecher and Laura Mounts had also been hired on as well. My first day was July 5th and I’ve been here ever since.
Which KU classes were most helpful to you, as far as getting a job?
I’d probably have to say Professor Bosler’s Self Promo class was the most helpful, with Portfolio a close second. But then again, all my classes were useful because they got me a job I like, in the field I was trained for, just 3.5 weeks out of school. But I’d say Self Promo gave me probably the biggest confidence boost to go out into the working world guns blazing. Prof. Bosler spelled everything out, –both pros and cons. I was still scared out of my mind, but at least I knew what to do.
What can you tell us about out your new job? What sort of materials do you use, for example?
Software wise, we use CS4. We don’t simply use the computer, but we still utilize watercolor, hand-drawn type and calligraphy that are staples of Kathy Davis’s art. This is also one of the things that I really enjoy about the company, too; there’s still this appreciation for these media. Kathy works with American Greetings and we use their resources to print/distribute our cards. We have a small staff of about 20, but everyone is easy to ask questions of, and we work as a cohesive team. I think that one of the best things about working here is that people will be able to buy cards I worked on at places like Target and Walmart!
Also we have a small gallery in the studio that every month each designer takes turns showcasing their work. We also have creative meetings to show inspirations we have come across both past and present. We have an inspiration wall, as well, that a designer gets to put together themselves each month.
Editor’s note: Ashley McDevitt won the 2011 Kutztown C.D. Senior Illustration Award. She can’t share any of the Kathy Davis projects she has worked on, but the artwork on this page is from the portfolio that helped her land her dream job. More of Ashley’s illustration work can be seen here on her web site. My question about how she got the job was not meant to express surprise at her well-deserved success, but to advise other illustration students. Ashley’s responses were edited for length.