Aubry Cohen graduated from Kutztown in 2014 with a concentration in Graphic Design. She had all the classes for the Illustration Concentration, but one. As I always say, a portfolio is WAY more important than a transcript. Today Aubry works for Artskills, a Bethlehem, PA company that makes art and poster supplies along with many other decorative items.
Q and A with Audry:
Q: What is you current job title?
A: I’m currently a Graphic Designer/Illustrator.
Q: How many folks work at Artskills? How many from KU?
A: There are around 40 employees at ArtSkills, and only 12 members of the Art Department. 5 of the Art Department members are from Kutztown!
Q: Did Kutztown prepare you well for the job? Are there things you wished you learned more about?
A: Kutztown definitely prepared me well for the job! My package design class helped me learn the basics of packaging that I use every day now. It would be beneficial for KU to offer more packaging design courses to give an even deeper knowledge of the field, however. I know a lot of my graduating classmates got jobs where they do packaging as well!
Q: Was there a particular portfolio piece that helped you get your job?
A: I definitely think “ArtistiCats” from my Illustration Senior Seminar helped me get this job. For this project, I developed a line of children’s art supplies, and designed a handful of characters to be on the packaging. This often is what I do at work now! See entire project here.
Q: What is the project you are most proud of?
From school, probably ArtistiCats! From ArtSkills, I’m very proud to have been able to work on a product called Outdoor Doodlers. They are sidewalk chalk holders that will be released this coming spring. I got to design the characters for the wraps of the holders, and they were super fun to do!
Q: Do you have any illustration project, outside of work you are doing?
I do various personal illustrations in my spare time, which is always fun! I’m also developing a small online illustration studio with my girlfriend called Catmint Studios. We are hoping to sell some fun illustration-based products, and get it launched this year!
Q: Any advice for Illustration students?
The thing that I heard multiple times when I participated in KU’s portfolio review, and that stuck with me the most, was that I had a nice variety of styles in my portfolio. Everyone I spoke with enjoyed seeing many different illustration styles, as opposed to just one signature look.
Aubry: “My advice is to push your boundaries as an illustrator, and never be afraid to try new things! If you always draw creepy stuff, add something cute to your book. If you’re always doing digital paintings, try out some vector work. I get to work on such a huge variety of illustration projects at ArtSkills, and being able to be versatile really helps with that!
I would also say that, as an illustrator, definitely still be open to graphic design jobs! My job at ArtSkills is first as a graphic designer, but I am fortunate enough that I get to do a huge amount of illustrating as well. Opportunities for illustration can most certainly come from graphic design positions, so have a well-rounded portfolio, even if you consider yourself an illustrator before anything else.”
Q: Finally, can you point us to illustrators you admire?
I really love character design, and that’s a part of my job at ArtSkills, too! As such, I admire a lot of character designers, and many illustrators I find online. Here are the links to some favorites: Olivier Silven, Nico Marlet, Zoe Persico, Melanie Matthews, Piper Thibodeau and an artist who goes by the name Crayon Chewer.