Submitted by students, these are previous internship experiences told first-hand.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Alex Fine: Freelance Illustrator

My name is Corey Adams and I’m a senior illustration major. This summer I had the opportunity to intern for a local Baltimore freelance Illustrator named Alex Fine. Alex is a MICA grad, and is currently doing editorial illustration for clients such as the Washington Post, the Hollywood Reporter, and the Spectator. I got in contact with Alex during late March of 2012, I had seen his work before around Baltimore and noticed that he was going to be at the MICA career fair later that week. I decided to contact him early before he got to the school and explained to him whom I was and why I would like to Intern for him over the summer. He was very willing to let me intern for him.

I worked with Alex one on one this summer, since he’s a freelance illustrator who works from home, I would normally go over there about 4-5 times a week to work with him. A normal workday for us would start out with him going over some of my work. He would give me mock editorial assignments all summer to help prepare me for my senior thesis, so each morning we would talk about the work that I did, he would critique me and give me demo’s, which turned out to be extremely beneficial for me and my work. After that he would give me line work for editorial jobs he received that week for me to color. I would color flats for him about 80% of the time, which helped me learn how to work faster and more efficiently with my  own work. Alex would supervise everything I did.

 It was great to work with him on some of these assignments because I got to see first hand what it was like to work as a freelance illustrator. I would see that projects that he did from start to finish. I got to work on some things for the Washington Post and the Hollywood Reporter, which was an amazing opportunity. One of the most important things that Alex taught me was how to effectively promote my work and contact art directors. We put together a client list for myself and I spent a week on my own contacting art directors, which really paid off in the end because I received a lot of helpful feedback from most of the people that I contacted, and even got on the cover of Dig Boston. That is the one thing that I am the most proud of from this summer, because before the internship I didn’t really have a solid understanding of where I was going with my Illustration and now I’m well into my thesis knowing exactly what I want to do with illustration.

Having a more solid understanding with what I want to do with my work has helped me out so much. Now that I know what I want to do with my work, I can continue to build my portfolio and connect with other professionals and art directors. I feel like if I keep in mind everything that Alex taught me over the summer, there’s no reason why I can’t make a career out of freelance illustration.

Monday, July 22, 2013

National Aquarium in Baltimore

During the 2012 winter break and 2013 spring semester I had the opportunity to intern at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The National Aquarium is a non-profit organization and home to over 16,000 animals, all of various species, living in habitats specific to their nature; the National Aquarium includes educational tours, experiences, and exhibits, all fueled by their mission statement, “to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.” I was fortunate to find the Graphic Design internship listing for the National Aquarium through the Google search, ‘Graphic Design Internships in Baltimore.’ After two weeks I received a phone call from Maryn Jacobs, one of the Graphic Designers for the National Aquarium, asking if I was still interested in the position, and if so, she would like to offer me the job. When I accepted, she informed me that she would call in a few weeks to follow up on details.

The Graphic Design Department in the National Aquarium, comprising of Maryn Jacobs and Natalie Castaldo, handles everything from exhibit design, to events fliers, from social-media designs to the Aquarium’s branding, and everything in between. The two designers work with over 80 open jobs a day, creating and completing all design jobs for each department within the National Aquarium.  I was given several projects to work on throughout my internship, all of which needed to keep the feel and branding of the National Aquarium: e-cards, event brochures, internship posters, educational illustrations, social media front banners, educational illustrations, and club patches.  I also attended several meetings that discussed project details with the various departments requesting the job.  

Interning at the National Aquarium taught me the value of time because quick turn around jobs forced me to think quickly and execute the project in a quick and clean manner.  The most valuable lesson I learned was how to manage several different jobs at once in addition to handling communication with different departments, satisfying their needs while staying in the constraints of the National Aquarium’s existing branding. I also learned how to work within an office setting as I worked from 9-5 in my own cubicle, sometimes needing to stay later to get a job finished. This time allotment taught me how not stray my attention and focus my energy on the task at hand. Interning for the National Aquarium has shown me that I would like to pursue a career in the Graphic Design field, specifically in large spread communication for Non-Profit organizations; I enjoyed using my design skills to better the community, and plan to continue designing for educational purposes throughout my career.