In June 2014, I took a huge leap and left a job I hated to wholeheartedly pursue my goal of being an illustrator and graphic designer. It was the scariest and best thing I’ve ever done. My bachelor’s degree in fine art, while fun to attain, did not set me up very well for a lucrative career in design. In the few years following graduation, I used a foot-in-the-door approach, which essentially meant pursuing accessible administrative roles within different companies (and, at one point, even a law firm) to gain “universally respectable” work experience. My goal was to find a creative company in which I could grow and eventually attain a position that made use of my illustration skills.

However, I quickly realized that I was hitting the ceiling when I began working as an executive assistant and art buyer at a boutique advertising agency. In befriending some of the designers there, I began to see a gap between my own abilities and theirs. Although I possessed a solid background in painting and drawing, I began to see how learning the basics of graphic design would only increase my versatility and marketability as an illustrator. Coming to terms with the fact that I had more to learn in order to achieve my dream career made it very easy to put my priorities into perspective.

My interest in the Graphic & Web Design certificate (via BAVC Media’s TechSF program) was an integral part of why I took this leap in the first place. While training at BAVC Media, I learned all the basics of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, in addition to HTML/CSS. While on the job hunt, I had tons of time outside of class to get familiar with these programs and create new sample work. My experimentation led to several self-assigned projects and portfolio pieces, one of which I’m still in the middle of now. It enhanced my deep love of hand-lettering and introduced me to the wonderful world of typography. It also led to some of my first real freelance gigs.

Since earning my certificate, I’ve worked with a variety of companies as a freelancer and am currently (and proudly) a full-time graphic designer and illustrator at CreativeLive. Because of my experience at BAVC Media, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I now work for a company that prides itself on making education accessible to everyone. And as much as I’m an advocate for online education, I cannot stress the difference between learning through a laptop and working person-to-person with an instructor. Diane Presler made all of the design programs she taught accessible to a variety of learners, took students through several common client scenarios, and was and has consistently been available for any questions or feedback. BAVC Media’s instructors are truly one-of-a-kind.

Selected projects  

The letter N from my 2015 Alphabet Project.


Final patterns for a freelance client project.


KALX sticker design contest submission.


An example of personal work.