DIG Boston “Oh Cruel World” Internship Questions.
By Courtney LaForest – AIB illustration
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of working in the world of editorial illustration?
The printing size! You can only get so detailed with a 2x2” square, and going overboard leads to color bleeding on the newsprint, and then it’s just a big yucky mess. Editorial illustration has definitely been a lot more than just doodling silly tweens farting rainbows and douchebags in bathtubs!
What was the most rewarding part of working for Dig Boston?
This is a difficult question, because I’m still in the internship now. My answer will probably seem inadequate to my future self. I initially want to say that seeing my work in a public printed space is the best part, which is pretty darn cool, but I’d say even more than that is just the experience of having a weekly “real world” assignment. It’s waded in with all of the rest of the lump that is schoolwork, my job, errands, etc., which just makes it that much more exciting and “important-feeling”.
What are the three most important things you learned from this internship experience?
Also a difficult question! Don’t feel like you have to always stick to a particular subject matter! Prior to this internship, I had always had the idea that in order to someday create the illustrations that grace children’s books and magazines, I had to be making child-friendly artwork. Since starting, I’ve definitely pushed myself a lot more in having more fun, being a little more daring, and not pigeon-holing my work.
Don’t underestimate yourself! When applying, I was feeling a little insecure about whether I was good enough, or ‘ready’, to take on such a cool, huge job. Other students and friends of mine had already done the internship and made AWESOME work for it. If solely anything, this experience has been a direct validation of ‘YES, Courtney, you do have what it takes to get a position like this’.
There’s a saying from one of my favorite artist’s that is “It’s good to remember- You are only as good as your last piece, even if you have a job.” Since starting this internship, I’ve had that tacked up on my wall and reflect on it when I go into each week’s new Dig illustration. As far as I know, even if my piece for the next week is only subpar to the week’s before, it’ll still run, and I’ll still be making the following week’s. But that isn’t an excuse, and I shouldn’t be willing to take subpar when I know I’m capable of better. This experience has taught me harder perseverance, and that it’s through my own self-determination that I can keep making better and better work.
How did your training as an AIB Illustration Major best prepare you for this job?
My training as an AIB Illustration Major has made the expectations and execution of my weekly intern work so much more of a breeze. Like in most any illustration course at school, I receive my “assignment”, or rather, the text of the article, each week, which I read through several times to get a feel for the mood of the text and the important key elements. I create some sketches, which I e-mail back to Scott, who will e-mail me back with his selection and any changes I should make, much like thumbnail or comp critiques in class. I work up a finish by Monday which I send back on over, and I’ll usually get a final critique and edit points to make, like a final crit in class. I make the changes, finalize the image, and its printed Tuesday to be distributed in the new issue of Dig Boston on Wednesday morning.
As a student how did you balance your internship with your academic responsibilities?
So far, I’ve been balancing everything relatively well. Earlier in the semester, I made the choice to drop an elective course that, although seemed promising in being great course content, I knew would ultimately demand a lot of time that I wanted to have to dedicate to my internship so as to have more time and energy to fully dedicate to my weekly Dig project. I also opted to take a January semester course to free up my spring semester course workload. Because of how my schedule’s set up, time management has been relatively stress-free, and I’ve been able to keep on top of my schoolwork without any major hiccups. It’s been important to me to not only be able to keep up on my course work, but also to put the greatest amount of effort I can into my work for Dig, because aside from being a valuable learning experience, I’m also getting published work for my portfolio.
How did you feel knowing your illustrations were being published and seen by thousands of people in the metro-Boston area?
I have to admit, I kind of feel like a rock star ever Wednesday now. Even though it’s a small illustration that most people flipping through the pages will probably just breeze over, I can’t help but feel a little giddy and red in the face whenever I’m in public and I see someone carrying around the latest issue of Dig. My brain is yelling out, “Hey, YOU, person! Did you know that I drew a picture in that paper you’re using to wipe up your spilled coffee?? PRETTY COOL, HUH??!?”
What was the strangest Oh Cruel World article you illustrated?
and… Did you do illustrations for articles that never went to print?
The strangest so far has been making the Tween Theater, where the writer had been fed up with annoying 12-year-olds disturbing his tranquil movie-going experience. Scott let me go to town with an absurdly saturated color palette, rainbows, and weird tween regalia. That piece also called for a lot of time trolling Tiger Beat and J-14 magazines’ websites and magazine racks. All in the name of good illustration research!
What was it like working with Art Director, Scott Murray?
Scott has been an incredible art director! He allows for so much freedom in each article’s interpretation, as well as well-guided critiques and feedback on each step of the process. One thing that’s really awesome and valuable to me is that rather than just picking a sketch he thinks works best, he takes the time to really give me feedback on each of my initial sketches, pointing out what’s working well or not. His final critiques are crucial to my better understanding working in print-media, especially in a smaller size for the OCW column. Not to mention, he’s just a real cool guy!