Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PM Masters: Marisa Seguin

My dear friends, today I start another series and this one is interviews called PM Masters. These interviews are very exciting because they will offer an insight into what artists, designer, travelers and people from different walks of life like and do. 

Today I'd like to introduce you to Marisa Seguin and very talented illustrator who lives mostly in Milwaukee and sometimes Vancouver.

How did you get started in your career?
I was lucky to get a lot of good reception to my work on blogs. People responded really positively to my Here & There series and pretty soon I was getting some freelance offers. I'm also really lucky to have a creative day-job to support me so that I have a lot of freedom when it comes to my own illustration.

What are your sources of inspiration?
I would say that the majority of my inspiration can be lumped into the vintage children's book and travel illustration category. Miroslav Sasek's This Is series, David Klein's travel posters for TWA, and anything Mary Blair (but really, who doesn't love her?) just to name a few. I am a complete blog fiend and Pinterest addict, so I am constantly finding inspiration through these. Where the Lovely Things Are, Pikaland, and Design Work Life are a few of my favourite blogs that often feature fantastic work that jives with my taste.

Where do you work and how do you get organized around it?
I'm can usually be found at my worktable or camped out on the couch with a tv table. I still work on the same Macbook Pro I had in college, so it's nice and portable, although I'm working on saving up for a desktop computer so I can work on a larger screen. There isn't a lot to organize for me, really. As long as I have my computer and my Wacom tablet, I'm good to go!

Which is your favorite collection/project/product that you have designed? Which collection/project/product out there you wish you would have designed?
I'm really proud of my Here & There series. It was created as my senior thesis and combined everything I love to research and illustrate into one project. It was such a blast to work on and also left the door wide open for continuation after college. There are so many more cities I'd love to create maps for! As far as a project that I wish I had designed (such a good question!) I'm currently obsessed with the This Is Paris book I just purchased. I've been a big fan of M. Sasek's This Is series for a number of years now and decided that it was about time I bought one so that I can drool over an actual book instead of my screen. The books pretty much perfectly articulate everything I want to make and definitely go on the “I wish I had made that” list. I am thoroughly enamored with the minimal page layouts and spot-on illustrations as well as the quirky narrative. It's one of those books that caused me to exclaim frequently in frustration/adoration because I really just could not get over how much I loved this book and these illustrations.

What other profession you would like to have besides yours?
I love to bake and cook so I think something in the culinary realm would be my next choice if I wasn't illustrating. I also love the ocean and think a marine biologist would be a rad profession.  

What are you listening to these days?
I like to listen to a lot of podcasts and radio shows while I work. Q is one of my favourites—Jian Ghomeshi, the host, just asks such great interview questions. A total pro. I also recently devoured all of the episodes of 99% Invisible, a short radio show about the aspects of design that frequently go unnoticed. My friend Jade also recently got me into Radiolab. When I don't feeling like listening to people talking, sometimes I'll put on a movie soundtrack (Batman Begins, Howl's Movie Castle, and Amelie are a few of my favourites).

When you travel what are the essential items you take with you?
Camera, small sketchbook, pen, and good walking shoes. I love to explore on foot.­

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Mayne Island, British Columbia is my favorite place in the world. I grew up in the Vancouver area and a friend of the family has a cabin right on the water there. The beach in front of the cabin isn't sandy but covered in hundreds of thousands of rocks—from small pebbles that have been worn smooth by the tide to large crater-faced rocks that have been carved out by the water. When I was a kid, I would spend every waking minute on the beach when we visited during the summer. At low-tide, my sister and I would walk around looking at the dozens of pink and purple starfish. Mid-day, we'd poke around tide pools and flip over rocks to watch the little crabs scuttle away. Occasionally, a jellyfish would wash up on shore. At high-tide, we'd wade around knee-deep in the ocean and catch fish in buckets. Then at night, it is far enough away from the city lights that you can see the Milky Way. 

What is the best business advice you can give someone?
Some illustration-specific advice would be to communicate your ideas as clearly as possible up front. A lot of the clientele you might be working with might not be as visually/creatively oriented as you are so things that might seem obvious to an artist might not be so obvious to someone without a creative background. From thorough preliminary sketches to clearly laid out contracts, it will just make your life and your relationship with the client a much more pleasant experience (hopefully). Also, don't be too nice. Unfortunately, there are many people who underestimate the amount of time and effort that go into a creative business. Don't sell yourself short! 

What does the future hold for your business? Any plans?
I plan on expanding my Here & There series. There are a bunch of cities I have on my list—Chicago, London, Tokyo, New York, Barcelona. I really could go on and on. There are also a few dream publications I'd love to freelance for. Essentially, if I can draw food, flowers, and faraway places, then I am a happy illustrator.

Thanks so much to Elie for having me on her lovely blog! I hope that you had fun reading and if you'd like to connect you can find me on twitter or my blog!