What is your educational background? How did you get interested in graphic design?
Art has always been a part of my life. After leaving my home city of Miami at 18, I pursued an Industrial Design degree and a minor in graphic design at the Cleveland Institute of Art. My focus there was Toy Design though. I loved the bright colors and graphics and endless possibilities of fun drawing. I always liked illustration and experimented with cute type of characters throughout my carrier. I really taught myself to use Adobe Illustrator to bring my sketches to life in bright, bold images.
Tell us about designing toys? How did you end up with such a dream job?
I was offered an internship during college at Fisher Price as a toy designer and I was sold! After college I became a toy designer for an inventing firm called the Obb in Englewood NJ. After about a year and half I became very homesick and decided to come back home to Miami. I then worked as an illustrator for a company for about 4 years and then I decided to open up my own business offering toy design and illustrations. So I have been a LLC company for about 5 years since then. I have incredible clients from all over the world and I feel spoiled and blessed at times--I get paid to basically play! Designing toys is very fulfilling.
I must admit, I am not a "party expert" per say. I recently started to wonder in this field. I love paper crafting and creating cute graphics and party kits tend to lend themselves to have endless paper crafting opportunities. I really could not resist joining the current trend of party printables. I think I can contribute lots of fun themes/graphics with unique paper crafting templates-that's my strength. What inspires me is usually is an illustration style I would like to explore. I like to experiment with different illustration styles, I don't like sticking to one style. Some days I feel like doing an all out Kawaii look, on other days the look may be more modern , it all depends on the type of illustration style I want take a crack at!
What, who inspires you as a designer?
Walking through the greeting cards section in Target is my joy! There are so many wonderful styles illustrated on today's greeting cards that I am quite inspired when I see them. The greeting card section at Target feels like a gallery show to me---I am such a nerd! But I don't believe in copying--it takes a lot of work for designers to come up with images that bring emotion to someone looking at their images. Images already created should inspire one to desire to make their own and bring that level of emotion you just felt by someone else's work into your own :) I also love the following illustrators:http://www.greenbeanart.com/,http://www.fulanita.com/,http://www.worldofwassco.com/index.cfm.
What is you favorite childhood birthday (holiday) memory?
It has to be my mom's paper crafts. My mom would make our parties and she loved crepe paper-I can honestly still hear the sound that paper made as she worked late at night crafting our party items. She would make paper hats for everyone with lots of glitter--maybe that's where I get it from!
What are you working on next?
I am catching up with work at the moment and doing some very secret Kawaii projects! For PaperGlitter I am working on adding new items in the near future including some boy items.
Are you okay with people using your downloads for their digital scrapbooks?
Sure! I actually encourage it. I sell collage sheets and am planning to add more as well. As long as they print cut and play I don't have a problem with it :)
Favorite sweet treat?
I LOVE mcdonalds caramel sundae with one of their apple pies smooshed inside the sundae itself--so gross and bad for you--yet so good!
What have you designed that you are most proud of? (toy or download)
For a toy-it would have to be this My Little Pony Ponyville Boutique. It was one of those projects I knew it would work well before even drawing the first line on paper. I was given the assignment and within moments I had it carved out in my mind. For my downloadable PDF's, it would have to be my sweet paper dolls. I thought not only as an illustrator while designing them but also as a toy designer. I wanted to make sure they were easy to cut and I wanted the accessories to hang really well on the dolls.
Outside of design what do you do for fun?
I read blogs and craft magazines like crazy-these are my simple pleasures. I also like to go window shopping. I recently have had an interest in baking.