I have been a full-time, professional graphic designer for three years. It feels so much longer than that - and I guess if you count my college years, I've been a designer for seven years. But, being an artist is something that I've been for as long as I can remember. I always wanted to go to arts-and-crafts multiple times a day at summer camp. It was in high school that my dad tipped me off to the idea of becoming a graphic designer.
Now, here I am, 24 years old and I'm a self-employed graphic designer!
Over the last few years, I've been incredibly blessed to work with some really awesome people. I really can't believe some of the projects that I've gotten to work on.
But now, I'm trying to do a project of my own.
I am nine days away from the end of our #FranktheChair Children's Book Kickstarter. As I'm writing this, we have raised $1,525 towards our goal of $3,000. Why are we doing a Kickstarter? Frankly, because it's expensive to get a children's book illustrated. :-) But, #FranktheChair has grown fans over the past year, and we thought they might want to have a part in the "building" of the book!
Over the last few weeks, I've been asked two questions:
#FranktheChair started last year as a fun photography project. I've done several personal design projects, but hadn't done a photography one. I didn't want to take a picture every day or take pictures of strangers. Thus, #FranktheChair was born. He goes on adventures, defying the odds of what a normal chair does.
And yes, we do get lots of strange looks and questions when we take #FranktheChair out in public. We're used to it by now.
Why a children's book?
We unexpectedly lost my mom in a car wreck two weeks before Christmas this past year. It's (obviously) been a really tough few months trying to deal with the loss. I've read books and articles on dealing with loss - but there's one thing I read that stood out to me:
"But we will be okay, because we have to be. Our lives continue without them. As hard and as heart breaking as it is, we don’t have a choice. Our parents did everything they could to prepare us for being on our own. Not just living in a different home or city, but living when they no longer are. Doing life the way they prepared us to. And as long as we feel like they’d be proud of us, then we’re doing it right."
One of the things my mom and I had in common was we both love what we do. I work long hours because designing doesn't feel like work. My mom would do whatever she could to get the best books for her library and the students. Growing up, I would spend time in the library with her after school until she was finished for the day. I remember how particular she was in making the barcodes on each book perfect (that must be where my perfectionism comes from).
Creating a children's book is the best way for me to use my skills to honor my mom's legacy.
Also, she enjoyed #FranktheChair. A year ago, my car was broken into at our apartment complex. Oddly, nothing was stolen. I remember texting my mom and telling her about it, and I told her that they probably thought I was a weirdo for having a green chair in my backseat. Her response, "Frank must be traumatized!" My dad and her were supposed to come visit me last summer to see our new house and help us paint. When their flights got delayed and cancelled, she said, "Tell Frank I'm sorry." My mom grew up and loved Kansas, that's why #FranktheChair's book is about his adventure to Kansas.
Last week, someone asked me what I miss about her most right now. Other than just the obvious of missing her as a whole, I miss not being able to tell her about this. I wish I could send her the story to proof before we publish.
I think she would be proud of me for doing this project.