Your Questions Answered! – About My Work

So my little Q&A last week didn’t go exactly as planned, haha. I got a lot more requests for types of posts instead of actual questions. But that’s okay! I’m gonna run with it! Most of the open-ended inquiries dealt with sharing more about my gear, workflow, and tips for freelancing. Obviously this is a lot to cover in one entry, so I’ll gradually start incorporating these types posts into my monthly lineups. For now, I thought I would start with a highlight of my tools and few details about my work.


Tools of the trade

Macbook Pro, Wacom Intuos 3 tablet, Micron pens and black pigment liners, drafting pencil, sketchbook, tracing paper, Epson scanner, Canon iX6500 printer, Adobe Creative Suite CS5 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)


I’ve been designing professionally since age 16 when I created my first client commissioned logo and Myspace layout. Before then, I was playing around with graphic design as early as 12-years-old, customizing my Neopets shop, and later developing websites for my pixel-dolling and Livejournals (yeah, that long ago). Most of my early design work was centered on Myspace layouts, but I also created logos, t-shirt designs, album art, flyers, and other websites. I started successfully freelancing at a really early age, so I’ve never had a “real” job in my life. Currently, I’m studying for a BA in Graphic Design at San Diego State, and that has sparked my interest in packaging design and branding development.


I start most my projects by brainstorming ideas on sketchpaper and browsing for inspiration (particularly on sites like Dribbble and Designspiration). A lot of my work utilizes hand-drawn organic styles, so I often draw my elements on paper first, scan them in, and redraw them using my tablet in Illustrator. If I’m working on a design that is primarily vector-based, I’ll use Illustrator as my main program; for photo- and texture-heavy designs, I use Photoshop; and for text-dominant projects, I work from InDesign.


Tools of the trade

Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4.0, Cybersyncs, AlienBees strobe flash units, large soft box and beauty dish from Paul C. Buff, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Bridge Camera Raw, VSCO film


I also became interested in photography at a really early age. I used my dad’s Nikon Coolpix 5700 to take pictures of our dogs, flowers in the yard, and interesting things I’d find on our family trips. I started posting my photos to deviantART in 2004 and that’s when I really became interested in pursuing the art and improving my skills. I started out as a self-portrait photographer, constantly coming up with creative ideas to practice with. Later, I worked primarily as a music photographer for about 4 years, taking promotional photos of bands. Now I’ve recently entered the world of wedding and engagement photography, and I love capturing people in love. :)


For both my personal and commissioned shoots, I start by brainstorming themes and locations. I try not to limit my creative flow with too many ideas, so I’ll usually form a general idea of what I’m trying to create then let the rest happen naturally during the shoot. I used to do a lot of strobe work, but now I’ve come to love natural lighting and don’t often shoot with studio lighting anymore. After the shoot, I load all my images into Bridge and start deleting the bad ones and marking the good ones. I do most of my post-processing in Camera Raw for exposure and color adjustments, then bring the image into Photoshop for a more detailed edit (removing blemishes, smoothing skin tones, and a few more color adjustments).


Hope this has been somewhat helpful and/or remotely interesting! I’ll start doing a few more informational posts like this where I talk more in depth about my processes, my inspirations, and tips I’ve learned along the way as a freelancer. Feel free to ask if you ever have anything specific you’d like me to cover!

7 comments on “Your Questions Answered! – About My Work

  1. I always love hearing when other designers got their starts on Neopets too! When I was 13 I used to design characters for all my pets and make pages for their stories, and later I was completely obsessed with making user lookups. I had one of those petpages with a bunch of premade layouts on them that you could grab code from.

    Thanks a bunch for sharing your photo setup – I’m in the market to replace my ancient Rebel XT now that I’m done with my degree and have some more time to dedicate to photography. It sounds like a really good mix of equipment.

    • Haha, I would love to know how many graphic designers of our generation started out on Neopets. ;)

      Yeah, if you’re looking for a new camera set up and don’t want to go all the way with the Mark III, the 7D and Mark II are also great options. Annnndd I ALWAYS recommend the 50mm.

  2. haha.. dont feel bad web design & graphic design started for me by making pages dedicated solely to nsync haha.

    glad to see what kind of camera gear to use. its so hard to decided what to buy when your just starting out.

    • Haha, that’s pretty bad. Can’t say I ever designed for 90s boybands. But I did have a pretty hardcore obsession with My Chemical Romance and created a fan website for other fangirls to congregate, haha.

  3. I’d be interested in some of the settings you use for your tablet when you’re in PS or AI. I remember seeing a video or two of you taking photography, I think one was with a point and shoot, and I understand that time isn’t always abundant but I’d be really into a video of watching you create something. Even if it’s just a video of your computer screen or something, I’m fascinated by how other people arrange their work.

    Real nice post as usual.

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