Andy Zubko ’04 shares his tale of creative networking, which in this case, led to a job offer.
A note from Bob Hochgertel, chair of the illustration department: “Andy was always a great student. It was in my senior studio class that he began solving his illustration projects with dimensional work. He has remained in touch with me and other illustration faculty since graduation and we were all excited to see his dimensional “Uncle Sam” in the Wall Street Journal about a year ago. And now he has created this opportunity for himself. Andy is a great example of ‘you get from it what you put into it.’ The college experience is brief, but you should never stop seeking and listening to feedback. You need to keep learning, adapting and growing as an artist.”
Click here to see Andy’s work on Andrew Zubko Illustration and Design.
In his own words, here's Andy's amazing story of creative networking:
I was at work today thinking about the story of how I got my job and how it might be something worth sharing with the students and faculty at PCA&D.
Back in October 2010, I decided to attend an AIGA Portfolio Day event. It was mainly for graphic designers, but I emailed the contact on the Web site and explained that I am an illustrator but interested in attending and wondered if the event would be of benefit to me. Of course, she said it would.
I went and was the only illustrator there, which was a good thing because I stood out. I made a sign out of the sculpted letters that I made for my Web header, which attracted a lot of attention. I received a lot of helpful tips about my portfolio and presentation.
"Zombie Baker," 2010, by Andrew Zubko '04
Once piece of advice I received was to have little, printed booklets of my work and use those instead of 4” x 6” postcards. This came from an art director that told me that almost no one ever pays attention to postcards anymore. She told me, "If you are printing postcards and using them for promotion, you are wasting your time and money." Now, I realize this is just one perspective, but if one art director thinks this way, more probably do as well. I took their advice and I made little mini-portfolio books to send out using an online service.
The single best piece of advice came from a graphic arts instructor from a college in Portland. She asked me if I have ever submitted material to Laika. I told her I had been submitting work every couple months or so to their Website. She said, "No, no, no, never submit anything to a Web site if you can help it. What you do is you go there, hand deliver your work samples and a way for them to remember you - maybe bring them lunch! They would never forget you if you walked in there with five bagged lunches for them to eat!"
I thought about this all evening - I didn't want to bring them bagged lunches because you never know what people like for lunch. Then I thought maybe pizza, because everyone likes pizza, right? But the idea I ultimately went with was doughnuts. We have a great doughnut place in Portland called Voodoo Doughnuts that everyone loves.
So, for my submission package to Laika, I had my portfolio booklet, business cards, a resume and cover letter and a dozen Voodoo doughnuts. To top it off I sculpted a little character of a zombie baker, holding a tiny replica of the exact box of doughnuts only this had a brain in it. See my zombie baker, pictured above.
I also included a little booklet of sketches I did of the character before sculpting him.
The submissions got their attention. Actually, it worked so well that although they didn't have an open creative position, they found a full-time position for me. They called me a couple days after my visit to say they looked over my resume and materials and thought I would be a good fit for the Face Librarian (or Face Wrangler,* whichever you prefer) position. My initial intent was just to submit my work with hopes that someday they may hire me for a freelance job, and ended up being hired full-time.
[* -- A "Face Wrangler" is the person that stores, indexes, collects, and has at the ready, the various heads or faces used in a stop-motion production. In a stop-motion production the character's figures are built on movable armatures, but the faces are usually finely crafted, static sculptures that have a certain expression. A single character may have dozens, even hundreds, of different heads and faces to allow for talking, change of expression, laughing, etc. Each head changes the expression slightly, a single frame is taken, the head is changed, another frame is taken, and so on.]
So, I wanted to share the story with all of you simply so you can pass along that going to things like portfolio reviews and graphic arts events can be one of the best things you can do - even years after graduating. Also, pay attention to all advice given about your work - especially if it's coming from professionals. Yes, the reviewer's idea of bringing lunch or other food along with my work samples seemed a little strange to me at first, but I figured, what have I got to lose?
And it totally worked.