Jennifer Cirpici is a budding young designer who has already made a name for herself in her home market working for the largest digital production agency in the Netherlands. Although she never finished Design School she was still able to get a great job through hard work and persistence. Jennifer is first hand proof that hard work can definitely get you places in the design world. In our interview we talk a little about Jennifer's duties at her job and about some of her illustrations. So lets get into another great interview with a talented designer.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?
My name is Jennifer, I recently turned 20 in July and I live in a small country called The Netherlands. I started digital art when I was around 13-14 years old because I saw a lot of ''signatures'' which were images commonly used on forums, and wanted to make it too. Very original, haha.
Like most artists, I was very creative when I was a child too! I remember one day I finger painted using different sauces I found in the kitchen on the just newly painted white wall in the living room, because it looked so dull and boring.
When I just turned 18, I went to a Graphic design school and from that point of on I worked with design programs nonstop, almost every hour of the day till now (except for the weekend of course!). Taking criticism, working all night long on projects and observing and learning from others.
QYou are currently working at MediaMonks which is the largest digital production agency in the Netherlands, give us a little insight into your role at that company.
I'm a designer at Mediamonk and I work mostly with the program I love the most: Adobe Photoshop. Manipulating and digital painting combined and so far, although I haven't been working there long, I had a couple of big clients and fun projects to do!
At Mediamonks you'll be working with several people on one project. You combine your skills with someone else’s and together you're making something that will surprise the client.
QHow do you apply your skills in Photoshop to your current job?
As I said before, you hardly ever work alone on a project. For the client we're working on now we have an Illustrator: Julian Burford who makes the sketches and the illustrations.
Then, the Photoshoppers, like me, will make it look realistic by adding details, shadow, lighting, textures etc. But the whole project all depends on what the client wants of course, that is why we always need to ask for feedback and show what we've been working on to our clients and our Creative Directors. Are we on the right track? Or could the shading be better? Sometimes you keep getting rejections on your work because it's not what the client or the Creative Director wants, and that you have to take, appreciate, think about it and make it better. So far, after their feedback, the end result always becomes better!
QWhat would your advice be to the younger designers who are contemplating whether to go to school for design or go independent like you did?
You don't need to have a diploma for creativity, but it makes life easier if you have one. It gives you security and something to be proud of. I myself didn’t finish school because of some problems I had at my graphic design school.
But then Mediamonks came. They saw my portfolio, emailed me and asked me if I wanted to work there as an intern, but since I didn't finish my school that wouldn't be possible. So I asked if I could work there. To be honest I didn't care how much money I could make with it. All I really wanted is the experience to learn things and to communicate with other designers. Even if it was only a summer job and even if I didn't get paid at all, it was my deepest wish to work in a design company and doing the thing I love to do. I'm the youngest and the only girl there, but I enjoy it a lot.
QWhat would you say is the most important lesson you have learned since you started designing? And how have you applied what you learned to your art or everyday life?
The most important lesson I learned is to never give up, whenever you have an art block or when you have an hard time at school. To reach your goals in life you need to pass a lot of obstacles. The road may be long or short, but if you give up you know for sure that you'll never reach it.
Q"Dance With the Devil" is a very strong illustration with an equally intense message. Please walk us through the process of creating this stunning piece.
I made Dance With the Devil with Berthjan Achterop. It's about people who pay thousands of dollars every year for cosmetics (represented by the devil/man in this picture) to look young and fresh... This shows the pressure of our society to stay young.
Berthjan and I always wanted to make a collaboration. But we both didn't really have the time to start because we were busy with work and school. So I asked him if he had a piece he didn't finish yet. He did a collaboration with someone else and it wasn't finished so I could finish it.
We worked both very hard on it in Photoshop, giving each other ideas and asked others for feedback as well (because with only 2 eyes and one mind you don't always see and think about everything). We also used our wacoms and painted stuff in it like the rain, we really wanted to make a dramatic piece to fit the concept.
Here is a small case study of how we worked together. We're happy about the outcome and learned a lot from each other!
QWhat do you see yourself doing with your design career in the upcoming years? And are you working on any new projects that you would like to discuss?
Creating, learning from others and communicating. I'm also thinking of learning animation. But I will always strive for something higher. I'll never stop at one goal; I just enjoy pushing myself slowly forward. I just turned 20, so I have a long way to go and a lot to learn!
Besides my work at Mediamonks, I have a few interesting projects on my own, but I cannot talk about them, haha. You’ll just have to wait and see! One thing for sure is that it will be a completely new piece of work because I never get stuck on one style, at this age I try to experiment as much as possible.
Q Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Always strive for your goals and don't let anyone take them away from you ;)