Friend Friday: Interview with Travel Write Draw



Today’s Friend Friday is a little different. At the end of December I interviewed another beautiful and talented Canadian, blogger Meagan from Travel Write Draw. You may remember when I participated in her blog project Illustrators Drawing Illustrators earlier this month. I first came across her blog through the Sea of Shoes Spring Fashion Art Contest, I am so glad I popped over to say hello because she has become a truly fabulous blogger friend of mine and it has become a real joy to get to know her, through this interview, twittering, emailing and through reading her lovely blog! :)
Meagan is currently in her last semester studying Fashion Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
FIT has been one of the universities I’ve been looking at for a while now. It seems like more of an affordable option for my price bracket and has a fantastic reputation of turning out incredible talent. So, Meagan and I set up a date to IM and chat about her university, the city life and her dreams for the future!
In fact, we got so carried away, I had only asked her a couple of questions in the hour or so that we were IMing! I left her the rest to fill in in her own time and here we have the results! And I can tell you it was an absolute joy to read this, I hope this inspires someone else out there too! After our lovely chat, I felt so inspired by what she had said, her story and her words of encouragement have given me the drive to carry on in the path I’m creating, so I thought I would surprise her with a drawing. I know her college friend Jimmy drew this for the Illustrators Drawing Illustrators Project and Veronika also illustrated another photo from Meagan’s original post. I thought I’d go with the smiley photo! I really love smiley photos at the moment, I can’t get enough of them. I was thinking that I should do a smiley sketchbook, what do you think?? They do say that a smile is infectious afterall! ;)

Anyway,  I hope you enjoy reading the interview. She is a really awesome girl, I promise you! So make yourself a cup of tea, get comfortable and please do read on!



The Interview:
The Facts:
Name: Meagan Morrison
Age: 25
Hometown/Country: Toronto, Canada
Currently Residing: Manhattan, New York City
Prior Degrees: A Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal
Course Currently Studying: Fashion Illustration at FIT



The Questions:
What made you choose FIT, did you apply to other colleges?
Yes, most definitely, but I would say that first and foremost it had the program that fit me best. No other school offered fashion illustration and on top of that they offered illustration in a four year program. I already did my undergrad and really wanted to do something specialized for two years or less.

So, FIT was the right fit then? LOL
I know LOL it was meant to be. I also wanted to live in New York since I was 15 or so, maybe even younger, so I was really only looking there and I had to pay for my tuition so it had to be feasible.

Why did you choose to study a fashion program?
What first inspired you/got you interested in Fashion Illustration?
I guess I would say from a very, very young age fashion and art have been my two greatest loves. I was always the girl in school who really liked to dress up and play with fashion. I really had no idea they could coexist, I just didn’t think there was anything that would combine the two.


Or for it to be an actual job? :P
Yes totally. After I graduated from McGill I started this big quest to find out where I belonged. I knew what I loved, fashion and art, but didn’t know how to bring them together. My first job out of my undergrad was working as a fashion editorial intern at FASHION magazine, here in Toronto. (Which you can read about here)
I saw the ins and outs of a fashion magazine, the styling, the art direction, going to shoots, steaming the clothes, dressing the models, going to cool locations to shoot. Fashion and art were still separate though, in two separate departments. Obviously they work together, but its predominantly graphic in the art departments, any sort of illustration is used as a one off. Even when I was applying for that internship I had no idea whether I should be in the art or fashion department, I wanted them both, that was the first big clue.


What has been your standout Highlight and Lowlight during your time at college?
I think the highlight was probably this past fall semester when my professor and Dior Beauty’s artist in residence, Bil Donovan, left a compliment on my blog. There is nothing more encouraging than having someone you so deeply admire acknowledge your growth and potential. He was my interviewer when I applied to FIT. I remember him saying the day we first met that he could see how badly I wanted this, that the school needed more earnest and sincere people like me. I was literally doing cartwheels after that interview, and now here I am about to finish.

The lowlight for me was probably my first semester being in the general illustration block. I went from working with adults for a designer in Toronto, making my own way, to suddenly being the oldest student in my block surrounded by high school students. I made a very genuine connection with two students in my class though which helped a lot. We had similar interests in fashion and lifestyle. By the time semester rolled around I was used to being in school again. Also I was finally studying what I came to the school for, fashion illustration.


Which piece of work are you most proud of since you’ve been at FIT and why?
Hmm this is such a great question and so hard to narrow down. I say that because whether my work in some instances was really strong or really weak, it still represented a change in my thinking, a milestone in my creative growth. A class drawing that may have taken 20 minutes to produce might have altered entirely the way I see shape, colour, or negative and positive space. That sort of learning is invaluable, to see something in a completely different light. All that aside, there is one piece that REALLY resonates with me. It’s a 20×30 acrylic painting titled “Doll Factory”. The painting was both physically and mentally exhausting to produce. It was done for our colour theory class second semester. I had to use a torn magazine reference from a box and bring it to life. It took three layers of paint, various crying fits, and a month long journey to produce. What’s worse is that we submitted it past final review, so after all that hard work, I didn’t think anyone would even see it. When I came back for my final year it was hanging in the glass cabinet at school and that’s when, to answer you question, I felt most proud since being at FIT.



 



Tell me your average day at college…
Get up at 7AM, grab a coffee and walk on 7th Avenue to school. The walk is awesome because it’s only 20 mins but great for clearing your head. Classes start usually at 9AM. I settle in and we do warm ups, drawing the model. We have a 15 min break half-way and either do longer poses or work on a project afterwards. Then it’s 1-2 hour break for lunch and either one or two more classes in the afternoon following the same pattern. I get home between 6-8PM and work on projects and my blog until bedtime. Some days I model at FIT for fashion classes, so I literally go from 8AM to 8PM at school.
(You should also read Meagan’s post “A Day with Me at FIT” for more!)


Do you think being an older student is an advantage to others coming straight out of school?
YES, because usually you’ve done a lot of soul searching and have a better sense of what you want out of it. The more life experience, the more you have to pull from for inspiration. It took two years for me to discover fashion illustration as my calling between McGill and FIT. I tried out every possibly job in fashion from styling, to PR, to sales rep. I saw all angles of the industry really. What I wanted more than anything was to find a way to combine my passion of art and illustration. Had I not worked before school I would have never know what it was I wanted.


Did you find it easy to adjust to student life in New York?
Yes I did actually because I was used to living on my own between Montreal and Toronto. Furthermore, I already had a lot of friends in New York who I had met at McGill. Moving to New York felt like the most natural progression for my career and for me.

 

 

What other things do you do in your spare time from college?
First and foremost I take advantage of living in New York. I do a lot of wandering when I can. I love going to the museums and art galleries. When I lived on the Upper Eastside I was a stone’s throw from the MET. I used to walk there every Saturday or Sunday, sit on the steps, listen to music, drink a coffee and read. There is an incredible pulse in New York like no other city. It’s one of those places where you could literally sit for hours and just stare at people passing by. Now that I live in the West Village I love sitting at the boardwalk by the Hudson River, watching the sunset, the runners, all the little puppies. It’s good for your soul.



What do you love about New York the most?
 

 

 

 

 

 

Any amazing gems you want to share, such as favourite shops, coffee shops,restaurants or a

avourite place for inspiration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh gosh, this question is quite literally another interview in itself! I did a postcard from the West Village, my current neighbourhood, on my blog. In that post I photographed and gave the address to all my favourite treasures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(You can read Meagan’s Guide to the West Village here)

 

Definitely don’t have one favourite place [for inspiration]. There are almost too many places for inspiration in New York. I love China Town or St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. I adore Union Square with all the market stands. There are so many different New Yorks, in New York, if that makes sense! The feeling of the city can change from one block to the next. I mostly love just people watching, seeing what they’re wearing. Inspiration can strike you anywhere at any given moment, just by being out there.


 

 

Where did you find you made the best friends. In or out of the classroom?
Definitely in. You spend all of your time with these people and you’re all going through the rigorous curriculum together. Only your peers can understand the workload, certain teacher’s expectations or dynamics with the students. It’s special to feel a part of something like this. However, my closest friendships in New York are with the people I met years ago at McGill.  We are all the same age and met when we were 18. Those years were so important in my development as a person.




 

 

Out of your personal experience, what are the main things you have learnt from your course, your peers, your tutors and living away from home?
I would say the number one important thing I’ve learnt from all of these aspects is to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Everyday you’re going to be faced with some of the most talented, ambitious, competitive and fortunate individuals in the world. You have to remember what you came there for and never lose sight of that otherwise the city will eat you up. New York really takes no prisoners. No one is going to baby you because everyone is out there to make it. At the end of the day it all comes down to you, your dreams, your strength, your vision.


How has your personal style changed  since you started college? Have you changed your views on anything?
I think it has changed in the way I see myself. I feel like an artist now. Before I came to FIT I felt sort of like an imposter. I was very involved in the arts during high school but then between McGill and working I never had time for it. Now, I see myself as an artist with a commerce degree and a gigantic appetite for success!


What are the main Pros and Cons about FIT?
Pros:
+Amazing teachers, working in the field, who care considerably about their students.
+Affordable tuition (relative to other NY tuitions).
+Incredible library and reference material.
+Love their computer lab software.

Cons:
+The buildings are very old and not pleasant to look at. Feels like a bit of an eyesore in Chelsea.
+The block system they have in place, in order to ensure enough classroom space per student, can be very frustrating and limiting.


How many assignments do you get from college per semester?
Well, usually you have about 8 classes a semester and the main block courses give you anywhere from two to four major projects a semester. Just depends on the weight of the course, credit wise. The teachers tend to talk amongst each other and get sense for when our block is overwhelmed though which is nice.


 

 

 


Have you got a favourite song that helps you get into “the zone” whilst drawing/doing homework?
Pandora Hedkandi music station on my macbook all the way! lol
Nothing like chill house music to get me in the mood for creating. Funny you should ask this because I’m a BIG music lover. I’m almost always listening to music.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five years I want to be incorporated with my own lifestyle brand, combining my illustrations with designs. I want to be travelling considerably for inspiration, doing freelance editorial work and well on my way into a successful illustration career. I can see myself either still living in New York, or London, maybe even Paris. I think they are the major city players when it comes to fashion. Hopefully I will be a little more settled in my personal life too.


Do you have advice for anyone considering applying to FIT?
Be true to yourself, be open and be positive. Ambition goes a long way, but sincerity takes you even further. Never be discouraged and keep your vision in mind always. You are the only person who can stand in your way, so let yourself succeed.





I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did putting it all together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meagan is a really special gem of a blogger, so genuine and kind-hearted. Thank you ever so much for letting me interview you and thank you for inspiring me to keep carrying on! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lots of Love



 

 

All photos are by Meagan Morrison with the exception of the MET photo via wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Friend Friday: Interview with Travel Write Draw”
  1. Flara says:

    wow great interview, drawings and photos:)). I found your blog today and loved it immediately!!! you doing a phenomenal job, and btw – I love “Travel Write Draw” too:) xooxoxo
    Flara

    • thejerseygem says:

      Aw thank you Flara, that means so much to me, really it does!! I’m so glad you found me too :)
      Meagan from Travel Write Draw is such an amazing person how could you not love her!! :) xoxo

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