Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Wendy Ding

You know when you were little and you had that friend that was amazing at drawing and could whip off unicorns and rainbows off the top of her head, while you made sad attempts? Wendy Ding is the girl who can draw anything. She's a Toronto-based Freelance Illustrator and also our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week!

What made you choose a career in art?

I've always loved it since I was little and feel it's the best way to contribute myself to the world.

How did you get your start as an illustrator and what drew you to fashion?

Illustration like most creative fields is one that you can self-start as long as you have a solid portfolio and can deliver the goods. I thought about the companies I most wanted to work with and made efforts to get them to see my work. My first client was Owlkids, a Canadian children's publishing company. I did my co-op term back in college with them.

Growing up, I was glued to Fashion Television every Saturday to see Jeanne Beker's weekly adventures in style. That's how I first fell in love with fashion.

What types of jobs do you get hired for?

Freelance-wise I've done fashion illustration, children's book and magazine illustration, storyboards for advertising pitches, and most recently portrait sketching at special events. I've also worked as a full time in-house multimedia designer for an online advertising company and apparel / product designer at a hosiery company.  

How do people find you or hear about you?

Mutual friends / colleagues, Google, the internet and the events I sketch at.

What did you study in College/University? Is there anything you would do differently or advise others about?

I graduated from the BAA Illustration program at Sheridan Institute in 2008. What I would do differently is start my fashion illustration portfolio sooner as that's now my primary passion. What I would advise others is to follow your passion, focus on your strengths, work hard, exercise, and be nice.

What is your typical day like?

Checking and answering emails, updating my website, blog, Facebook and Twitter, working on whatever project I have at hand (personal or client-based), and watching videos on Youtube (usually music videos). Oh and music! Can't work without music.

Tell us about some of the cool opportunities that you have been a part of as a result of your job!

Well for starters, doing interviews such as this one! It's nice to be able to share my thoughts and goings-on with the greater public. Other cool opportunities are managing my own time, meeting people I wouldn't otherwise have met (such as when I sketched portraits at TIFF 2011), and being published in the Great Big Book of Fashion Illustration by Martin Dawber.

Are there any disadvantages to your job that maybe we don't think about?

Finding a steady stream of work to survive on can be a challenge at times. Also for me it's a one-woman show at the moment so it can get a bit lonely after plugging away on the computer all day. Although we have the internet and endless social media outlets, it doesn't make up for real human interaction. That's why I love going to the events and meeting new people!

Who inspires you?

My boyfriend and fellow illustrator / designer Jack Shepherd for his work discipline and high standards. And of course, my parents for always pushing me to go after my dream and their unconditional support. 

Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto?

I love the variety of restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops in the Annex; vintage hunting in Kensington Market; the vibe in Queen West (where I'm moving to!) and strolls in High Park.

Where would you go on your dream vacation?

Paris, France!

What would you tell your 20 year-old self?

Express yourself. Do work that you love and build an audience / market for it. Travel. Have fun.

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?

Align your passion with your work. Be grateful. Don't worry too much about where you're coming from, it's where you want to go that matters.

Loved This? Meet more of our Hip + Urban Girls of the Week!

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