Lindsey Rush Hawkins
Lindsey Rush Hawkins is the Program Director of Graphic Design at Westwood College in Atlanta. This year she exchanged teaching some classes at Dragon Con in order to get a booth for her students in the art hall. I for one am glad that she did! Lindsey’s classes turned out to be one of the highlights of Dragon Con for me, and the reason my wife and I chose to stay an extra day.
Her first class was on Building a Digital Portfolio and Interviewing Skills. She gave some great advice on good interview etiquette. One bit I found particular interesting was that you should make sure to have clean looking hands and nails, because when you show your portfolio your hands will be viewed closely by other people. She also spoke to the importance of having both a digital (web) portfolio that you can send off, but also the need to have a printed portfolio for people to look at and hold.
Lindsey’s last class was on Professional Artist Managing Clients. The number one thing I took away from this class was the importance of communication. She made the comment that whatever is not discussed openly at the beginning of a job, will likely become the most frustrating part of a job. In particular she spoke to the importance of talking about money up front. Clients are just as nervous about money as artists and a good way to break the ice is to ask what the client’s “budget” is for the project. That way both parties can then speak more about money without it being quite as awkward.
In addition to attending her two classes I also went by the Westwood College booth to have Lindsey review my portfolio. After looking over my work and chatting for a bit she stated that she was not worried about me. She said I was following the right path, taking the right steps, and that I was at the beginning of a successful career.
She encouraged me to work with local galleries to get my art shown. I asked her if digital art could get into galleries and she said simply, “Why Not?” Lindsey also encouraged me to look into storyboarding as an addition to illustration. She warned me that illustrators suffer from good years and bad years, and recommended I diversify to maintain a good salary from year to year.