Alex Maertz is growing her own little business in the creative village of Cumberland
Please give us a brief summary of your life after graduating from IDEA School of Design at Cap U.
Well, I got married in June 2018, went on a road trip down the Oregon Coast to LA, and then moved to beautiful Cumberland, BC. It was a big year!
What type of projects are you currently working on?
I am currently finishing off my first children’s book and will be starting another one soon. The book is called The Girl and Her Sun and will be coming out late Spring 2019. It is self-published by a woman in North Vancouver, BC.
I have also been doing lots of freelance design work for local and international businesses. Creating logos for small businesses is so fulfilling - I love seeing them grow!
Please describe your process.
For the children’s book, I was lucky enough to receive the manuscript early on. I read it through a few times to get the overall feel of the story. Then I went through it and jotted down all the images that each page sparked in my mind. Then I sketched all those ideas out and sent them to the book designer for approval. All the sketches get refined and then scanned. Then the fun begins! Time to start the final art, play with colour, texture and easter eggs.
Illustrating children’s books is a very long process, but I can’t wait to see the final result. I generally draw in pencil first, scan the sketches, fill the lines in Photoshop and then play with colour. It gives it that hand-drawn, naive quality that I love.
For logos and branding, I start with A LOT of sketches to find a concept. That part takes the longest, but once you land on a solid concept, the rest falls into place. I make sure to communicate a lot with the client to make sure they are a part of the process.
Tell us about any awards you won.
I won a 2017 Applied Arts Student award for my illustrated portrait of Philip Larkin.
What are some of the more memorable highlights from your time at IDEA School of Design?
The people and connections I made were the best part of my time at IDEA. You spend 4 years day (and sometimes night) with these amazing, talented people. I miss them a lot.
How’s Island life and where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Island life is slow and lovely. I live a few minutes from a huge trail network in the beautiful Cumberland forest. I walk my dog every morning before I start work. The bright green moss, creeks and views are awe inspiring and I’m discovering new paths every day. I’m working part time at the local Rec Center creating marketing materials and doing front desk stuff while I grow my own little business. Most days I am at my makeshift standing desk in my kitchen haha. I use a cardboard box from Costco for ergonomics - it works perfectly! For such a small village, there are so many creative minds here. I’ve been working a bit with this cool laser cutting company called Material Creative, and done some work for the CV Collective - a rad magazine that “showcases creation, exploration, and recreation in and around the Comox Valley.”
In the next few years, my husband and I will hopefully own a house here with a little studio in the backyard, and maybe have a kid or two! In the near future, I see myself with an online shop selling my prints, postcards and other products that I create.
What advice would you give to our current students or anyone considering applying for IDEA School of Design, now with concentrations in branding, illustration and interactive design?
It’s really cheesy and cliché, but follow your heart. Rumi said it well, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Got any advice for 4th year students before they begin their practicums?
Reach out to as many places as you can. Find places that you would LOVE to work, or who’s work you love. It’s an amazing experience and one of my favourite parts of the program.