March is ADC Young Guns Month here on the ADC Blog! As we head towards the deadline for Young Guns 13 entries, we will be featuring the works and thoughts of Young Guns 12, the latest class to join the exclusive club of young creative professionals. We will also be sharing the thoughts of the judges who voted them in. This way, you’ll have some idea of what it takes to become a Young Gun — and the answers just might surprise you.
Some Young Guns winners enter multiple time before finally making it, while others enter on a whim and get in on their first try. Our next featured YG12 winner doesn’t fall in either camp. Instead, the illustrator and founder of the Rifle Paper Co. waited years before she felt she was ready to join the ranks . The wait paid off; with the judges proud to have her in the exclusive club of creatives.
Winter Park, FL, USA
When did you first hear about Young Guns?
I first found out about them sometime around 2005 while I was in college studying graphic design. I had never entered previously.
What were your impressions of the competition before entering?
In my mind the Young Guns award was one of the most prestigious in the design community. I respect it and those who have won immensely.
Were there ever any pangs of doubt that maybe you weren’t good enough to join all of the amazing Young Guns that came before you? How did you overcome that feeling?
I definitely felt doubt and even held off entering for a few years because of those feelings. I never quite felt like my work was strong enough until the year I entered. I respect the award and I wanted to feel that my work was at a level I felt confident about. I remember having everything ready to submit the year before and at the last minute I decided not to enter because I felt like I just wasn’t there yet. Submitting represented a personal goal for me to feel strongly about my work.
How did you decide which pieces to submit? Was it a no-brainer or did you have to really think about your entry?
I definitely thought about it and wanted to represent my work in the best way possible while showing a range of illustration, design, and art direction. There were some things that were a no-brainer but others I spent time thinking about and whether or not they really represented me.
“I remember having everything ready to submit the year before and at the last minute I decided not to enter because I felt like I just wasn’t there yet.”
What it was it like when you found out you won?
I was thrilled and honored. It’s incredibly special to be recognized by your peers.
Which past Young Guns winners do you admire most?
What have you been up to since winning? Has Young Guns opened up any new doors for you since winning last fall?
Since October I’ve been busy working on new products and collaborations for Rifle Paper Co. I’ve also been working on one of my biggest (and most exciting) illustration projects to date, illustrating the entire 150th Anniversary edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Puffin Books.
What would you tell someone who was deciding whether or not to enter Young Guns 13?
I definitely recommend it but I think you should personally feel like your work is ready and you’ve accomplished a number of creative goals before going after the recognition.
“Anna’s story is an inspiring one. She started her company from the bottom up and she’s done it with such strong and consistent vision. She should be very proud of the success she’s had and I thought it was important for that success to be recognized! Her work is beautiful and resinates with so many people. ”
“The biggest questions the Young Guns judges had about Anna’s portfolio was whether one person could make all of this perfect work or not. In the end, we found out that she really is just one person with exceptional taste and timeless illustrations, and we all felt terrible about our own output.”
“The Rifle Paper Co. has become a hugely successful stationery brand. As Creative Director and CCO, Anna’s incredible determination and eye for detail and sophistication shines through in every individual piece she has created. From the immaculately presented web shop to the well curated range of beautifully illustrated stationary items, Anna has crafted a company with a strong visual identity which leaves a lasting impression.”
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