“… everything I do defines who I am.” – Valerie Randall
It was roughly 2008 and I had just discovered digital scrapbooking. I fancied myself a creative sort and thought, hey, I could do some designing I bet. I sent a blind inquiry letter to a woman named Valerie Randall. In the most polite of ways, she told me to get some experience first :).
From then on, I absorbed all I could, determined that I WAS creative, unknowingly having absorbed something else Valerie said in her response… you need to know and embrace your own style. I worked on that too (still am 🙂 ).
Well, I had the pleasure of applying, again, and with much trepidation, to Valerie (and her wonderful partners) in 2012… this time she took me under her wing and taught me so much and I am so grateful!
So without further ado, meet, Valerie Randall!
1) Please tell us a little about yourself and your creative business.
I have always drawn things, all my life. I can’t imagine not drawing. Or creating. My illustration skills led to design skills and while I had my studio in San Francisco, my clients included General Electric, Macy’s, Levi Strauss, AT&T, Spiegel; and so many more. At the age of 35 I was asked to teach a class at a private art college which soon became me teaching 7 college courses in 3 days. I taught for 5 years while freelancing. My freelance work included creating the collateral that appeared on the software boxes for Broderbund software, designing user interfaces for Sandia Nat’l Laboratories. Eventually I ended up as the Creative Director and a partner in Scrap Girls. Now I am, once again, in the process of redesigning my career. It seems as if I constantly learning new skills, creating new forms of expression, creating is what I do best. I continue to illustrate, design, I have started painting again and I love taking photos, especially with my iPhone. I have assembled all of my passions on my website. I realized that I can’t just express myself through one medium, that everything I do defines who I am.
2) How did you happen to start your own business? Was there a particular motivation?
Although I began selling my illustrations freelance in high school, my first real job was illustrating army training films in Oakland, CA when I was 19. After about a year, I (and half the company) was laid off when they lost a large contract. Next, I began illustrating colouring books in San Francisco. The company I worked for had a hard time meeting payroll and though I made only $4 per hour, I stayed because I loved drawing. While I was there, I was contacted by a head hunter who told me of a design job at a graphic art company in the same building as the army training film company. Knowing only a little about design, typesetting and production, I applied and was surprisingly accepted. I worked there a little over a year, but the owner wasn’t well organized. Clients would drop projects off and he’d forget about them until the client came to pick them up. He’d often place projects on my desk after I’d leave for the day and tell customers the projects would be ready at 8am. I started at 8:30. I was often in earlier and there would be the client, fuming. I’d look bad because the job wasn’t done. I began to get really stressed, breaking out in hives yet panicked I’d lose my job. One day, another designer in the same building asked me if I was interested in doing some drawings for her client. She offered to pay me $800. That was more than I made in a month and she encouraged me to go freelance. She was moving and said I could rent space from her for my drafting table for only $50. a month and she’d help me find projects. We’d be in a building with other designers, and they might need an illustrator, too; or someone who could do production. I had seen how not to run a business with the previous 3 positions I had held, so I leapt at the opportunity. I was 23. It hasn’t always been an easy path but it has been my path of choice.
3) Where do you find the creative inspiration for the new things you bring to life?
It’s always there. I have more ideas and projects than there is time. For me, the tap is always on and running, flowing fast. I see things in my mind, often fully envisioned. They just appear. Other times, when I am out walking, the beauty of nature inspires me. Or they come couched in dreams. Or when I travel. New places are always so refreshing.
4) What would you like people to know about your wonderful creations?
No matter what I create, there is an innate appreciation for beauty and the offering of a story. From illustration to design to photography and iconography, each expression retains vestiges of the other. Whether a person is viewing a painting, drawing or photography, I hope they can see the balance, the peace, the beauty within. I hope my creations inspire discovery, encourage peace, provide a laugh, support self-reflection. I hope what I create makes the world a more beautiful place by celebrating who we all are.
5) When you are not busy working, what do you like to do to recharge?
Like breathing, creating is what I do, it doesn’t often feel like work. Work is the paperwork, the marketing, networking. I like my alone time. To recharge: I disconnect. No phone, internet, email—that’s heaven. I watch clouds. I listen to the sea. I like to read, or see movies. But if I am out walking, I’m taking photos. My vision is always busy.
6) Where can we find you on the internet?
twenty20 for prints:
smugmug for prints:
Update: This posting was finalized by Valerie and I on Friday the 28th of February. It was scheduled for Tuesday, March 4th. Sadly, she did not have a chance to see it as she passed away on Friday evening. Thanks for taking a moment to read and I hope that you all find an angel like Valerie Randall to inspire your lives and help open your eyes to the beauty around you. Best, Kim.