Today we’d like to introduce you to Will Jamison.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, always keeping a sketchbook by my side. I always wanted to become a professional artist, just like the people who illustrated picture books and graphic novels.
On my shelf, I attended Washington University in St. Louis, where I was privileged to learn from artists who illustrate picture books and graphic novels. Washington University gave me the academic resources and experiences to explore both my identity as an artist and as a non-binary person. I graduated in 2019 with a degree in Communication Design (and an illustration focus), along with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.
After I graduated, I pursued many freelance projects while working at a social media marketing agency. I loved the storytelling aspects of marketing, but I missed the process of designing or illustrating a piece from start to finish. That’s when I came across an opening over at Wash U’s Dining Services for a Marketing Coordinator. This would entail creating advertisements for all sorts of campus-wide events that they organized. After I interviewed for and got the job, I learned that my new boss loved my illustration work. In fact, she wanted me to create all sorts of pieces to incorporate into their dining halls.
Ever since I began that job back in July, I have made all sorts of large-scale drawings and designs, while I get to work on the campus that was so pivotal for my personal and artistic growth. I also have been developing new personal projects in my spare time.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Oh boy! As much as I enjoyed art school, it was a very fast-paced and intense environment. There was a lot of work to produce in a short amount of time. You had to develop a thick skin pretty quickly when it came time for professors to critique your work. There were a lot of self-doubts when it came to my artistic voice. Over the course of college, I realized that incorporating my queerness into my art only enhanced it. By exploring the intersection between identity and art, I have made my most complex, playful, and effective pieces to date.
Also, life as a creative after graduating college is really challenging. There is this feeling that you need to have everything figured out now that you’re an adult, which extends to your art. But this is the perfect time to explore all sorts of creative media without the pressure of grades! Instead of worrying about that lack of structure, embrace the messy imperfections and the growth that will happen during this time.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I love to depict queer, inclusive stories on the page, whether that is through single illustrations or more long-form comics. Last year I finished “Forget-Me-Nots,” a collection of comics and illustrations that worked together to show the messiness of a young queer relationship.
In my senior year of college, I also adapted an essay by non-binary writer/activist Jeffrey Marsh into a short comic (titled “Jeffrey the Gender Hero” on my website), which Jeffrey read and shouted out on Twitter. It was such an incredible feeling to see my personal hero enjoy my artwork.
I have also worked on some very exciting freelance projects. I designed new logos twice now for “Thanks For Coming!” an LGBT+ culture podcast (which was featured on Cosmopolitan Magazine’s website). I also made the logo for its spin-off podcast “Treble Treble,” a queer music review podcast. Both of these can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
I made cover art and illustrated “After the Storm,” a choose-your-own-adventure style mobile game, which you can find online through my Instagram. I also illustrated a sequel mobile game, “The Valentine Caper,” which I am working on with the writer to expand into something longer.
Finally, as an exclusive first announcement, I will be on a panel discussion with several other local comic creators at Betty’s Books in Webster Groves, on October 21st! Be sure to check their social media for more information as we get closer to this event. I’m currently working on a print to sell there, and I am so excited for y’all to see it. Shout out to AIGA St. Louis for sponsoring this event, which is a fantastic chapter of a fantastic organization!
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
As stated before, my authenticity is a huge factor in my work. If my drawings can make even just one person feel more validated or accepted, then I’ll consider that a huge success.
I also try my best to take away the pressure of making something “perfect” when it comes to art. If you’re only focused on making your drawing “perfect” (in whatever context that may be), you’re going to be miserable. Focus on the entire creative process instead, and especially what you enjoy about each step. Ironically, focusing on the process tends to make the final results look better!
Finally, my cat. My cat is very important to my success, while also being very important in general. Seriously, my cat (Sunny, the cuddly orange tabby) is great at getting me to stop focusing too much on deadlines, and to focus on scratching his tummy instead!
- I am always open for commissions, to be painted with ink and watercolor!
- I normally charge $50 per person/animal in the commission.
- The size of each painting is usually 9″x12″, but I am happy to plan out a different size and price that out accordingly.
- Feel free to message me on social media to ask any commission questions, I would love to work with you!
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.thewilljamison.com
- Instagram: @thewilljamison
- Twitter: @thewilljamison