During the summer of 2015, I was an intern illustrator for Port Discovery Children’s Museum at Baltimore, Maryland. I think it was a perfect job for me.
My experience was really exciting there because it was my first time to cooperate with many people and learn how to fit my illustration in a big space and interact with children. For almost every illustration I had to interact with children. For instance, one series of three illustrations is about different festivals celebrating agriculture in different culture. At the same position of each illustration, there would be an animation in a case that connected with my illustration, so it limited the possibility of the composition but I learnt a lot in that way. The musuem wanted illustrated backgrounds because they tried many other ways like photo collage but it didn’t work well, at this point, illustration became a solution to resolve problems.
Through my internship at Port Discovery, I learned how illustration works in real life and in a real project, and how illustration can solve problems that other methods can’t. I am more clear about what I can do with my art. I think this was a wonderful experience for me right before my thesis year! I will keep on exploring how to give my illustration more practical meanings.
Jia Liu is a second year student of the MFA Illustration Practice program at MICA. She always identified herself as an illustrator for children’s picture books and an art educator for kids. She taught children's art classes for three years in China and she is currently gaining teaching experience in the U.S. as well. She is working on her thesis which includes two children’s picture books, one of them a pop-up book.