From the press to the audio world, illustrating stories is still at the heart
By Lauren Ibañez

While at university, I spent countless nights in a not-so-well lit basement illustrating for reporters at The Daily Texan and then picking up the paper in the morning. There, the pace was rapid-fire, which meant I often did not get to speak with the reporters I was working with. At NextGen, I got to experience that greater connection in just a week.

Working with Colleen and Daisy to develop their illustrations was an absolute highlight. I was fortunate to watch the interviewing process, and both journalists were key to giving me facts to help shape the artwork. I truly have missed working in the world of journalism, even in my little corner with my art supplies, I feel like it’s a realm I continue coming back to.

I also cannot go without mentioning my delight working alongside Ard and Emily, who were both equally professional and friendly to a newbie illustrator at NextGen. Anytime I had a question, they were both fast to help, and it wasn’t long before I felt like part of the little family. 

Going into the program, we were encouraged to experiment – and I did exactly that. For Colleen’s piece, I took a more realistic approach, not only because of the photos that were given, but also because of how Colleen described Juan’s story as a whole. For Daisy’s illustration, I wanted to juxtapose the pressure and weight that falls on the attorney while showing the layers of the eviction process, thus balancing the practical with the abstract. 

Through it all, I felt like I could consult with Ard and Emily about their experience with past illustrations for NextGen. These last few days have been filled with knowledge, as well as laughter.

I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone and wish I could play the week back. Amidst the hustle, I really enjoyed it (including the hustle itself). I’ve been able to experience being an illustrator in the audio world. Having only recently stepped out of the newspaper world, it feels like home. I hope to take my experience in collaborating with journalists and editors alike to more opportunities. I work on many fronts, including printmaking and now even jewelry making, yet editorial illustration work is always close to my heart. 

I look forward to getting the chance to work with NextGen again!