Claire Donaldson has a passion for creating complex worlds that live and breathe. Only a year out of college, the successful illustrator has landed a designer/illustrator position at Daily Magic Games and worked with clients on a range of freelance assignments that include comics, storyboarding, children’s books, concept art, book covers and even design.
“Sometimes I like to boil it down for people and just say I draw,” said Donaldson who lives and works in Seattle. “Even that is a bit misleading because while the physical act of creating images is a large part of all of these different jobs, it's still only half. The other half is problem solving—figuring out exactly what it is someone wants to say, and the best way to say it. I'm proud of the fact that I work hard and can rely on two skills: I can draw, and I can think.”
Much of what Donaldson enjoys most about her career also makes it challenging. Her freelance work has pushed her to grow in ways she never expected when she decided to major in illustration. Rising to those challenges is what makes it worth doing.
“Give me any job and I'll get it done, but asking me to convince someone I can before they give it to me is the hard part,” she said. “Giving people the long spiel is the worst, but when it works, I get to replace the words with actual work.”
Before moving to Seattle, Donaldson created murals for a local business in Detroit, conceptualized and storyboarded a music video and spent four months in Beijing, China, as an illustration intern at Etonkids Educational Group.
“Every month, the research and development department of Etonkids publishes a 32 page storybook that goes on the interior of their educational magazine,” she explained. “While interning at the company I was able to draw two of these storybooks that were written by the head of the research and development department.”
Currently, Donaldson is working with two clients on a children’s book and a comic book while also pursuing her own comics and personal illustration projects.
“It's all a bit of an experiment,” she said. “I’ve discovered that this career is all about finding the balance between extremes. Extreme behavior in one direction usually leads to an endless stream of over correction, so finding solid ground somewhere in the middle is healthier in the long run.
“I'm not just talking about all nighters either. This rule applies to pretty much everything. And while it's impossible to follow all the time, it's helped me quite a bit in a career path that often feels as though it's demanding extreme measures.”
To check out more of Donaldson’s work, visit http://clairedoesntlaugh.com.