12 Questions: Meet Anna Nadler (USA)

In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.

We’re very proud to feature Anna Nadler (crowdSPRING username: SamFox) today.  Anna lives and works in Staten Island, New York.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

I came to the US from Russia when I was 13.  We settled in NYC, and I have been a NY girl ever since.  I just don’t feel at home anywhere else.  Right now I live and work in Staten Island, NY, with my family – my husband Alex and my son Sammy.

I have been drawing since the tender age of two.  My mom gets credit for encouraging me; she is an artist with a degree in architecture.  Formally, I studied art starting from high school, on to college, got my BFA in Illustration.

2. How did you become interested in design?

I was actually studying fashion design when I first started doing freelance graphic work. I found out that sewing and draping really was not my cup of tea.  Graphic design turned out to have more connection to my personality.  I love to learn new software and tricks, and I’m a real geek at heart, lol.

I have been working as a graphic designer in one form or another since 2000.  Though many of my Illustration courses offered many graphic design classes and computer program classes, nothing has taught me as much about design as practical skills I got working on different jobs, from product design to publishing/book design.

3. Which of your designs are your favorites and why?

My favorite cS projects by far are Wovenjourney.com and Butlersbingo.com.
They both started out as logo design projects here on cS and have turned into so much more

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I got to do their web design, and even some fun flash animation.  They also have afforded tremendous creative freedom and have been the greatest of clients to work with!

4. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your design work?
I am not sure if these are direct influences, rather people whose life’s work I really admire.  These include Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, Shel Silverstein, Milton Glazer, Al Hershfield and many others…

5. How do you come up with ideas for concepts after you read a buyer’s
creative brief?

When I get a good idea or design going, I get this warm fuzzy feeling inside, like “here we go, this is it baby!” You just know when you got it or when it’s not quite there yet. An outside opinion always helps.  If you aren’t sure if an idea works, ask anyone who happens to walk by what they think, and sure enough they will tell you.  Or take a break, go get a cup of tea, and come back to it with a fresh eye!  Nothing beats those moments when you pour your heart and soul into a design or an illustration and the buyer chooses you because they see it.

6. Mac or PC?

PC’s are ok, but I’m in love with my Mac!
My first Mac was a chubby turquoise and gray guy, and it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen!  Macs are delicious ?
Though I love Photoshop, my favorite programs by far are Illustrator and Flash.  I love the instant gratification that Illustrator affords, as well as Flash’s ability to bring my drawings to life.

7. What is your dream design project?

My dream is to really sit down and write, illustrate and design my own book.
It can be a children’s book or one for children and adults…  I have many ideas, but I really need to channel them into something productive.

8. What types of illustration do you enjoy doing the most, and how does it connect to your logo design?

When I manage to separate myself from the computer, I love to draw what I see.  I can be found on the boardwalk, drawing the seagulls, the little old ladies, or the architecture of the 1920’s buildings.  Pen and ink is my instrument of choice, along with my Wacom Intuos pen.  My style is very loose, free and not over-rendered.

I think it’s very important for logos to be original.  I try to put my best foot forward every time I make a new logo design. I draw my vector illustrations in Illustrator from scratch, and sometimes I also integrate my ink drawings into the logos, bringing a more real, hand made look to them.  I try to stay away from cliché as much as I can, tailoring the design to a client’s unique needs.

9. Do you have a website and/or keep a blog?

Both.  You can see more of my work on my website: www.annanadler.com (It is still a work in progress.) I like to post my sketches and caricatures (my other big illustration passion) on my blog.  A blog is a great way to keep in touch and to show the world live what you are working on at the moment!

10. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a
graphic designer?

Challenge is the reward for me.  When you are being faced with a design problem and its solution, you learn and grow as a designer.  The trick is to nail a good concept first.  Then comes the execution.  I believe a good design should be easy on the eyes.

11. If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t designing I would probably be singing in a Jazz club or recording my own songs.  I love to sing!

12. What do you do with your free time?

Free time, what is that?  When I’m not working, I am raising my son Sammy, cooking, cleaning and spending time with my friends and family.  I am happiest when I am busy and occupied.  When it comes time to relax, I really enjoy going to the ocean, breathing the salty air and soaking up the warm sun ?

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Thanks, Anna!