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News . Feature Stories . 2014 grad to design whimsical playgrounds for Colorado company

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August 18, 2014

2014 grad to design whimsical playgrounds for Colorado company

Determination, work experience pay off for illustrator Brittany Lockwood

2014 grad to design whimsical playgrounds for Colorado company

By Julie Troha

Hard work and a strong record of “real-world” experience helped recent illustration grad Brittany Lockwood ’14 land a full-time position designing children’s playgrounds for Colorado-based Playtime LLC. After moving to Denver in September, she will create concept illustrations and 3D models for the company’s fanciful soft foam play areas, which appear in gathering spaces like malls, restaurants, and healthcare centers around the world.

The brand’s cartoony aesthetic is a perfect fit for Lockwood’s style, which she describes as “cute and round and fluffy.” When she first spoke with the interviewer, “he was amazed by how closely my style matches what they do,” she said. Within a week of her application, Playtime flew her to Denver for an interview and offered her the job on the spot. “It was kind of destiny.”

But there’s definitely truth to the maxim that we make our own luck. By the time Lockwood started her search for a full-time job, she had filled her resume with freelance projects and internships for well-known brands: illustrating Etch a Sketch frames for Ohio Art, Strawberry Shortcake style guides for American Greetings, and promotional materials for children’s programs at MOCA Cleveland.

Illustration class assignments also put Lockwood’s work in the public realm. She participated in the ArtBox project, for which students created illustrations that were affixed to utility boxes along Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, and the Alice Project, for which students created their own illustrations of the Lewis Carroll classic. The Alice illustrations – including Lockwood’s menacing-looking White Rabbit – are on display at Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library through late October.

Encouraged by illustration professors Dominic Scibilia and John Chuldenko, Lockwood began visiting the CIA Career Center in her sophomore year. She spent eight appointments working on everything from resume development and job search tools to interview techniques. “CIA's career counselors have been incredibly helpful throughout my job search,” she said.

“Our work was very intentional and strategic,” said Amy Goldman, director of CIA’s Career Center. “Brittany worked the process and did a really nice job of it.” Goldman said they also talked about building a positive and consistent online presence on sites from LinkedIn to Behance. “We’re really trying to get students to think of their brand identity and make everything cohesive.”

Although Lockwood found this job online (on Craigslist, in fact), she advises students not to neglect their personal connections—she landed her first freelance gig through a friend of her orthodontist. “To be lucky, you also need to work really hard, and you need to network. Nobody’s going to know about your artwork if you don’t share it with people.”

Above: One of Brittany Lockwood’s cute and round and fluffy characters. View more of her artwork, including her not-so-cute-and-fluffy White Rabbit, at www.brittanylockwood.com.

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