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Before and After SVA: Gabrielle Gomez on Networking, the Importance of Meeting Deadlines and More

As a part of our series exploring what recent graduates are up to, we recently caught up with Gabrielle Gomez (BFA 2016 Cartooning), who talked about the value of networking with teachers at SVA, the importance of meeting deadlines as a professional and more.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I’m working as a freelance comic book colorist. My current project is a five-issue series called 3 O’Clock Club, created by Butch Hartman (Fairly Odd Parents, Danny Phantom) and Jordan B. Gorfinkel (DC Comics) and published by Lion Forge Comics.

What has surprised you about the student-to-working professional transition, or what has been a challenge?

It’s one thing to learn to be professional and it’s another thing to work as a professional for the first time. There are really long contracts you have to read, invoices and tax forms you have to fill out. You have to give your paying client the work they want in the way they want it to look. You have to perform well under tight deadlines, etc. I knew that it would be this way, but actually going through it for the first time and doing it right has definitely been a challenge for me. However, it’s because of the challenge that I’ve learned to be much more professional and prepared for the next project that comes along.

Were you able to network through your SVA connections to help you get work?

That’s how I got work from Lion Forge, actually! I met the editor at SVA’s Portfolio Day. He took an interest in my portfolio and we exchanged emails. A few months later he offered me the colorist job for 3 O’Clock Club.

Was there a piece of advice a teacher gave you about the working world that was particularly helpful?

Never miss a deadline. One of my teachers at SVA had a colleague who was really late turning in work to his client who needed that work for a meeting the following day. The client turned up at the meeting empty-handed and they never hired that artist again. Missing a deadline will not only make you seem unreliable and unprofessional, but will negatively affect the people working with you and your employer’s meticulously planned schedule, because now everyone has to make up for that lost time. Needless to say, I never miss a deadline, no matter how tight.

What advice would you give to incoming students to get the best out of their SVA years?

I always hear the advice “network with your fellow students” but I never hear “network with your teachers.” During my time at SVA I met with a few teachers to review my portfolio and get help and advice from them. Not only did I learn a lot from them but they are also good friends of mine now and we always keep in touch.

Your teachers are already professionals and have tons of connections. Ask them questions, schedule a time to meet and talk about your work. You’ll not only get valuable advice and professional feedback on your portfolio, but you might make some long-term connections and friends in the process.

To read more Before and After SVA interviews, click here.

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