The 2023 AOI Mentorship scheme is fully underway, and we are proud to introduce and champion this year’s mentees in a new series of interviews. A free program first introduced in 2020, this initiative champions a select group of 22 underrepresented illustrators, empowering them with dedicated support and guidance in the course of six months.
Shelley Hanmo is an Illustrator based in the US, paired with mentor and Illustrator Rachelle Panagarry. Continue reading to learn how her mentorship is going so far, her key takeaways from the experience, and much more.
What does being part of the AOI Mentorship mean to you?
As a self-taught illustrator, the AOI Mentorship really is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for me to receive guidance on various areas in the illustration industry. I love working with Rachelle. She is so helpful and supportive when it comes to answering my questions.
In addition, being part of this year’s Mentorship program also allowed me to meet fellow mentees through our zoom meet-up. Since then, some of us have been chatting quite often about art careers and other related topics. It is valuable for me to meet illustrators on similar paths and to support one another.
How has the mentorship helped you tackle your goals? In what way(s) has your mentor supported you?
It really means a lot to me to have Rachelle—a seasoned professional illustrator—to guide me through the insights of the illustration industry. Each time when Rachelle and I meet, we discuss my questions and ideas that I am working on. She provides me lots of tips as well as assignments/tasks to complete before the next session. I find that very helpful to have goals to work towards for each of our meetings.
So far, we mostly worked on topics related to children’s books and publishing, and we are planning to tap into other illustration fields including surface design in our upcoming sessions. I am thankful to have such an inspiring mentor who has loads of wisdom and ideas to share. Not only that, Rachelle is such a joy to work with. I feel so comfortable sharing my challenges, questions, and struggles with her, knowing that she is there for me, to give me fresh ideas to try and new perspectives to look at things.
“Being part of this year’s Mentorship program [also] allowed me to meet fellow mentees through our zoom meet-up. Since then, some of us have been chatting quite often about art careers and other related topics. It is valuable for me to meet illustrators on similar paths and to support one another.”
– Shelley Hanmo
What has been a key moment or takeaway from the mentorship so far?
There have been quite a few key moments thus far in the mentorship. One of them was when Rachelle shared her “simple method” to create a surface design pattern. It was like a light-bulb moment for me to understand the creative process in surface design.
Another key moment was during a couple of our meetings, Rachelle suggested that I study various illustrators’ works in terms of character design, style, composition, color palette, and more. It was so beneficial for me to analyze those master illustrators’ works in order to better understand what makes a great illustration. I truly appreciate moments like these during my mentorship sessions with Rachelle.
Thank you Shelley for taking the time to give us this interview. See more of her work on her website, instagram and twitter.
Keep checking our Mentorship section to meet more mentees!
Learn more about the AOI Mentorship and our 2023 Mentors.
The AOI Mentorship scheme is one of many initiatives offered by us. Find out more about membership today.