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.
Carmen Johnson is an Illustrator currently based in the UK paired with mentor and Illustrator Montana Forbes. 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?
Being part of the AOI mentorship has been so helpful for me and we’re only part-way through!
I feel like my mentor is a really good fit for me in terms of her illustrative style, but also the experience and knowledge she has. I feel like each meeting I’ve gone away with some really significant insights into my work and the business of illustration.
I’ve also felt the benefit of feeling part of a community that are working towards a similar goal with my fellow mentees. Being an Illustrator can feel isolating, so it’s been nice to have that sense of community and energy that I’ve not felt since being at university.
“My pairing with Carmen Johnson is a great match – We have a personable and easy going connection. I’m impressed by her positivity and attitude in receiving feedback and then taking her own initiative. The exchanges we have spur me on in my own practice; Each time we meet we explore our individual unique narratives and how to expand ideas to create more dynamic and engaging imagery. She’s a very talented illustrator and I look forward to seeing her work continue to progress.“
– Montana Forbes, AOI Mentor.
How has the mentorship helped you tackle your goals? In what way(s) has your mentor supported you?
I have felt really encouraged and inspired to push myself, to create more detailed work and work that resonates with me. We have talked a lot about creating personal projects that are geared towards brands and industries that I am naturally passionate about. It has also helped having an outside perspective on my style, so I can better see what is unique about my work and help make that more visible.
“I’ve also felt the benefit of feeling part of a community that are working towards a similar goal with my fellow mentees. Being an Illustrator can feel isolating, so it’s been nice to have that sense of community and energy that I’ve not felt since being at university.”
– Carmen Johnson
What has been a key moment or takeaway from the mentorship so far?
I have really enjoyed and found value in simply chatting with Montana about life as an Illustrator. It has been so useful to hear that more experienced Illustrators also struggle with a lot of the same things us less experienced Illustrators struggle with! I am learning that there are a lot of similarities in experience, but that everyone’s journey is different and that’s ok.
Thank you Carmen for taking the time to give us this interview. See more of her work on her website and instagram.
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.