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.
Eniola Odetunde is an Illustrator and art director currently based in New York, US, paired with agency mentor BA Reps. 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?
It’s meant a lot to me. The AOI Mentorship program offers the help and assistance in the illustration field that I’ve needed for a while to become a better illustrator, which I hadn’t been able to find.
I thought that I would need to find more formal training (i.e. going back to school), but the program has provided an easy pathway to improve my skillsets and knowledge. It has supplied me with the structure and advice I’ve needed.
How has the mentorship helped you tackle your goals? In what way(s) has your mentor supported you?
The AOI mentorship has provided structure and tangible, achievable deadlines. It has been very helpful to have mini goals and projects to complete by every session, and I also really appreciate my mentor’s critiques and valuable thoughts each month.
During our first meeting, my mentor and I set out goals that we’d explore during our mentorship. I stated that I’d like to work towards a consistent style. James provided his insight has an agent, sharing that this makes it easier to sell the illustrators to brands, and having a consistent style makes my work easier identified.
We also wanted to focus on how I would illustrate people and animals. Currently they are missing from my portfolio but having people and animals would make me a more marketable and well-rounded. I also had quite a few editorial illustrations that I had done at past job, but in their house photography collage style. I spent the past month redrawing a few of those illustrations in my current style. It was helpful because I didn’t lose the conceptual work that I had already done, but was able to rework it in a more consistent illustrative voice.
“It’s been great to have someone who can think as both an agent and an illustrator, who can come up with creative and commercial solutions.”
– Eniola Odetunde
What has been a key moment or takeaway from the mentorship so far?
During our first meeting, I realized how helpful and thoughtful my AOI mentor was. She came up with ideas and thought starters that I hadn’t considered.
It’s been great to have someone who can think as both an agent and an illustrator, who can come up with creative and commercial solutions.
Thank you Eniola 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.