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Welcome to my illustration and mixed media blog, by visual artist Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA

Welcome to My Illustration-Love & Mixed Media-Inspired Blog

At the time of this writing, I’m a full-time Illustration MFA student augmenting a 25-year career in graphic and marketing design with illustration-specific capabilities.

While my Illustration MFA journey officially began in the Fall of 2017, the idea to pursue an art degree was a lifetime in the making.

Allow me to explain.

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I’ve always been drawn to colors and pictures.

In childhood, I remember doodling, painting, and drawing with my stepmother, who lovingly nurtured my creative interests. And in my teen years, I devoted many a summer pretending to be a magazine designer constantly typing away at my imaginary stories and laying them all out using Peachtree Desktop Publishing software on my dad’s clunky and old Macintosh.

Little did I know those experiences would become the earliest of stepping stones towards a 25-year long marketing design career.

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College detours

When it was time to think about my undergraduate, I thought about art school.

Unfortunately, my confidence at the time wasn’t the best and I somehow convinced myself that my artistic skills weren’t good enough. I also lacked proper support systems both at home as at school, so there wasn’t really anyone that could mentor me through. When I later learned one of my high school friends had been accepted into an art and design school, I remember being envious and wished I could go to such a school. But I never made the effort, believing it just would never work out for me. So I ignored my instincts and instead pursued the more practical fields of political science, business administration, and marketing.

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Early career

As life would have it, I puttered through a series of entry-level jobs until one day, I managed to land my first professional position as a desktop publisher and graphic designer. That position eventually formalized into a brand marketing position, which later morphed into senior web marketing and web design roles. And as my career matured, I led many teams, projects, and brands through countless advertising, interface, application, and marketing design-centric challenges — each time surpassing goals, design milestones, and creative achievement.

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How I still wished …

Yet, as my marketing design track flourished, I found myself secretly regretting not having applied to an art and design school. Promotion after promotion, my secret regret followed me around like a black, collegiate cloud bogging down my creative heart. But when those “I wish I had gone to art school” thoughts rumble from time to time, I’d push them away, telling myself it was simply “too late.”

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But in time

Years flew by and life went on as it did. But right around 2015 or so, many things in my world kind of came to a halting collision. It was then when I started to wonder if maybe part of rebuilding a professional and renewed vision for myself could include, finally, the possibility of attending art and design school. By then, however, I already had a family and children so I wasn’t sure I’d find a viable program. After sitting on this decision for almost two years, I finally took the plunge and enrolled myself in the Academy of Art University’s Illustration MFA program by the fall of 2017.

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While I remain an Illustration MFA student, I thought sharing my academic journey, which includes learning experiences in the realm of illustration art and design, and journaling about my illustration, mixed media, and art licensing happenings here on this blog would help keep me (and possibly others) inspired.

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Thank you for being here

So with the above-shared backstory, it is with sincere joy that I welcome you to my “learning illustration” (and more!) blog.

Here, I write about:

  • illustration, painting, and design inspirations
  • approaches towards illustration-focused work or projects
  • art licensing and themed collections
  • product design concepts and ideas I’m discovered or am developing
  • Illustration MFA experiences and other reflections worth sharing along the way

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Last but not least

On the off chance you’ve stumbled upon this website or blog while searching for me in relation to my digital strategy, marketing design, content writing, or doctoral academic work in media psychology, please don’t scurry away feeling all kinds of confusion.

The truth is I’m a passionate multidisciplinary and my interests are diverse and many!

If you have any questions about my Illustration MFA background or aspirations thereafter, please just ask.

Thank you again for being here,

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

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