My Secret Past Life

My Secret Past Life

Have you ever clicked on a Google Search Landing Illustration out of curiosity? I do ALL THE TIME. Today I saw an illustration of a female character studying plants under the magnifying glass, and it immediately struck my curiosity. One click I was redirected to a Wiki on a women named Carrie Derick, “a Canadian botanist and geneticist, the first female professor in a Canadian university, and the founder of McGill University’s Genetics Department. I appreciate how Google takes the time to honour significant people in the history of each country, illustrate a creative illustration, and provide education without it being an advertisement, or way to make a profit. This one in particular, I resonated with.

I have a secret second life prior to web programming and graphic design. A career that I started working towards, but didn’t continue. I wouldn’t, however, have gotten to where I am had I not started there. Here is my secret… I am a plant nerd… well at least was. It has been over ten years since I studied biology at UBC, when I graduated with a B.Sc.. I could identify and classify, using linnaean classification, most of the plants in the Pacific Northwest, all of which I can’t remember. My favorite were bryophytes (aka mosses, hornworts, & liverworts). When walking through the forest mosses, just appear to be one plant type, but after studying bryophytes you are able to see many different species, during one walk in the forest. Below are some moss photos I took this fall on a forest walk in Squamish with my son.

So how did I get to become a graphic designer, web guru with a love of photography? It all started with my love of art, which grew and turned into a passion of illustrating fine detail in my lab books of what I saw under the microscope. I was lucky enough to land a summer job at the UBC Botanical Gardens, designing a game for a website on Botany John – a man who explored, our very own Garibaldi Park and identify the plant species in the early 1900’s. From there, the head of the Gardens and botany professor, Quentin Cronk, asked me to illustrate his textbook being published by Oxford University. During this project, I decided I wanted to work in Biomedical Communications.

As the only program in Canada was in Toronto, and had thousands of applications a year and only took 10 students each year, I decided to pursue my dreams locally by taking a multimedia diploma at the Art Institute of Vancouver. This is where I was introduced to the world of programming, web & graphic design. Post-graduation, I worked for a local biomedical automation company as their multimedia developer. I quickly found my way into the world of web, graphics, and marketing at a design studio in East Vancouver. After having a son in Squamish, I have continued my career as an entrepreneur, helping local businesses establish brand, launch a website and gain following through social media and other marketing outlets.

Below are some example illustrations I did for the Botany textbook, “The Molecular Organography of Plants”. For some reason the labels are white so don’t show up. I would have to dig up the originals. Bonus secret: I have one of them as a 8″ tattoo.

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