What I learned at Trojan Horse was a Unicorn 2019

I’m back from THU! In short: it was another valuable experience.

The official theme this year at THU was looking at the world through the eyes of a child. This seemed to translate into a common theme for a lot of people: pursuing the expression of your own voice. Never before have I heard so many people bring this subject up on their own in a conversation.

It’s been a big theme for me the past few months. I feel like I’m finally letting go of the need to make what people expect of me, and focusing instead on what makes my voice and my artwork unique. I’m already seeing change in how clients and peers approach me. Clients seem to have a much clearer idea of what I can do for them, and peers seem to look at my work with more interest, focusing less on the technical aspects and more on the story I’m telling with my work. In return, I’ve tried to ask many young artists and peers at THU the same question: are you working on something you’re passionate about, or what you think others are passionate about?

Another highlight of the trip was a session with Irene Gallo (Creative Director at Tor Books and Tor.com) and Gregory Manchess (Illustrator and writer of Above the Timberline). They took the time to extensively look at the portfolios of all artists present and give some very insightful and encouraging feedback all around.

Lastly I want to mention a THU philosophy: when you attend, you become part of the Tribe. No (wo)man gets left behind. If you’re shy, other attendees will make the effort to include you in the conversation. I have rarely attended conferences that are as inclusive and family-like as THU. For that I commend Andre and his team – they have created an amazing event for industry students and professionals. This is another year with warm memories.