Trinity International University alumna Lisa McCormick (BA ‘15) is creating artwork for several popular brands, including Patagonia, Home Depot, and Kawasaki, to name a few. “People are often surprised to hear I received my graphic design degree from a small Christian college,” says McCormick. “Trinity offered me many opportunities that I likely wouldn’t have had at larger schools.”
Lisa had dreamed of going to a renowned art school following high school, but an art competition during her junior year redirected her course. “The winning piece that year was dark and disturbing and exemplified where the art world was leaning. I wanted my art to embody light and hope,” recalls McCormick.
The focus of her college search subsequently shifted, and she took a look at Trinity. “I was looking to grow spiritually as well as professionally and believed that a Christian environment would enable me to create better art,” says McCormick.
“I wanted my art to embody light and hope. I believed that a Christian environment would enable me to create better art”
Once at Trinity, Lisa studied graphic design and communications and developed her unique style. Wayne Kijanowski, a Graphic Design professor, introduced her to digital illustration just as the technology was in its early stages of development. “I hadn’t considered how I could combine fine art and graphic design in that way, so that made a huge impact on me,” says McCormick.
Lisa got her first freelance illustration job creating digital artwork of Carl F.H. Henry (the late theologian who spearheaded the modern evangelical movement) for Trinity’s quarterly magazine. “That opportunity showed me there was a market for this type of work since most graphic designers do not have drawing expertise,” recalls McCormick.
A few years after graduating, Lisa started freelancing full-time under the company name “Made By Lisa Marie.” She now has an established client list that includes a variety of organizations. “Clients come to me because they are looking for illustrations that have a playful, hand-drawn style,” says McCormick. “I recently completed merchandising for The Shedd Aquarium where my artwork appears on their t-shirts, tote bags, and hats, and I even have my own page on their website that features those items. Ultimately, I want my illustrations to inspire joy.”
“The unique benefits of a school like Trinity prepared me well for a successful career.”
Since Lisa does not work only with Christian clients, she routinely considers her artwork’s underlying message. “I am always ready to talk about how the cheerful perspective in my illustrations comes from my hope in Jesus,” says McCormick. “The art world needs more people who create pieces that display his light.”
Lisa is also a regular guest host for Adobe’s online workshop platform Adobe Live and recently conducted a live webinar on packaging design with over 1,000 attendees. “When Adobe approached me about doing an Adobe Live session, I thought back to how I started with minimal technical skills as a freshman and am now teaching thousands how to use their software,” recalls McCormick. “The unique benefits of a school like Trinity prepared me well for a successful career.”
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