Advice #42: As A Teen, How Can I Jump-Start My Career?

ask nubby advice


Today I’m answering a question from one of my high school-age readers. This question really resonated with me and hopefully they’ll have the opportunity to discover their passion for design much earlier than I did.


ask nubby advice

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Hello,

I am a sixteen year old aspiring graphic designer and blogger and I am avid reader of your blog. I am interested in creating a website showcasing my personal style, graphic design, and my photography. I have grown up around technology and design and would very much like to become a successful designer and blogger but I’m not exactly sure where to start. What would your advice be to someone my age who is still in high school and aspires to become a household name in terms of blogging and design?


First of all, I have a deep admiration for teenagers that are so focused on knowing what they want to achieve career-wise early on in their schooling. As much as I loved art, I definitely didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted to accomplish post-high school. It took me years of trial and error, working my way through various college courses and jobs before I found my true calling. In hindsight, it all seems so clear but at the time, I definitely felt lost. To get a head start on your chosen path, I’d recommend the following:


1. Start your blog as soon as possible.

Get started with your blog now to showcase your style, design and photography. If you don’t have the means to build a custom site, start up on a free platform like Blogger (there are tons of online tutorials that can show you to customize it). I spent six years blogging on a free platform before I launched my self-titled blog and that time was extremely valuable for developing my focus and making many of the online friends that I still have today. The web is extremely malleable and you can always go back and make as many changes as you’d like to your design and content but the idea is to start building momentum and recognition now.


2. Develop your own lesson plan.

If you’re too young to enroll or unable to afford college courses, seek out design tutorials. Smashing Magazine has some great ones and Lynda.com is fantastic for perfecting specific techniques. Also, subscribe to design and lifestyle blogs that excite you. Gather inspiration at every turn and pin it for future reference. All of this will build your confidence while helping you to develop your own style.


3. Seek out a mentor.

Being both a designer and a blogger is hard work and as you begin your journey, you’re bound to have many questions. If you can find someone that’s already been down that path, they can offer you insight and advice about what to expect along the way. Four years ago, a recent design graduate emailed me and on a whim, we met for dinner. Since then, I’ve critiqued her portfolio and recommended her for freelance gigs. At the same time, she’s been really supportive of what I do. It’s really rewarding to develop relationships with people who share a creative bond. If nobody around you shares your interests, many school counselors are pretty savvy these days and can help you form a career plan.


4. Never let peer criticism get under your skin.

Often, when you’re young, determined and talented, peers will try to get in your way. It’s important to ask yourself if these folks have your best interests in mind or if they’re simply threatened by your talent. While I have many fond memories of high school, I have many negative ones too. Looking back, I wish I’d been even more strong-willed when people put my style and aspirations down. We all have bad days but if you have a strong sense of who you are, you’ll overcome most challenges.


5. In Closing

At sixteen, you have so much power to dream big and with some planning, there’s no doubt that you’ll shape your future life into exactly what you want it to become. I have the utmost faith that with the determination and thirst for knowledge you possess, you’ll have great success with both design and blogging. It’s never too early to get started.


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The Latest & Greatest #2: Chartreuse

magazine typofiles typography


magazine typofiles typography


A color that’s been on my mind lately is chartreuse — it’s by far my favorite color for Spring. Over the last six months, I’ve noticed it popping up in a number of fashion shows as well as home interiors and I love the friendly jolt it adds to an otherwise neutral palette. I like chartresue so much that I used it as an accent color in many of the pieces in the My Cross To Bear series.

1. Bold Living Room, 2. Diane Von Furstenburg Fall 2012, 3. Vitra Panton Chair, 4. Mimi Holiday Bra, 5. CB2 rug and 6. J. Crew catalog outtake.


The Week In Pictures: 2.10.12

week in pictures


week in pictures

My office bookshelf, arranged by color.


week in pictures


week in pictures

week in pictures


I know I’ve been posting a lot of flower photos lately but I can’t help it because Trader Joe’s has the BEST bunches of blooms for under six bucks. You walk in and it’s impossible to avoid them. When I’m doing our grocery shopping on the weekends, a new bouquet inevitably makes its way into my cart. And, doesn’t this photo just scream Spring? If you haven’t checked out Lucky lately, the layout and content of the magazine has gotten significantly better in the last six months. And the numeral coasters were a Christmas gift from Joey.


week in pictures


Speaking of Joey, he had a big art opening at Gallery Zero over the weekend. This was his most ambitious showing yet with each painting measuring 4 feet by 4 feet. He just keeps pushing forward and I admire the determination he has when it comes to his art.


week in pictures


When I’m in a hurry, this is essentially my default uniform: a bright sweater (this one is from Zara) paired with my Rick Owens jacket. Oh, and no look is complete without neon nails!


week in pictures


My brother had a dinner party last week and when I came downstairs the next morning, a pineapple was sitting on the kitchen counter. As far as I can remember, neither of us has ever bought a pineapple in our entire lives. Thanks to the mystery guest for the gift!


week in pictures


This is on an average weekday when I’m just doing my thing and not all dressed up. The real deal.


week in pictures


I just discovered the most amazing crepes on the corner of 12th and S.E. Hawthorne. First of all, the guys are super nice and played me some Notorious B.I.G. tunes while I waited. Secondly, the pear, gouda, walnut and honey crepe they made me was heavenly. The best combination of sweet and savory ever!


week in pictures


In closing, this should give you a better idea of the scale of Joey’s newest work. These pieces are huuuuuge. I’m so proud of him! Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo


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Link Love: 2.9.12

link love


link love

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward


• Subtle Patterns is bound to be a lifesaver when you need a texture for a design project. Best of all, they’re FREE!

• Beloved interiors mag Domino is making a comeback as a special edition issue this Fall but rumor has it that none of the original team will be involved.

• Designers & is a simple tool that helps designers find and connect with printers and developers. What a great idea!

• My super talented friend Amelia Arsenic has launched her Black Heart collection of jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day!

• In case you were wondering, these were the models for the famed American Gothic painting.

• Smashing Magazine rounds up the WordPress theme trends of 2012.

• Shrinkle just did an epic recap of our LA getaway from, oh, 8 months ago! My favorite part was when she mentioned the following:

I should note that Nubby has a master memory. Being that these pics are 8 months old, I texted Gala for help with names/captions. Try as we might, neither of us could remember a damn thing. So I texted Nubby, and she responded within seconds, “Restaurant was Gjelina, dog was Nyxie.” Who remembers the name/spelling of a restaurant called Gjelina after eating there just once, 8 months ago? NUBBY, that’s who! I would have been like “Umm the restaurant was called Angelina Jolie, and the dog’s name was Nicholas.”

• Krissy goes above and beyond, gathering up the best collection of neon images out there.

• You can make these adorable valentine clip art cards designed for the Martha Stewart Crafts blog!

• The bright, poppy colors on these posters are really inspiring me at the moment.

• General Mills is bringing back retro 80s designs for many of its cereal boxes for a limited time at Target.


The Latest & Greatest #1: Keep It Graphic

magazine typofiles typography


magazine typofiles typography


Welcome to the brand new column, The Latest & Greatest, where I share a themed visual weekly recap of art, design and items that are currently inspiring me! Here’s what’s on my mind this week:

1. Brian Elston Painting, 2. Lanvin Ballerine Flats, 3. Shakuhachi Bustier Bikini, 4. Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia February 2012 Cover, 5. Robert Cergie for Carven Ursule Leather Wedge Loafers, 6. Carven Cutout Dress and 7. Kate Spade Japanese Floral Medium Storage Trunk.


The Typofiles #96: Nest Magazine

magazine typofiles typography



I first discovered Nest, a quirky quarterly interior design magazine in the Fall of 2000 at Border’s. The bright yellow exterior grabbed my attention and when I flipped through the issue (which was housed in a plastic zippered pouch), I was hooked. Instead of focusing on conventionally beautiful interiors, Nest zoomed in on the weird and outrageous. As Wikipedia notes, “During its run, Nest showed the room of a 40-year-old diaper lover, the lair of an Indonesian bird that decorates with colored stones and vomit, the final resting place of Napoleon’s penis, the quarters of Navy seamen and a barbed-wire-trimmed bed that doubled as a tank.”



I made a point to pick up an issue every time I spotted it on the newsstand until it abruptly ended its publishing run in 2004. One of my personal favorites was issue 11 which featured a cross burned through each page, cover to cover. Each issue of Nest had a completely unique theme that was always a welcome surprise.



Read more about Nest:

• A Truly Great Magazine Says Farewell
• Nest Magazine Closes
• A Champion Of the Quirky Writes Finis


What I Wore: 2.5.12 // Mad For Plaid

what i wore mad for plaid


I tend to split my outfits during the week equally between skirts and pants. And when it comes to pants, I usually stick to skinny black jeans to make getting dresses and accessorizing as simple as possible. Though, every once in awhile, I want to add a bright burst of color to my basics and these paid pants are my new favorite wardrobe addition.


what i wore mad for plaid

what i wore mad for plaid

what i wore mad for plaid


I Wore:
Plaid Pants, Tripp NYC (Asos)
Sweater, Sonia Rykiel for H&M
Stud bracelet, H&M
Bow, Forever 21
Boots, Proenza Schouler


what i wore mad for plaid


Readers: What’s your current favorite wardrobe obsession?