By Jordan McBride
As parents begin the first of many back-to-school shopping trips this month, they may notice a remarkable new design on the shelf – a notebook bearing a colorful illustration by a Johnson County native.
Jalynn Heerdt, a 2016 graduate of Goreville High School, was a student at Murray State University in the Studio Art program studying graphic design when she came up with the drawing. The illustration, a bright and colorful Giraffe with thick, pink-rimmed glasses, is in the middle of blowing a large bubblegum bubble. The words, “Be your fabulous self” are emblazoned across the top in a stylized font. That image, which got its start as a digital drawing posted to Jalynn’s social media page, is now featured on a line of stylized notebooks at Targets across the country.
Jalynn drew the original design in 2018. “I use an iPad Pro with the app Procreate, and then transfer it to my computer and work in Adobe Illustrator,” she said, “I posted it to my art account on Instagram not thinking much of it. I was still new to hand lettering and design and didn’t expect anything to come from it.”
Some time after posting the drawing, a representative from Top Flight, Inc., a paper company out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, reached out through the app. The company is a large manufacturer of various school supplies, including the line of stylish notebooks Jalynn’s design was ultimately featured on.
“They were interested in purchasing [the design] for a notebook… I agreed and then we worked together for a few months and edits and adjustments.” Earlier this year, Jalynn received an email from Top Flight saying they had pitched the giraffe design to Target Corporation, and that Target had purchased it for their 2020 back-to-school line.
One of the things Jalynn learned from the experience is “post your work! Don’t be afraid to share because you never know what could come out of it!”
Jalynn has some advice for other aspiring artists or designers as well. “Always be in the process of making something new. The more you make, the better you will get and the faster you’ll learn what works. It’s a process of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes.” She also encourages everyone to find other people and artists that inspire you and dig into what attracts you to their work.
Jalynn said it was always her dream to live in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from Murray State, Jalynn received a job offer from The Clever Factory in Nashville, and she is now doing just that. You can follow her journey on Instagram at @jalynncreates, or on jalynncreates.com.