Jess Lowcher

Book Designer

“Put yourself in situations that allow you to meet new people and form genuine connections. ”


Mount Maunganui, New Zealand


New Zealand

Average Work Week

50 + hours

I’m now 28 and am originally from the Outer Banks. Creative activities have always been something I loved to do growing up but I denied myself the idea that I’d ever be able to pursue a creative field as a realistic career and went into the sciences for my undergrad. 

When I was 22 and just about to graduate, I felt deeply unsatisfied with the career routes that at the time seemed like my ‘only options’. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and could feel the pressure of society pushing me in a direction that didn’t feel right for me (ie applying to grad school or working for an ‘innovative’  insurance company). 

At 23, I bought a one-way plane ticket to New Zealand thinking that an adventure somewhere new, might help me figure things out. It was here that I happened to meet people who encouraged my interest in entrepreneurship and where I allowed myself the chance to deep dive into the creative outlets that interested me. I think it was the action of just ‘doing’ and sharing my work with others that led to the paid opportunities.  

Some major achievements for me so far have been publishing our  two children’s books with Tribe of Daughters, receiving the ‘Amateur Filmmaker Award’ in 2018 from the Aoteaora Surf Film Festival which is a NZ wide surf film contest, and having figured out a way to create my own income and be my own boss.

My Advice

For learning to illustrate – Start by taking as many classes as you can, watch as many youtube tutorials you can, take notes on materials your favourite illustrators use then try them out. Practice and share as much as you can with your audience. Don’t stop sharing your work, it helps to engage others in what you are doing and creates an interested audience that may one day be your clients.

For starting self-employed work – Put yourself in situations that allow you to meet new people and form genuine connections. For me, it was and still is these genuine connections that land me most of my work. Start by setting yourself quarterly goals. Bite sized tasks/achievements you can try to hit in the span of 3 months. This allows you to start your goal setting any time of the year (and you can’t use the excuse of having to wait until the New Year).  It’s such a great way to measure your personal growth and an easy way to see & feel your improvement throughout the year. So for me, I set myself a timeline to learn new things, finish specific jobs, or hit a revenue target.

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Featured Article

Children’s Book Illustrator Talks Surfing, Being Self-Published, and Creating with Her Sister

Jess Lowcher co-founded the book brand, Tribe of Daughters, from New Zealand.

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