Arts and crafts time was always my favorite as a kid; yet, I could never quite make that hand look like a turkey or those blank papers fold into a beautiful origami bird. Luckily, not everyone is as creatively challenged as I am. Three locals in particular have unique visions of design, illustration, photography and visual art, and they can actually make their ideas come to life in spectacular ways.
Stacey Jemison, Evalyn “Evie” German and Nosheen Iqbal are providing a fresh take on design to the area—both in their day jobs and in their side gigs. And the best part about it? These women are all friends, who use their talent to build each other up. Maybe their creativity will inspire you to follow your own passion or (like me) help you to better appreciate those who do.
Stacey Jemison, Photographer
Looking at Stacey Jemison’s photographs, you would never guess that she was not always drawn to a camera. After traveling around the U.S. as a waitstaff trainer for a chain restaurant immediately after her high school graduation, Jemison found her way to Austin, Texas. She worked as a bartender and signed up for a photography class on a whim.
“I fell in love with the darkroom immediately, and it was hard to get me to leave,” she said. “I was always interested in art and fashion, but it wasn’t until I developed my first roll of film in college that I knew I was hooked.”
Jemison graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce with a degree in commercial photography and then interned with a photographer in New York City. Later, she moved back to Texas, where she worked her way up from a photography assistant to being the one behind the camera. Now, she owns her own studio and loves creating the perfect shots for her clients.
However, snapping photos is just one small part of Jemison’s average day. She explained that the hardest part of her job is actually managing personalities on set. Since she is responsible for the success of the final images, Jemison has to work to make sure the models, art directors, producers and clients are all on the same page. Her ability to manage is just as important as her photography skills.
“I have developed a knack for understanding what the client wants and interpreting that into a style and look that is unique to them,” Jemison said. “I tend to like compositions that evoke a certain mood, whether that be fun and whimsical or dark and moody. I absolutely love the feeling that happens when all the moving parts sync up and we run smoothly and create something even better than we had envisioned. When the client is thrilled with the final images, it never gets old!”
Even though the photography industry can be difficult, Jemison keeps a positive attitude, works hard and always gives her clients the best she can. During her free time, she loves exploring Richardson and enjoying the mom life.
“Richardson has all the amenities of the bigger cities that I have lived in, but on a little slower pace,” she said. “I love all the trees and creeks and adventuring with my daughter.”
Evalyn “Evie” German, Designer and Illustrator
When your parents are creative people who encouraged drawing, singing, crafts and music growing up, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the arts. At least that was the case for Evie German who has wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a graphic designer since she was a young girl. “I was exposed to that field early on, and I loved the idea of communicating through words and pictures,” she said.
When she got older, German received her bachelor’s degree in communication design from the University of North Texas. Her first job out of college was working at a small design boutique called Sibley Peteet Design, where she gained valuable experience and met her husband. After taking a few more positions with different companies, she finally found her home at Fossil Group Inc.
“Over the past 11 years, I have had the pleasure of working with and managing the most talented people in the area,” German said. She has executed or art directed catalogs, packaging, wholesale assets, in-store point of sale, paid media, seasonal product photography, websites, emails and more.
Although she works hard all day long, her creative mind is never put to rest. When she has time off, German stays busy with her side illustration business called whatevie.
“At Fossil, my design is heavily inspired and influenced by vintage design, art and aesthetics,” she said. “At home, I mainly illustrate children, animals and bugs with a designer’s eye for color and a soft spot for kiddos. My favorite part of my job is enriching someone’s life in some way through visual communication. The hardest part is juggling everything without dropping any balls. I’m always trying to find the right balance between my own workload, managing a small team, my whatevie illustration work and being a great mom and loving wife.”
Exploring Richardson can be a nice break for German. She loves camping with her family, seeing movies at the Alamo Drafthouse, drinking coffee at Pearl Cup, eating at Chipotle and buying her children ice cream at Sweet Firefly.
Nosheen Iqbal, Illustrator and Visual Artist
Growing up in Surrey, England, made Nosheen Iqbal creatively inclined from an early age. After going to museums and galleries, she would spend her days drawing or painting everything around her, taking photos to document small towns and villages, and journaling her experiences. Her love of art did not fade after moving to Richardson in her teens. She went on to graduate from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in communication design, where she was able to learn more about graphic design and textiles while incorporating her culture.
“A lot of my style inspiration is derived from my Pakistan and Islamic heritage,” Iqbal said. “Pakistani culture is rich in calligraphy, mosaic work, weaving and embroidery.”
Iqbal was hired as a full-time designer at Fossil before graduation. She went from working on the catalog team to becoming a lead designer for the Fossil women watch design team. After 12 years, she left her job to consult as a creative director for a small watch brand, and then began freelance illustration for paper crafting companies like Hobby Lobby, Joann and Michaels.
On the side, Iqbal has a visual art business called Noshii.
“I began playing with wood and thread and how it would look embroidered through,” she said. She was able to create an embroidered installation for the Hermes store in Highland Park, and then started receiving commissions for more work and invitations to teach embroidery workshops.
“My artwork is a unique mix of an age-old technique against the backdrop of modern material,” Iqbal said. “I believe in art that is pleasing to the eye, but is also sustainable and eco-friendly. I create pieces for the home and a few pieces with the whimsical nature of children in mind. I love having the freedom to create pieces from my own vision, mixing color palettes and brainstorming ideas.”
The hardest part of her job is juggling her freelance illustration day job and her embroidery work, while being the mother of two bubbly little girls. But it’s worth it to her because she loves having “time to share it with my children as they watch me create something from nothing.”
On the rare day off, Iqbal loves spending time in Richardson, trying restaurants and going on nature walks with her kids.
“Richardson is wonderful!” she said. “The culture is great and visiting the different festivals is always a must.”
Sydni Ellis earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. In the spirit of spontaneity, she lives her life with a pen in one hand and her video camera in the other, always ready to capture the next great story.
Although they met through their jobs at Fossil—Stacey as a catalog photographer, Evie as a senior art director and Nosheen as product designer—these ladies love getting together to talk business and vent about the difficulties of being working moms. Think it’s hard being friends with your competition? Let them explain.
Stacey: “I have always enjoyed working with Evie. She is one of those people that always pushes me to do better work. And Nosheen is an all-around creative mind. We have gotten together over lunch several times and talked about what it is like to start and run our own businesses while raising our kids at the same time.”
Evie: “Stacey is an amazing and talented photographer. Having friends in the creative field is wonderful. We support, encourage and push each other to be the best we can be.”
Nosheen: “Stacey and I naturally gravitated to each other to create a creative collective. As a creative, no matter which field you are in, it is important to have like-minded peers around you to share ideas, get input and keep you sane. I also enjoyed working with Evie at Fossil—she has such talent!”
Hire a Designer!
Interested in hiring one of these women for a project? Find out more from the ladies themselves.
Who can hire you for photography?
Anyone can hire me! My clients include everyone from artists and musicians to publicly held corporations. I do feel that I am at my best when I collaborate with businesses to help them create a visual brand. I do everything from product to lifestyle photography.
How much do you charge?
There is a range, depending on what type of photography and how much time it is going to take to execute.
What type of things do you shoot for?
I shoot for magazines, print materials, advertising, store graphics, web, social media and video projects.
Who can hire you for illustration or design?
Anyone! Individuals and companies.
How much do you charge?
It depends. Children’s portraits are between $65 and $230 depending on size, details and number of children. General illustration is between $100 to $1,000 depending on size and complexity. Calligraphy on wedding invites is between $1 and $3 per envelope. Logo design starts at $200. More detailed design work could be $500+ depending on complexity.
What type of things do you design for?
Magazines, books, email, websites, logos, business cards, wedding invitations, hand calligraphy and so much more.
Who can hire you for art or illustration?
Anyone and everyone can hire me, both for commissions in embroidery work and illustration.
How much do you charge?
My embroidery pieces range from $35 and up. Some of my larger pieces are about $300. For my illustration work, my rates vary per project and scope.
What type of things do you design for?
My illustration work is predominately surfaces design, anything from textiles to packaging. My embroidery work consists of home accessories and wall/installation art.