By Michele Cohen
Only a little more than a year after graduating from Moore, Illustration major Michelle Lockamy ’15 is doing great things! This comes as no surprise to faculty and staff members, who always knew the talented illustrator had a successful career ahead of her.
Lockamy currently works part time as executive director and gallery manager at the Philadelphia Sketch Club – where she interned while a student at Moore – and also works as a freelance illustrator with her business, Michelle Lockamy Illustration. She already has several clients and her own website.
“I started my business while at Moore but it took off shortly afterward,” she said. “I’m currently working on a storytelling strategy game for a Philadelphia-based indie game company. I provide the illustrations based on the descriptions and feedback that I receive. Can’t say when the game will be released, yet!”
Another of her clients is an indie author – the two have worked on a children’s book together and anticipate it being printed in the fall of 2016. Lockamy is also writing and illustrating her own children’s book about a little girl in the ocean trying to catch a fish. “It’s supposed to symbolize trying to catch success and thinking of creative ways to get to it,” she said. “I think it’s inspired by my journey. Illustration is a difficult field and you always have to think of new ways of doing things. I thought it would be a good lesson for kids, to prepare them for similar challenges. This is a book that I would have wanted to read when I was little.”
Lockamy has always been interested in children’s illustrations – she received the Macy’s Award for Excellence in Illustration at the 2015 Senior Show for her work inspired by childhood fairy tales. “I want to explore that some more and sharpen my writing skills.”
Lockamy had numerous achievements at Moore. In her senior year, she was the first runner-up and won $500 for her company, Michelle Lockamy Illustration, in Moore’s inaugural Emerging Entrepreneur’s Business Plan Prize Competition, generously sponsored by Your Part-Time Controller and an anonymous donor. The competition recognizes and celebrates the importance of business planning to successful careers in the arts through innovative thinking.
“Because we had to write a business plan, it [the competition] helped me organize my thoughts and set goals for how I wanted to run my business,” Lockamy said. “Being a Business minor as well, it helped frame my way of thinking. The professors opened my mind up to new possibilities. It was the perfect mix of classes for senior year.”
In addition to the business plan competition, Lockamy’s illustrations were showcased in the Market Street window of the Century 21 Department Store as part of an ongoing partnership with Moore.
In April 2015, Lockamy was awarded the Illustrators of the Future Grand Prize at the 31st annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards in Los Angeles, CA. She received the Golden Brush Award trophy and a cash prize of $5,000 for her winning illustration. The international contest is designed for new and amateur sci-fi and fantasy artists to be published for the first time and launch their professional careers.
“I saw the contest online and decided to enter it,” Lockamy said. “I’m always hunting for ways to get my work out there, but this was totally unexpected.”
Lockamy was flown to Hollywood to attend a weeklong series of workshops with some of the premier names in speculative fiction illustration. The week culminated with the L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards, celebrating the annual winners in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests.
In addition to being one of the twelve illustrator winners making it further than some several thousand others who entered the international competition, Lockamy also captured the overall grand prize, which included her illustration being published in the best-selling science fiction anthology series – L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 31.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “It was a great way to start my professional career and it came at a good time. I was able to put the money right into my business. It helped me save up for a new computer and work station.”
Lockamy, currently living in Browns Mills, NJ, said she has been drawing for as long as she can remember. She first took art classes in high school. There, she got her first Wacom tablet and was introduced to digital tools as a medium. She also taught herself Photoshop.
When she came to Moore, Lockamy realized that illustration was her calling. “I thought I’d be a fine artist at first, but I liked illustration because my work could appear on things, instead of only being on a wall,” she said. “As a kid I liked making little books, so it seemed to apply.”
She chose to attend Moore because of its small size and the comforting sense of community. She liked that her professors knew her by name, and that her peers were so welcoming. She also thought that attending an all women’s college would be less of a distraction.
Lockamy received the Moore College Board Scholarship and the Dorothy Tomkins Warner ’29 Endowed Illustration Scholarship. Her Octopus Librarian was selected for a large banner that was hung in front of Moore’s building in 2014.
Lockamy returned to Moore for the 2016 Senior Show and said she couldn’t believe how fast a year had passed. “It was very surreal, like walking on the moon,” she said. She was grateful for the opportunity to catch up with her friends, too.