Life

Rising Illustrator Monica Ahanonu On Designing A World As Luxurious As You See It

Preproduction model with optional features shown
By BDG Studios

Designed To Thrill

When Los Angeles-based illustrator Monica Ahanonu first graduated from college, she seemed to be on a clear career trajectory but knew she wanted something different. “I studied animation and design, and shortly after graduation, I got a job at a prestigious animation studio. When I was there, I noticed I had a lot of interests outside of feature animation. That's when I started posting my own personal work and also just searching for what else was out there.”

Under the advice of a college mentor, Ahanonu took the road less traveled and went into freelance illustration full time. “In the beginning, it was hard. I was so used to being at a studio and them telling me, ‘This is the style you need to follow, don't do your own style.’ But then I slowly realized that the style they wanted was my style and it helped me to gain confidence over time.”