Where are they now? GTS 2013 finalist Vesper Stamper

This week we are sharing a series of stories from the 2013 Global Talent Search Finalists. This includes our Special Studio winner Daniel Roode, and our four runners up, Emily Balsley, Josephine Kimberling, Lizzie Mackay and Vesper Stamper.

Today we are checking in with Vesper Stamper, who was the People’s Choice Finalist…


What have you have been up to since the 2013 GTS competition?

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since the first Global Talent Search! So much has happened, and time has just flown by. When I was voted the People’s Choice Finalist in the 2013 GTS, it showed me possibilities beyond what I had been doing, even after 15 years as a freelance illustrator.
I took a hard look at where I was in my career and decided I needed to make some big moves, take some big risks. I decided to go for a dream I had held for years: to pursue my Master’s. I took a chance, and was one of just a handful of candidates admitted to my dream program: the MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay at the School of Visual Arts, which I will start this fall. I am over the moon! September cannot come soon enough – I look forward to the explosive growth that this intensive program inevitably catalyzes in its graduates. As they say – go big or go home!
What are you most proud of?
At the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference in New Jersey this June, I won both top prizes for the juried show—the Juried and the Member’s Choice! I’ll have a meeting at a major publishing house this fall. Immediately, I’ve had interest from several agents about my picture book work. It’s given me new confidence in my work and what I, individually, have to offer.
Juried show winning entry
I have to say that even with the huge successes that have come my way this year, I’ve had to make doubly sure that my priorities are in order. I’m so passionate about my work, it’s easy to let it consume me! But work is so much richer when balanced with the other parts of life. I’ve learned to take better care of myself and my family, and to nurture my soul, where the creativity comes from—the deepest inspiration isn’t always found at the drawing table!
What did you learn as a result of participating in the Global Talent Search?
Doing the GTS taught me so much. Most of all, I’ve gained a new level of trust for my instinct. It’s been true every time: when I do that and don’t worry about “fitting in” with a certain trend or whether or not I’m the “best” (and there’s no such thing in art!), the work always gets the greatest response. I’ve learned to be ruthless with myself when it comes to showing only my strongest work in submissions (no weak links—if in doubt, leave it out!), but also to trust what is most satisfying to me in my work: a combination of open, painterly space and decorative detail. It’s in staying true to those proclivities, while adapting them to the market you’re pursuing, that helps you stand out from the crowd in your individual style.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering GTS this year?
If I could give one piece of advice for entrants this year, besides “trust your gut”, it would be to unplug as much as possible. Cultivate an analog life. Even if digital is your primary medium, we artists need to be as connected to our senses and the real world around us as possible. It’s tempting to spend so much time researching and promoting that we neglect the things that nurture us: nature, self-care, and especially relationships.
I’m grateful for everyone’s support in the People’s Choice last year, and to Lilla and the Studio Ladies for being so warm and encouraging! Good luck in this year’s competition, everyone!

All images courtesy of Vesper Stamper. Find out more and connect with Vesper here: website / blog / facebook / twitter

Taking part in the Global Talent Search is fun and will challenge you. If you get to the semi-final (shortlist of top 50) your work will get in front of our stellar panel of judges from across the industry. If you get to the final, by then thousands of people will have seen your work. And the winner wins all of these amazing prizes, including 2 years’ representation from Lilla Rogers Studio. Last year’s winner nearly didn’t enter because she didn’t know if she was ready, or ‘good enough. She was and she won. So might you. But you have to be in it to win it. REGISTER NOW!


1 Comment

  • I loved Vesper’s work, both her writing and illustrating, from the time I met her first at a SCBWI conference in June 2013, but it is a pleasure to see how much stronger her work got. Way to go Vesper! You deserve all the good things lining up for you!

    July 28, 2014

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