An interview with Get it Girl

The motion design industry is constantly evolving, albeit slowly. A measurable change is happening.

As the definition of what motion design is and can be evolves, so too does our workforce. Long gone are the days where the vast majority of those working in this field are bearded dudes in flannels with a penchant for tech.

As our field has become less insular, you can now find individuals working within our industry that span the gamut of background and focus, many of whom weren’t initially “motion designers” but now find themselves working in this field.

In many ways, Get it Girl embodies much of these changes and where the motion design field is going. Amelia Giller, Audrey Lee, Xoana Herrera, and Kaitlyn Mahoney all come from different backgrounds with different perspectives and are all connected by the amazing quality of their work and above all else their positivity.

In this Motionographer Q&A, we chat with them to find out more about Get it Girl and get an inside look at where some of the best illustration in our industry is coming from!

Q&A with Get it Girl

First, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Xoana: I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was a graphic designer back in my country, and 4 years ago Buck called me and my husband to do an internship in the Los Angeles office. With my suitcase full of fears, and without knowing a single word in English, I started one of the biggest adventures of my life.

Audrey: I’m an L.A. native illustrator and designer. I went to Otis College of Art and Design majoring in Concept Design where I learned the labor of love in visual development. I have worked at Buck for the past 3 years, and my style ranges in different variations from highly illustrative to very minimal pieces.

Amelia: I’m originally from Texas. I moved to California for my MFA in animation at USC. I’m an art director at Buck and do a bunch of editorial work for places like Teen Vogue, The New York Times and Nylon. I’m obsessed with my puppy, Spot, who is about 6 months old.

Kaitlyn: And I’m a producer originally from Sydney, Australia. I moved to Los Angeles about 4 years ago to pursue a career in production at Buck. I’ve always loved design and animation, so being able to partner up with these super talented ladies has been a dream!

So what exactly  is Get it Girl and what inspired you to make it?

Amelia: Get It Girl is an illustration collective that highlights the female experience. We are composed of three illustrators (Audrey Lee, Amelia Giller, and Xoana Herrera) and a producer (Kaitlyn Mahoney). Once a month we decide on a way to collaborate – whether it be a theme for a series of illustrations, a new technique we want to learn or a larger project we want to take on.

Xoana: What inspires me the most about this amazing collective is having the chance to try different ways to express myself. I have found a place where I can satisfy my needs as an artist. I am inspired by Amelia, Audrey and Kaitlyn because we encourage each other as a team and because having the chance of to watch them create and share their creative process is a great reward.

Audrey: Yeah, surrounding myself with good people who happen to be amazing artists definitely has a huge impact on me. But to grow and evolve as an artist, while keeping yourself grounded around peers who strive for the same growth is super key. I consider myself very lucky to be with these hard-working, badass ladies on the daily!

Kaitlyn: I think what makes us particularly unique coming together is that our voices represent experiences of women from all different cultures and parts of the world. Xoana and I are clear case as expats from Argentina and Australia respectively, but Amelia’s Jewish/Texan upbringing and Audrey’s first generation Korean/American background also bring a great range of diversity to our collective work (and conversations!) It was particularly fun for us to make our May Monthly theme ‘Hometown’ as the girls got to explore their unique influences through their art.

How did this all come about and what is it, to you, that makes collaboration so important?

Amelia: We all met at Buck in Los Angeles. I had been wanting to start a collective for a while and making one with these awesome ladies just seemed like a no-brainer.

Kaitlyn: It’s true! Amelia approached Xoana, Audrey and I with the idea of starting a collective with a female focus that we all hoped would help inspire one another to create more personal work. It might have been a bit of an excuse to create a girl-club a first, but in doing so we’ve started to connect on a deeper level and begun to see a community form around it! These girls are exciting and challenging one another, and from what I can see are creating some of their best work in a very encouraging and supportive environment.

Audrey: In this industry you have to get used to seeing your work either flourish or get tossed in the shredder. With Get it Girl we really wanted to create a fun environment where we can freely explore different styles and methods on topics that excite us or mean a lot to us. Collaborating has been a really cool way to see how one idea can be translated in so many different ways through our individual approaches to our monthly themes.

Xoana: As women, I believe we should feel comfortable to combine and consolidate not only our strengths but also our weaknesses too. It is important to have a voice as an artist and to keep developing it, and doing that through a collective has helped a lot to keep us both creative and accountable. It gives us a good excuse to create a new piece that represents our point of view, and it also has given us a chance to grow up a lot and learn from our friends and partners. As John Ruskin said: When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece

How do you feel you complement one another?

Audrey: I think our illustrative vibes feel in sync, but each of us have our own style that keeps the collective feeling fresh. It’s really cool how the three of us came from different backgrounds in terms of where we grew up and what we studied in school, so we have a unique approach in our technique and interpretations on particular topics.

Amelia: Sometimes, people think we work in the same style. Which is partly true – our work all reflect current trends and often the same subject matter. Our illustrations complement each other very naturally – which is why this collective works so well. However, Xoana’s work is very fluid and playful. I can spot her figures a mile away. Audrey’s characters are so perfect and full of personality and individuality. My work is pretty loose and wobbly and can sit somewhere close to Xoana’s and Audrey’s.

Kaitlyn: I personally love how the work of these three ladies sit together. Their styles are unique but complementary, and when brought together as a collective the art gels effortlessly together.

So right now, you all work in animation but each of you didn’t necessarily start out as animators in the traditional sense (Amelia excluded). What do you think it is about this field that attracts so many people and what do you find special about working in animation? 

Amelia: We all grew up watching Disney films – especially our generation. I think that is where most people in this industry got their first taste of animation and the wonders of it. I remember learning that the Little Mermaid was drawn frame by frame and my mind just exploded. The magnitude and precision of making something like a Disney film really pulled me (and a lot of people like me) toward wanting to create in animation. But the great thing about working in animation today is that there are sooo many styles now and all of them are all over the internet. It’s such a fun time to be a part of a world-wide, animation making community.

Xoana: The idea of thinking in movement is something that I think attracts people’s attention. You can transform an illustration into something new, and you can actually change the meaning of that design and play with a lot of options. The special thing about working in animation is that you need to think and consider beyond the design you created – you need to achieve an open mind and think ways to create something that it doesn’t exist yet. My career was originally focused on graphic design so at first it was a little harder to understand the process, but having watched and learned from the people I have worked with has humbled me in the understanding of all the work behind animation.

Audrey: I’ve always been very fascinated and in awe of the intense labor of animation, but the results that come from it is even more mind-blowing. There’s something really magical about having something you create become animated and come to life through the eyes of another artist- the animator. It’s another example of how important and interesting collaborating can be because everyone can bring something to the table and make the final piece even greater.

Kaitlyn: Working on the production management side of things has given me the opportunity to work with a lot of really amazing people, but having never studied art or motion design what really struck me most about animation was coming to the recognition that these artists are all fundamentally actors who draw or keyframe their stories. Their precision, observational skills and keen eye for nuance never cease to amaze me, and somehow through hours upon hours of detail-oriented work they arrive at something that conveys this feeling of real motion, and suddenly after reviewing many WIPs… it just feels ‘right.’ The response you get as a viewer of that sort of artistry is deeply impressive and exciting, and for me is the reason why it’s so attractive to work in.

Your work together seems to all fit into of the realm of personal work. Do you see this expanding into client and commissioned work?

Xoana: We love everything that has been happening with the collective so far, we like that this space gives us the freedom to explore our own voices, so it’s not hard to dream about the prospect of making a living from this one day. Who knows!

Audrey: For us, what’s most important right now is that whatever we make out of this collective, it will be fun and we will continue to motivate each other to make more cool $h!t.

As things continue to evolve, what would your ideal commission be?

All: A mural!

Audrey: We’d also love to have a gallery exhibit to showcase the pieces of all our collaborations. A gallery that is both female-powered and woman-centric… how awesome would that be?!

Is there a way for others to get involved?

Kaitlyn: Yes! We’ve had such a great community response to Get it Girl during this first year that we really wanted to create an avenue to involve other inspiring women in our industry too. So, in September Get it Girl introduced our monthly guest collaborations, an ongoing project where we invite artists we admire to collaborate on our monthly themes! So far we’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with two outstanding female artists; Justyna Stasik and Daiana Ruiz, both of whom we all adore so much and who blew us away with their amazing talent. We’re really excited to work with many artists through this project, foster a space for bold feminist art, and make more friendships as we go along! We also have a little surprise in store for our November monthly theme, so keep a look out!

Finally, what’s next for Get it Girl?

Audrey: When we first started Get it Girl, we didn’t really anticipate how much of an impact it would have on other female artists in what has been a “male dominant” industry. But hearing how this collective has been so inspiring to others really makes me proud of what we’re doing. My hope is that our passion will continue on and we’ll give more female artists a voice and a chance to inspire others.

Amelia: There is so much potential in the collaboration with these women. I can see so many projects and dreams branching out from what we have really only just begun. I know that in the future we want to make more work on a bigger scale – maybe that means a mural, a line of prints or even bigger commissioned work. It’s exciting to think of what is next!


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About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.

One Comment

Lana Simanenkova

I love your work so much! Its such a fresh take on the female experience and you flesh it out so well in your designs and illustrations.
Would be lovely to see you collaborate with girl animators as well.

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