Building a Portfolio of Creativity and Confidence

Over the last year, Create Magazine featured the 2017–2018 cohort of Adobe’s Creative Residency program and some of their work. Before we send them on to their next creative adventure, here’s a wrap of the most important lessons they learned from the experience.



Jessica Bellamy of Louisville, Kentucky, weaves data and visual stories into beautiful, impactful infographics. Her “Graphic Ally Hackathons” help grassroots organizations learn how to communicate with infographics. Her Designing from the Margins series discusses cultural and systemic design issues.

“Don't be afraid to be the first. I have always found new ways to express myself in really niche and nontraditional forms. Currently that means being an infographic designer who focuses on social change initiatives and developing what that can look like and what that can mean. Don't be afraid to start a new market. Always be ambitious, but be flexible with yourself. Once you're able to be more resilient in your creation, you're kind of unstoppable.”


Julia Nimke is a master photographer based in Berlin, Germany, and working in portrait, editorial, and lifestyle photography. She spent the year documenting regional folktales by finding local people to read the stories while she recorded with a microphone and camera.

“Through this creative journey, I am most proud of having found my very own style. I think as an artist it is important to experience many different art forms to discover the one thing that you love doing and are good at. By truly finding your own artistic style, you'll be able to enter projects with more depth and consistency. When you follow your passion and love what you do, something beautiful develops from it, and you'll touch people.”


Aundre Larrow is a photographer and storyteller based in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. He is currently perfecting the art of fully immersive portraits with audio, photographs, and video.

“Shoot a lot, write a lot, illustrate a lot, and figure out things that inspire you. At the beginning of the residency, I got a lot of anxiety. I was afraid of what my photos were going to look like. What if the finished product that I put out there wasn’t exactly what I said it was going to be? But once I got into the habit of not being afraid, it became natural to take a jump into the unknown and keep evolving. Some of the stuff you do isn’t going to work, and some of it is going to work better than you thought. You’re not going to know how effective it is until you try.”


Chelsea Burton is a graphic designer and illustrator from Cleveland, Ohio. She has a passion for designing visual identities and most recently tackled the art of designing and constructing skateboards as a way to express consumer creativity and individuality.

“I call it my focus triangle: Understanding your passion, having patience within the practice and knowing that things take time, and always having a positive perception (or at least reminding yourself to have a positive perception). Sometimes you get into a self-criticism rut where you're dwelling on your work and the progress that you think you're not making. But you're in control of your perception. You always have the ability to turn it around 180 degrees and say, ‘You know what, I'm actually learning something from this, and I'm gaining something from this experience.’ Even though it seems hard, there's always a positive thing you can pull out of any situation.”


Natalie Lew is an interaction designer from Redmond, Washington. She conducted research on the relationship between how millennials like to meet each other and how they perceive networking. The result is Vit, an app prototype designed to solve the problem of how to get the most from networking experiences.

“The most important thing that I have learned from this experience is to trust in and rely on myself. Coming from my undergrad experience to the residency, I was questioning if I was accomplished enough to take this on. It was a test in self-confidence. But I think that trusting your instincts and working on the things that you're excited about allows your faith in yourself to grow. In a world of differing opinions and criticisms, it’s so important to be able to rely on your instincts and the work that you've done so that you can have the strength to put your foot down when you need to and say, ‘I feel like this is successful. I feel like I'm doing a good job.’ That type of internal creative confidence is the boost you need to see a project through to the finish.”


Rosa Kammermeier, based in Munich, Germany, is a lettering expert and lover of all things type. Her positive, hand-lettered messages in city settings show grumpy urbanites the way to happiness.

“Before the residency, I was always overthinking potential projects. I would dwell on all the problems that could come up and the things that could not work out. My advice for other artists is, 'Don’t hesitate.' If there is a project that captures your imagination, just do it. If it doesn't work out, it's not that bad. What's the worst thing that can happen to you? Failure can be a powerful thing. Stop worrying about what other people will think. If it excites you, give it a try. Don’t hesitate.”

Adobe's Creative Residency program enables emerging creatives to devote one year to a personal creative project and share its progress with the community. Learn more about the Adobe Creative Residency and stay tuned for an introduction to the 2018–2019 creative residents.

April 18, 2018