By Rachel Battleson
Creating things has always been what makes me happy. In childhood it was my way to escape boredom; in adulthood it’s my way to escape monotony. I believe that something handmade or custom designed just holds an extra special bit of attention from its receiver. It adds the personal touch that reflects meaning and investment from its giver.
As kids, my sister and I drew incessantly. We didn’t play purchased board games or puzzles in the car; we drew our own. I had my first exercise in page layout at my Grandmother’s when I used to find notebook paper and Sears catalog pictures to construct “newspapers” illustration and all. Our family knew the go-to gift for me was an art set. Doodling is what I remember more from grade school than any science lab or book report. I was always the strongest student in my art classes; the art teacher was the only one who could hold my attention.
In college, I tried several majors — Psychology, Sociology, Communications, etc. By my junior year, when all my classmates were honing in and focusing on their chosen majors, I was still on the fence. I was creating plenty of art, though, in my involvement in sorority life. I hand painted anything and everything I could find that I felt would be better suited with my letters and mascot on it. I had never thought seriously enough about a career in my hobby, however, to consider IT to be a major option until I decided to think hard about one day graduating. I didn’t invest too much in the idea that one’s major was necessarily their career path, so I just thought to myself: What makes me happy? What would I ENJOY doing for the next two years in order to get out of here?
My first classes were simple consisting of classes such as basic 2D design and painting. My friends and I joked that I was taking the easy way out. THEN second semester came. It was quickly apparent that the School of Art was the most work-intensive department in school! My “easy” two years would quickly expand to 3 ½ years. Class didn’t end at the end of the period; the art building was open 24/7 and was never empty. I found I LOVED it and genuinely cared so much about all of my assignments. I didn’t feel as though I was doing work because I was told to, but because I was given the direction and opportunity to.
When I finished my last exam, I hopped in the U-Haul and moved back to Coronado, California, where my family was originally from and my heart never left. For work, I applied at multiple design agencies with no luck. The old “can’t get a job without experience/can’t get experience without a job” theory rang true. Fortunately, the “it’s all in who you know” theory did. A fellow art alum from Longwood offered me a job working at Hewlett Packard leading to a short career in office design. I was able to do some volunteer design work there and met a few people who gave me the chance to do some side work. While on my first maternity leave, I started my freelance graphic design business, “Print Candy Design.”
In March of this year, I made Print Candy Design a full time venture. My business is built around the idea of creating printed eye-candy. I offer services such as company branding and re-branding, corporate identity packages, printed marketing materials and collateral, website and web advertisement design, trade show booth design, and custom correspondence.
Motivated by the joy I received from illustrating my Grandmother’s children’s book, Always Emily, and the great love I have for using my toddlers as an excuse for non-stop art projects, I am also pursuing painting. I am currently accepting commissions to hand paint wooden letters to adorn a child’s room or nursery, customized to match their décor. I will soon be opening an online store devoted to selling these and other handmade nursery decor and personal correspondence sets, all completely customized.
I could not be happier about where I am and the freedom I have to pursue my abilities from such a beautiful spot in the world. I look forward to where Print Candy Design takes me and to working with those that share my love and passion for a personal touch on their message!
For information on design services for your business or handmade gifts, my email is Rachel@PrintCandyDesign.com. My portfolio can be viewed at: www.printcandydesign.com. If you’re a Facebooker, you can find me at: www.facebook.com/PrintCandyDesign!
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: I had the privilege of a memorable visit with this creative, inspired, and aspiring young design artist. Rachel Battleson is a dedicated mother of two young sons, whom she affectionately calls her “twins” as they are so much alike, are inseparable, and get along so well. She free lances full time while creating her experience as a single mother into an art form as well.
Currently, she has been decorating her younger sister’s nursery for their firstborn, London, with customized lettering and decor. Regina and Rachel could be said to be like “twins” themselves as they were also so close as children with the shared passion of creating art. As young adults, they entered contests together in which their pieces were selected for awards in the 2004 National Arts Competition in Virginia. At present, the two sisters live next door to one another in cozy beach bungalows. Both the Battleson sisters managed to find their ways back to their hometown of Coronado where they join their mother, Helen Nichols Murphy Battleson.
While attending college back east, Rachel served on a creative design team who created the new logo for their team, the Longwood University Lancers.
Rachel’s grandmother, Mariella Mumaw Battleson, has written and published two books. Rachel completely illustrated, Always Emily, and it is available through Amazon.com.