PK 152: Want to Become a Magazine Designer or Illustrator? How Katie Buckleitner landed her dream job at Cosmopolitan.

PK 152: Want to Become a Magazine Designer or Illustrator? How Katie Buckleitner landed her dream job at Cosmopolitan. 2 pk 152 become a magazine designer pencil kings podcast

Want to become a magazine designer or illustrator…but don’t know where to start?

In this week’s interview, we hear how Katie Buckleitner landed her dream job as a digital designer for one of the world’s most iconic publications, Cosmopolitan Magazine, in New York.

You’ll hear how she worked on her skills and transitioned into graphic design after initially studying fine art at college, and you’ll find out how you can do the same by developing standout personal projects to put in your portfolio.

And, you’ll get a fascinating insight into the fast-paced world of a leading magazine and what it’s really like to work in this exciting environment.

Want to Become a Magazine Designer? Katie’s Story


“It doesn’t have to be perfect to be done. You can always rework it.

~ Katie Buckleitner.

Interview Chapters:


Introduction and Overview

Your host, Mitch Bowler, introduces today’s guest, Katie Buckleitner, a digital designer for Cosmopolitan Magazine in New York.

In this chapter, she talks about her background as an artist and designer, including the previous work experience which led up to Katie landing her dream job.


What Does the Creative Industry Mean to Katie?

A few years ago, Ian and his family made the bold decision to swap the hustle and bustle of urban American life for the more serene surroundings of a small coastal town in Mexico.

In this chapter, he explains why he did this, and how escaping the noise of the city has helped him find a new inner calm.


Did Katie Always Work as a Digital Designer?

These days, Katie’s duties involve designing cool stuff specifically for online publication.

But did she always work in this area…or did she cut her teeth working as a print designer beforehand?


What’s it Like to Land Your Dream Job as a Designer in New York?

On paper, Katie’s job sounds ideal. But what’s it live and work in New York…and how does it feel to be part of the team on the number-one young women’s magazine in the world?


How Did Katie Get Started in her Career?

Katie has landed her dream job at Cosmo, but how did she get started as an artist?

In this chapter, you’ll hear how her earlier experiences as a fine art student and keen interest in fashion eventually led to her becoming a digital designer.


Did Katie Have a Job Lined up Before Moving to New York?

Many young artists and designers dream of moving to a big city such as New York and finding their dream role. But does it really ever work out like that?

In this chapter, Katie reveals why she took the decision to move to the ‘big apple’…and why the advice of her art tutors in college turned out to be right after all.


How Long did it Take Katie to Find her Dream job?

Finding her dream job didn’t happen immediately for Katie. In fact, it was only after months of applying that she found her position at Cosmo.

In this chapter, she reveals what she thinks helped her land this role…and how you can take the same steps to become a magazine designer by having a portfolio that gets you noticed.


What has Katie Learned From Working on Personal Projects?

Although Katie started out as a fine artist, her portfolio gradually developed to incorporate many of the design elements which also interest her.

So what did she learn from working on personal projects…and how can doing this help you build a varied portfolio if you want to become a magazine designer?


How is Being a Designer Different to Being a Fine Artist?

Although fine art and graphic design fall under the same banner of ‘creative careers’, there are lots of differences between these two areas.

In this section, you’ll hear how Katie switched from one to the other, but why she still loves to wind down after a hard day at the computer by picking up her sketchbook and pencil.


How Does Katie Find Time to Work on Personal Projects?

Like many of us, Katie sometimes feels drained after a day in the office and doesn’t always have the mental energy to start working on personal projects.

However, she gets around this by motivating herself to do paintings as gifts for friends, or pursuing her other passion for interior design.

So, if you work a 9-5 and often find yourself lacking in motivation for making art, this chapter should give you some good ideas to incorporate into your regular lifestyle.


Did Katie aim for a Particular Style in her Portfolio?

When you’re putting together your portfolio, you might wonder if you should be producing work in a particular style to get noticed.

In this chapter, Katie explains why she feels her love of infographics and attention to design principles such as visual hierarchy helped her create a body of work which stood out from the rest.

And, in this section, you’ll hear why many of these principles are such a key part of her current role as a digital designer.


What Does a Typical day Working at Cosmopolitan Look Like?

As the number-one magazine in the world for young women, it’s safe to say an average day working at Cosmopolitan can get pretty busy.

In this chapter, Katie describes what her day looks like as digital designer and gives you a fascinating insight into a world of deadlines, huge amounts of content, and having a great team of people to work with.

So, if you want to know how to become a magazine designer, you’ll find lots of useful information here.


What’s Next for Katie?

Where does Katie see her career moving in future?

In this chapter, she talks about her current interests (such as photoshoots and art direction), and how she can see herself moving forward to incorporate these into her job in the future.



Mitch wraps up today’s interview with Katie Buckleitner and tells you where to see more of her work online.

We hope this week’s interview with Katie has helped you learn more about how to become a magazine designer or illustrator.

Are you working on any exciting persona projects at the moment?

Tell us about them in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!

People on this Episode:

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