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John West

John West

John K. West Illustration & Design

Career Roadmap

John's work combines: Design, Writing, and Being Creative

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Day In The Life

Art Director

I create art that punches a time clock. Its job is to provoke a response.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    Brophy College Prep

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Art/Art Studies, General

    Arizona State University

  • Bachelor's Degree

    French Language and Literature

    Arizona State University

  • Graduate Degree

    French Studies

    Arizona State University

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be an Art Directors:

High School

Bachelor's Degree: Art/Art Studies, General

Bachelor's Degree: French Language and Literature

Graduate Degree: French Studies

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life took a while to figure out

  • 1.

    I majored in art and French because I had a passion for them.

  • 2.

    I got a job in France as a translator thanks to contacts I made as an undergrad.

  • 3.

    I returned to the U.S. and fulfilled family obligations while earning a Masters in French.

  • 4.

    I wrote a scholarly article about French literature that was published in an academic journal.

  • 5.

    I found a position writing marketing copy since I had cultivated demonstrable writing skills.

  • 6.

    I was promoted to marketing director where I became responsible for the graphics team.

  • 7.

    I slowly took over more and more design projects and built a competitive portfolio.

  • 8.

    I earned a position as art director in a corporate design department. Mission accomplished!

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Society in general:

    Majoring in French and art is impractical. You might as well get a degree in starving because you'll never earn a living. You're too old to switch careers. You don't have the right educational credentials. You're not competitive against recent graduates.

  • How I responded:

    Get out of your own way and have confidence in your abilities. NOTHING is impossible! Use meditation, visualization, counseling or whatever other resources you find valuable to quell anxiety and self-doubt. Create a praise file where you keep emails, letters etc. from people that highlight your skills and accomplishments, professional and otherwise. Include notes you make of kind things people have said about you. Go through your praise file frequently to remind yourself of your value.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • My father committed suicide leaving my mother with $1 million of debt. I spent ten years helping her recover while peers advanced professionally. Doubts about my age made it scary, but I found the courage to finally begin establishing my career.