My Journey as an Illustrator

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I really did not begin art until late in high school. It has only been a few years since I began taking this seriously. I can even remember the exact moment I first began drawing. I wish I had an amazing story to follow this, like something of a grand moment from which I suddenly had a new found passion for art. But not really. I had floated through many different things, music, ballet, theater, sports- and was not particularly good at anything. I was in my choral class, and had some spare time at the end before heading out to my next class. I had an old sketchbook in my backpack and suddenly thought about what would happen if I suddenly dedicated myself to this, and began doodling on the risers. I still have that same drawing in my storage shelf somewhere at home, although it definitely does not look as good as I remember it. From that moment on, I began filling sketchbook after sketchbook with drawing.

Within the same year, my art teacher took notice of the doodles I would draw in class, and encouraged me to submit my work out there. It is rare for an artist to never be critical of their own work, but the moment when I finally began to believe in myself a little was when a rather ugly work of mine (surprisingly!) won an award at a regional competition. Although I still insist it was the ugliest thing I had ever made (my high school art teacher still insists differently) It was the first time I had really actually won an award for anything. At this point, I thought, maybe I could get somewhere with this!

I joined my high school’s art endorsement, which was a focused visual arts track at my school for high school students, founded our school’s first art club, and involved myself as much as I could with studying art and art history at school and beyond the campus. Before graduating high school, my art teacher had given me a painting of his as a reward for all my work, and as a token of his appreciation. It is still one of my most cherished possessions.

Since going to university, life has been a whole different arena. A former architecture student, I once again realized my love for art after my first year.

Look at all that…architecture on the wall!

I would go to the MFA in Boston a couple times a week, to practice drawing and study the paintings there. As well, I got the opportunity to spend a month in Japan with my university’s art professor learning more graphic modes of work, and once I got back, began to take on some commissions, both personal and professional, for the first time.  Sample Illustrations from Japan

As I began to build a portfolio of my art, my art professor at Northeastern had suggested that I apply abroad for a recent program at my university to attend Central Saint Martins, an arts and fashion school in London. I had gotten rejected on my first attempt, from which I redid my entire portfolio, and then got accepted!. Since then, I have gotten accepted on three separate occasions (as a result of having to reapply because of COVID).

Now, after almost two years of delays and rejections, I am currently in London! I have already been practicing a bit with some drawing and digital illustration since getting here, and although I am a bit nervous, I am very excited to begin at CSM this coming fall. Recent sample illustrations

I am very excited as well to share my more recent work for The Cubby, and hope to include more things on my online store soon. It has been a wild ride, but thank you all for your support! I hope to continue to create even greater things for the future!


My name is Gabriela Lehmann Rodriguez. I am one of the student artists who are a part of the Cubby website, working with a wide range of mediums from watercolors, to oil paints and digital illustration. I go to Northeastern University for animation and fine art, however currently, I am in London studying at a atelier and getting ready to begin my academic year in Central Saint Martins.

These past few months have been a new way of learning for me, and I am definitely not used to it. Once I improve more, I definitely would like to incorporate some of what I have learned into my own work.

Some of the cast drawings I have finished

Gabriela Lehmann Rodriguez • Northeastern '23
Hello & welcome to my store here on The Cubby! My name is Gabriela, although I go by “aximilya” online. I am currently a third year student at Northeastern University, studying animation, fine art, a... Read More on Gabriela's Cubby
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