Alum of the Month: Amy Pye

VIU alum Amy Pye holding her new children's book

April 20, 2021 - 10:30am

VIU Graphic Design alum Amy Pye is channelling her creativity into a new medium these days –children’s books. While she is still doing marketing design work during the day – both with her own company, Pye Design, and as Art Director with Real Estate Webmasters – earlier this year, she published two children’s books. G is for Grizzly Bear takes a very Canadian spin on learning the alphabet, and Bruce the Silly Goose is a story about how children can help prevent the spread of illnesses like COVID-19.

Check out Pye's live reading of Bruce the Silly Goose on her Art By Amy Facebook page!

Why did you choose VIU?

I grew up in Nanaimo, wanted to stay close to family and had heard great things about the design program. My high school art teacher, Mrs. Haaf, arranged for me to audit a VIU art course while I was in Grade 12. It was a great experience and gave me insight into what attending VIU would be like. The teacher of this course would later become one of my graphic design instructors and we are still in touch to this day.

What are your favourite memories from VIU? 

I used to love my trips down to the Campus Store for art supplies – any excuse to stock up on more pencil crayons or glue! But really it was all about the people. The professors were fantastic and to this day I credit their critiquing methods for my success. I am now in an art director role and I often refer back to their teaching methods. 

Tell us about your career path since graduating from VIU.

I started at Malaspina University-College in 2002 and received my diploma in design. I went on to receive my diploma in digital media technologies after that. A few years later, Malaspina became VIU and I went back to complete my degree, finishing in 2010. I did my last two years while working full-time. Career-wise, I worked for agencies in Nanaimo and Victoria until 2014, when I started my own business – Pye Design. I recently published two children’s books, and a few months ago I joined Real Estate Webmasters as their Art Director.

What motivated you to write and illustrate your first book, G is for Grizzly Bear, and then quickly after, Bruce the Silly Goose

I’ve always loved illustration. The idea for G is for Grizzly Bear came to me a few years ago but then I had my daughter and had to put it on the shelf. Reading her bedtime stories motivated me to pick it up again. Bruce the Silly Goose happened quickly after as it is a story about preventing the spread of germs through hand washing and wearing masks. Obviously, this is a timely topic and I felt it was important to get it out quickly. Seeing my daughter grow up in this “new normal” prompted this book. I just felt that the more tools that our kids have in their toolbox, the better equipped they will be to navigate this pandemic.

What advice would you give to students hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Do the work that no one else wants to do. In my first year as a junior designer, I was photographing portfolio pieces, cutting business cards, prepping files that had been designed by seniors … you name it. You have to be willing to put in the grunt work. Also, grow a thick skin. In this industry, the work you produce is personal and it can be easy to develop an attachment. But ultimately, you are producing something for a client and it’s important to be able to separate your emotions and deliver something they will be happy with. Lastly, work smarter, not harder. I’m a very hard worker and for years that’s all I did. It’s sustainable, but it won’t move you up.

What’s next for you?

I have a third book in the works, and I am hoping to sign on with a literary agent for this one. I’m also going to be expanding my online store (artbyamy.ca) to include apparel and merchandise, as well as my books. I’m working on getting my books in more stores. I am happy to say that they are now available at Indigo Chapters in Victoria, BC, amongst several other local retailers. I have been enjoying my role as Art Director with Real Estate Webmasters and I’m looking forward to expanding the design team and building on the already solid foundation that they have established.


Tags: Graphic Design | Our Alumni