hello, i just saw your questions to me, all these weeks later. i have been so very busy.
The only way to find out about the designers is to contact them,ask questions & see what they say.
do you have a portfolio? or samples of your design level which would demonstrate your knowledge?
i don't have any experience about the west coast.
but i would say, start by contacting the designers you wish to work with.
but have everything you need to show them your skill level.
best of luck.