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What advice do you have for a freshman illustration student? I'm in foundations right now, and not really doing illustration work. Should I be drawing a lot in my sketchbook? From direct observation? Should I practice doing illustration work? Should I do personal work? Do you have some sort of 4 year guideline for an art student?
I don’t really think I’m in a position at this point in my life where I can tell anyone what to do, so I’ll just state what *I* have done to get to where I am right now 8-)
My foundation year at SVA was comprised of a Fine Arts based education. Sculpture, oil painting, drawing, a computer class, and some humanities - and the building blocks involved with each. None of my assignments in any of these courses were strictly illustration-based; they were mostly observation-based or conceptual-based prompts to get our minds (and our muscles) to begin developing in those areas.
Freshman year I did a LOT of work in my sketchbooks and filled up quite a few with more narrative ideas because there wasn’t as much of an outlet for that sort of work in the classes themselves. I’d count this sketchbooking as personal work because it wasn’t meant to be shown to anyone else, really, and I’ve actually re-used some of those ideas and revisited those concepts later on.
I think foundation year at any school is meant to really get the conceptual gears turning and help develop an individual’s skills in what should (and will) become automatic as illustration assignments begin to become the norm. When taking more illustration-specific courses, things like color palette and the basic building blocks of a composition will come much quicker thanks to a strong foundation. Certain things will become more inherent and immediate, and the foundation is where you’ll start picking and choosing what will become a part of your individual artistic voice. That being said, strong observational skills are incredibly important and will DEFINITELY help later on.
Depending on the type of illustration you’re interested in (editorial, narrative, children’s book, pin-up, concept/dev art) I’d absolutely recommend beginning to practice now! That’s what those sketchbooks are for. Look at the work of artists you admire - past and contemporary - and really think and try and determine exactly what makes their work so engaging to you, both visually and conceptually. Is it the energy from varied line weights? Their use of shapes? The tone or feeling from the illustrations they’ve created? These narrowed-down points will help you figure out what you’d like to focus on for the time being to strengthen your own work.
I’m not out of school myself yet so I’m a bit iffy on providing a timeline. Everyone grows and matures at different rates. There’s no definitive ‘you-should-be-here-at-this-point’ rule for any of this stuff, and that sort of thinking can be dangerous since it can really box you in and make you feel kinda pooby for not being up to a certain skill level at a certain time. Everyone comes into school with a different amount of practice and skills behind them so I’d try not to worry about where other people are and focus on making your own work the best it can be.
Hope this helped a bit!
Amanda I am excited about everything on your blog right now. I have also had a lot of caffeine, so the feeling has probably been intensified by that, but still, I am super excited about everything on your blog right now! :D
AAHH THANK YOU!!! I am excited by you in general because you are awesome and I love your comic wow I am really flattered…hhhhhh
Good gravy, woman. I stumbled upon your John Lennon series on someone's Tumblr this morning. That is phenomenal work, Amanda. Curiosity piqued, I perused your Tumblr and The Fellowship of the Ring images brought mist into the corner of my eye. Damn it! Now I have a huge art-crush on you. Keep up the good work, girl! I'll be watching and enjoying.
O-o-o-o-H WOW, thank you!
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