My College likes to pretend they don’t have an art department, unless you talk to the people in charge of helping you with graduation and degree planning and then they’re the first to inform you that your major has the most work of any of them. But the other week I was down checking my mail when I saw this piece of paper taped over the water fountain.
It read. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Could this be true? Was there a guest speaker at University of Dallas that was to do with art? Usually any visiting artists are only advertised in the art village and they’re the sort that mom really doesn’t want you to be. You know, the sort that make traditional art and live off it. This was a Legit artist in society working a job in the business world! Well I assumed I could plug it into my phone sometime when the mail room staff weren’t behind my back staring as I stood with my eyes glued to a piece of paper. Lo and Behold though, I COULDN’T FIND THE FLYER ANYWHERE ELSE ON CAMPUS. What is this dark magic that the only flyer is down in the mail room?
I corralled my other art major friends (because this is texas after all, we can’t just gather them) and told them about this and they were eager to see this one lone sign above the water fountain. Leading them to the spot we all 3 stood and stared. It was true, not an illusion. There really was a visiting illustrator!
Well, a week passed and the day for his visit came. So marching out of Art History we ventured down to the basement of Braniff (the building were everything except science and Drama is. English, Theology, Philosophy, History, Education; all squeezed into one big building that always smells of skunk. Delightful. but down tot he basement we went never the less! Down to the media center room; a tiny little room with computers, a smart board, and a large industrial sized double ceramic sink. Chairs were all lined up in rows and my fear was that they weren’t going to get enough people to fill them.
As my friend Haley and I sat there more people slowly came in, much to my surprise and filled up almost the entire room! Somehow many of the other art majors had managed to see that one little sign in the mail room too and I saw 3-4 of them sitting behind me. The others I found out were all students in Children’s Lit and this was their normally scheduled class time. Figures, now it all made sense why he was here.
Well as I sat through his presentation I realized I couldn’t be an illustrator for the same reason I couldn’t become a story boarder. He drew many many images and ditched some and cut up others and just kept doodling it up. I’ve always been a one good final sort of gal. I love sketching but I haven’t ever been able to just sit down and doodle out 50 million people in a week. Yes, I know I need to get better about that but I enjoy making 50 million little tack welds in that same time so much more. At the moment though my sketch book’s suffering because in the spare time I used to use drawing in it I’ve taken to crocheting. I wish I had four hands sometimes so I could keep them busy with multiple activities and well has never need someone to help me hold something up. I wonder if my brain could keep up with them all?
Regardless! Back to my point. The Illustrator was Don Tate, probably nice to mention that, right?
After realizing what I probably wasn’t cut out to do my idea of what I could do were reenforced. The techie side was totally up my alley and layout is definitely my scene. My little pre-fabricated blog here isn’t much of a testament to my skills, I know, but I’ve only taught myself a teeny tiny little bit of website stuff. I made my profile on Gaia Online in BBC and amped up my Neopets’ page as a kid as well as chugging through some confusing HTML during the last week of my computer problem problem solving (*cough*learntousegoogleandexcel*cough*) class. I genuinely feel that if given access to the right programs and some actual instruction I should be able to get it all down pat so that it all looks as snazzy as my 7th grade science fair poster. aw, yeah, green ribbon. But I’m getting totally off topic!
What actually stuck in my head the most was when he mentioned that you don’t have to have your own signature style. My art always evolves with what I’ve been looking at recently. A turn towards realism during human figure, bold angles and shapes while watching justice league, detailed hair when obsessing over Mucha. I was thinking this was a problem. All the artists I love on DA have a distinctive style and every artist I see on TV or in books like Tim Burton and Erik Carl seems to have a style that’s distinctly their own. I was thinking I need to tucker down and decide how my brains works. Then he mentioned that that really only works some of the time. Big name artists seem to have that but having multiple styles allows you to appeal to more buyers. Certain book companies ask for a particular style that you’ve developed and wouldn’t have looked at you if you only drew in a different one. It makes sense if you think about it.
He also spoke about writing which actually peaked my interest most of all. I know, I know, I’m an artist. I don’t actually consider myself a writer in any capacity except for enjoyment. I’m far to undisciplined. But Last year I wrote a short story for Literary Traditions IV and my teacher mentioned I should tidy it up and submit it for the school’s publication. I thought that sounded like a lovely idea but I never got around to it. Well, he mentioned children’s books are only around 500 words. I sit down and write things that short every day for fun. What if I just decided on some coherent story line in a magical realism environment and started collecting some child friendly- themed stories that I could do something with? This idea sounded like so much fun to me. If I ever wanted to go somewhere with that it would also be pretty nice for my resume to have my short story in the school publication. I could also brag about it. [/humility]. But the Long and short of it is his talk inspired me to dredge up my short story from my external hard drive and finally revise it. My roommie even mentioned she reads over her friend’s screen plays. I sure I might be able to convince her to give me some constructive criticism.
I leave you with a quote that I feel speaks well for me when I’m trying to convince my Dostoevsky reading Miltonian friends the value of my obsession with crazy things that don’t exist and aren’t a stand in for a biblical allusion.
“Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong.”