Four Years and Several Semesters Ago…

I’m graduating in two days! Four years flew by so quickly! I had a lot of great times with friends and teachers. I got a lot of good work out of the deal too. I feel like I’m leaving here with honed skills and a pretty professional looking portfolio. Allow me to give you some of the highlights of my college career. These are the classes that I look back on fondly and that you, the potential Marywood Illustration Major, can hopefully look forward to.

FreshmanFreshman year is when I took Visual Concepts, though it is typically a sophomore class. All of the projects were so much fun. We made metaphoric valentines, a book cover that had to tell the story using only three icons, and for another project we made beautiful art out of what was essentially garbage. Visual Concepts really pushes you to think outside of the box. The hardest part of the preliminary work is coming up with an original idea. If it’s not original it defeats the purpose of the class. As an illustrator you have to offer a different point of view to really stand out. Even if the subject material’s been done to death, it’s your job to portray it differently.

SophomoreSophomore year’s General Illustration was similar to Visual Concepts but these projects had more guidelines to follow. All of these projects were applied to something or served a specific function and had pre-designated formats and dimensions. The class emulated working with a client which made it a pretty cool experience. Some of the projects included designing invites and posters for a Halloween party, a magazine cover, and spot illustrations for an app or magazine article. Our only limit (aside from the project specs) was our own creativity. One of my classmates was a Sculpture Major who was there for a Minor in Illustration. He made clay sculptures of zombies and took photos of them for his Halloween poster and it was a really effective solution to the assignment.

JuniorI took Digital Illustration during my Junior year. This class involved focusing on a specific story-related project like a video game, a children’s book, or a comic. I started working on my comic for this class so naturally it’s one of my favorites. The class revolved around preliminary work, not actually finishing the game or the book so we had to do character designs, setting designs, and a cover illustration among other things. Everything had to be done digitally and there was no going back once we started working on our idea. It really made you focus and forced you into being dedicated.

SeniorIntermediate Illustration or Book Illustration was just this past year. For the first part of the class, we had to illustrate an already existing story. I chose the Snow Queen. I did a cover illustration and two interior illustrations that focused on specific parts of the story. It was a fun exercise that again emulated working with a client to an extent. The second half of the class was working on our own story so I continued working on my comic book for the remainder of the class. A lot of my favorite illustrators are book illustrators so it was super fun for me to try to do what they do.

[ Honorable Mention: Intro to Graphic Design was lots of fun too!]

These were by far some of my favorite classes and I loved the projects I got out of them. Unless I decide to go to grad school in the future, I’ll be doing my learning from now on outside of the classroom. What were your favorite classes in college? Or even high school?

All artwork by me, Shelby Farrell.

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