For the past 6 months, I’ve been working as an illustrator for a graphic novel. In collaboration with another illustrator and two best-selling authors, I’ve been developing character designs, translating written manuscripts into paneled page sketches, and developing promotional materials. In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing the layout for the book, and beginning shiny finished line-art and coloring.
Not only has this job seriously boosted my confidence as an artist and an illustrator, but I came about this opportunity through SMFA’s network. Like many jobs and internships at SMFA, it came to me via word of mouth passed from professor to student to professor and finally to me via my roommate. Although I understood that the job would be a lot of work, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to gain experience in a field which I was considering entering upon graduation.
Many professors I’ve had in our Graphic Arts and Drawing departments have emphasized the importance of sharpening your skills as a ‘hand for hire’ in order to support your personal artistic practice, and have offered invaluable advice in regards to breaking into these industry spaces. Although this process has been undeniably labor intensive, the sense of confidence it has given me in myself as both a professional and an artist is unparalleled. There is a narrative pushed by society that art students will struggle to find a job which actually uses their degree. If I have been taught anything by the faculty, however, it is that there is always a need for artists in this world: concept artists, illustrators, art directors, and more.