Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting there ...

The first day that I walked into my class I was so nervous. It had been about eight years since I graduated from my university, and I had no idea what challenges were ahead of me. But I could instantly tell it was going to be different from anything I'd experienced before.

My bachelor's degree is in journalism. So most of my college classes focused on writing, editing or learning about media law, history and so forth. I was at a computer for most of this, banging out story plans, contact lists and finally, a story.

I've always had an interest in design, though. Midway through my journalism school experience, I began to reconsider the career path I'd wanted to follow since junior high. But I pushed it out of my head because, you know, heaven forbid people know I may have had a second thought or two.

My creative outlet at that time was newspaper design (we were allowed to be a bit more creative on the college newspaper level), and that only fueled my desire to learn more about graphic design. So I bought books and taught myself little things here and there. But I'm a person who learns best from others. Teaching myself wasn't working very well at all.

Long story short, I always admired those who can make an idea come to life through visual outlets. Be it paint on a canvas, graphic design or sculpture, I love it all. And that's why I decided to take this class. I wanted to see if I had it in me, too. I'm still not certain that I do, but I'm trying. So I signed up for this class — to be taught by someone who knows his stuff. And, somewhat by surprise, I've learned a lot from my fellow students, who are all too happy to help an ancient 31-year-old through exercises on perspective and dimension.

A couple of you asked that I post my projects. I've been reluctant to do so because I don't think they're fantastic, but I am proud of myself for slogging my way through what my professor so aptly called our class: design boot camp. I'm not going to give up, even though there are artists around me who are far more talented than I'll probably ever be. But you know what? I'm not the worst in the class, either. I'm somewhere in the middle, and right now that's cool with me. I've got room for improvement, and I truly think I can get there. And that's so exciting to this girl.

So I've decided to share a couple pieces of my work. Like I said, I'm not fabulous yet ... but for my first ever art class, I think I'm doing alright. Opinions are totally welcome - I've already been through class critiques on both of these projects.

OK, so this collage was our second project. We were told to create something with a theme. My theme was the progression of the American Dream from our ancestors to now. Basically, what I was trying to convey is the idea that hard work over generations was stressed way back when credit cards and fast cash weren't an option. Today, with the swipe of your American Express card, you can have just about anything your credit will allow for. Anyhow, I used a variety of items in my collage, including an iron star, buttons from an old adding machine, an old post card and photo, string, paint, magazine pages, etc. I think it turned out alright.

Next up is my latest project. We were asked to design a "fantasy chessboard." Basically, we're learning about vanishing points here. Our instructor wanted us to create a chessboard, chess pieces and a "surreal" space around the game board. Because I was craving sweets that day, I opted to title my work "Just Desserts" and went with a sugar-packed theme. We had to do it all in ink, which was rather daunting for me. One slip of the hand, and it could be ruined. Scary thought.

Here it is:

So, that's where I'm at in school these days. Like I said, there is much room for improvement, but I am truly loving every minute of it.