College students excel in graphic design field
|Corey O’Brien, left, Reg Wemple and Kevin Massey are pursuing careers in graphic arts and received a jump-start by taking classes at Lassen Community College. Photo by Ruth Ellis (Click SEE MORE for more photos)|
Feb. 28, 2013 — Students pursuing careers in graphic design can get a jump start for success through Lassen Community College’s (LCC) digital graphic design program.
Several students who started their secondary education at LCC are either in the process of completing or have already completed their bachelor’s degree.
Reg Wemple recently received an acceptance letter to attend the University Colorado, Denver where he will study digital illustration and animation during the four-year program.
|Kevin Massey, who graduated from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., created this image called “Red Balloons Go By.” The woman is his friend in a fantasy, steam-punk world. He explained she is watching a balloon race where it is assumed her family ship is in the lead. On the horizon is a “leviating city of balloons.” Photos submitted||Corey O’Brien, a former Lassen Community College student and recent graduate from the Art Institute of Portland, Ore., created this piece depicting an android character from a graphic novel he is in the process of writing. O’Brien explained the woman “just returned from the battlefield and must endure some monotonous attention from maintenance droids to fix her up.”|
Corey O’Brien was accepted into the Art Institute (AI) of Portland, Ore., and graduated with his bachelor of arts degree in media arts and animation in September.
Kevin Massey graduated from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla. with a bachelor’s degree in game art in March 2012.
Hillary Edwards, a former LCC art/design student, is attending her second year at the San Francisco Art Academy and Alyse Ashley will be graduating from AI in the spring with a degree in graphic design.
Lori Collier, LCC graphic design instructor, said, “As an educational institution, LCC is extremely proud of all their students who seek a higher level of education and/or who develop the skills here to find a career within their field of interest. As an instructor to those who have gone through the digital graphic design program here at LCC, it is thoroughly rewarding to hear of these student’s successes.”
LCC offers an associate of science degree in digital graphic design and an expanded certificate of achievement in the same discipline.
Some of the courses include: computer graphics, digital layout, digital illustration, web page designing, digital and traditional photography, typography, printmaking, production graphics, two-dimensional design, marketing yourself as a designer, exhibition and gallery design.
O’Brien, who is pursuing a career in freelance illustration, said, “What I learned here, particularly with the Adobe products, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, really gave me a jump on most of the first year at the art institute. A lot of kids going into there, they’ve never even touched Photoshop before.”
At AI, O’Brien continued his studies learning the modern day techniques of animation, digital illustration, storyboarding, film storytelling and script-writing classes.
Massey, who is building his portfolio and looking to work at studios, said, “The instructors here were always helping me go back and break down the foundations of art and so those were really the building blocks that I took when I went to Full Sail that put me ahead of everyone else.”
He described Full Sail as a very tough, accelerated school that only had a 20 percent passing rate when he attended. Classes can go 16 hours a day, six days a week. When he first started the program, Massey said he learned the principles of design and a lot of English. Then, it moved into game art that got progressively harder and included animation, modeling, storyboarding and storytelling, technical classes and texture work with Photoshop.
“But when it actually came to art and actual portfolio time, I didn’t get that there,” Massey said.
He is learning those things such as basic drawing, figure drawing and understanding the rendering of shapes, at LCC.
By getting a jump start at LCC, Wemple said he learned how to use Photoshop proficiently, Illustrator decently and the ins and outs of art.
According to Wemple, the best class he took at LCC was graphic illustration, which was first introduced last year and touches on digital illustration, including storyboarding, developing characters and taking pictures and completely animating them.
The three also imparted advice to anyone interested in pursuing a graphic design career and taking classes at LCC.
O’Brien said if students go to a community college first, they should take as many general education classes as they can.
“Because here, they’re going to be cheaper. You don’t want to be taking pitch package class and storyboard development and advanced character design alongside Astronomy 101, you know, when you could’ve easily gotten that out of the way earlier.”
Wemple said, “Go for it. It’s definitely helped me out a bunch.”
Had he left right away, Wemple said he wouldn’t have gained the experience needed to succeed.
Success in the graphic design field does not just come from talent, but a person’s motivation and professionalism such as time management and punctuality.
“Motivation, it’s huge,” said Massey.
In his class at Full Sail, Massey said 80 percent didn’t make it and it has been said a similar number of people don’t get hired in the end.
“So the only thing that separates people is not talent, necessarily, its motivation,” Massey said. “As long as you are motivated, and you are wanting to learn more … and you keep educating yourself, you’ll keep growing, you’ll keep doing better. Whenever you stop doing that, you lose focus of your goal. That’s when it becomes tough.”
O’Brien also agreed.
He said, “There are a lot of kids at the AI where they were unbelievably talented, but they never turned anything in on time, they never followed the curriculum. They have not graduated, they have no jobs. There are people less talented than them who have careers ahead of them already just because they respect deadlines. If you can’t respect deadlines, it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”
At Full Sail, Massey said if a student was late by five minutes eight times in a month, the student was expelled from the class.
“Professionalism is a big deal and that is more valuable than my grade point average when I came out,” he said.
Collier said, “Massey, O’Brien, and Wemple all began taking classes within the program not knowing what their futures would lead to. These students knew they were creative and loved art, but didn’t know what opportunities within a career field or higher education were out there for them or how to obtain those goals. LCC gave them a better understanding of Digital Graphic Design and a strong foundation to be competitive beyond Lassen County. All three of these students embraced the education LCC had to offer and ran with it. I am so very proud of their continued dedication and motivation to move forward. They will truly be successful in their lives.”
She continued, “Here at LCC, all instructors offer students a great base from which to build a future. It is up to the students themselves to embrace what we have to offer. This can be challenging at times as students learn to push themselves harder and balance their daily schedules to meet deadlines, similar to that of a “Real Life” job experience.
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