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  • Writer's picturePaige Garrison

Challenge accepted!

Don't be fooled folks, art college can be a rrreeaal challenge. Don't get me wrong, it was a series of (mostly) the right kind of challenges, the old "diamond from pressure" proverb, but your girl rarely shined in a way worth noting. That's not false modesty, I promise. Looking back at my collective collegiate work, I sometimes physically shudder. I was bogged down by too many influential cooks in my illustration kitchen. In other words, I didn't know who the hell I was, let alone how to convey it through a personal style. And I was getting told as much - repeatedly - in almost all my early courses. I latched so hard onto one particularly scathing criticism during a critique my freshman year that it definitively changed the course of my remaining time at SCAD.*

*Bachelor franchise level declaration incoming.

By the time I drove out of Savannah I was effectively a painting major cloaked in an illustration degree, with a portfolio laden in realistic oil paintings. I've always felt an immense pleasure and connection to painting, but this was different. I had been told for three years to stick to what I was "good" at, stay in my lane, and I might just be able to eek out an illustrator existence painting food magazine editorial spreads and scientific book illustrations. Different than my vision going into college, and much, much different than the work you see attached to this website. So where and how did it all change? With my mentor and friend, Violet Lemay. She was the very last professor I had during my very last quarter for my very last credit to graduate. She saw something in me and my work that wasn't very apparent to anyone else. Fast forward to an email exchange three years later where I confess my deepest desire is (and always has been) to work in children's book illustration. Before I knew it I was co-illustrating a book with the inspiration herself. And the rest is history.

Which brings us to current day, where in a moment of professor brilliance Violet challenged me to weekly sketch prompts to pull me from the depths of my creative rut and to revive my artistic spirit. Have I mentioned how having multiple pregnancies/subsequent kiddos, all while maintaining drive for your creatively demanding career, is rrreeeaal challenging? Another post for another day. So I'll end this harangue by giving you what you more than likely came here for, and I'll include the prompts underneath for all those curious cats out there. Enjoy! Or don't, that's okay too! Subjectivity - an artist's best friend and worst enemy all wrapped up in one heart burn inducing mass.

Prompt: Draw a critter napping in the shade, in 15 minutes or less. Must color outside the lines.

Prompt: Create a pattern with a maximum of 5 colors. No animals allowed.

Prompt: Draw something with a kite.

Prompt: Draw a rain forest animal reading a book.

Prompt: Draw a food object dancing.

Prompt: Draw a critter with an umbrella.


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