May 7th, 2019
Hey look at you lucky reader! You have the chance my SECOND blog post of the week. Sadly, this is my last blog post about my amazing illustration class with Professor Katie Ries. For those that are new to my site, one of my last art courses as a student at St. Norbert College, featured a hybrid illustration course with a final project that focused on what we wanted to create as artists. This blog post will reflect on my final project and my end thoughts of working with Katie, my classmates, and famous illustrators Lauren Lowen and Sam Smith. We were able to Skype these artists in class on certain days and talk to them about their process of creating a name for themselves and get advice for continuing with our art careers.
On going back to the topic of finals for my illustration course, we were able to focus on a certain type of illustration and create an assignment based off of that. We were instructed as students to create a task sheet and rubric of what our project consisted of and propose it like we were a professor actually giving the assignment. We were then instructed to carry out the assignment tasks like normal while meeting in class on needed days and posting in group discussions on our Slack chat page.
For my final project, I decided to focus on editorial illustration since I felt a huge connection with it and loved to work with it. I also decided to look at articles that hit closer to home such as Anne Helen Peterson’s Buzzfeed News article, ‘How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation’, did and played around with articles that featured ideas of healing after traumatic experiences with mental health. My experience with mental health has affected me since my sophomore year of high school and became more prominent when I was a sophomore in college. A traumatic combination of stress, lack of sleep, school work, and other factors landed me in and out of the hospital with an altered mental state. To this day, I still have limited memories of my sophomore year of college and the before and aftermath of horrific experience. 
Both of these articles made me realize that my life story can’t compare to anyone else’s. My life story is not the same as the person to my left or my right. However, one can grow from their own life experiences and take advice from a friend or loved one near them. After reading Rebolini's article, I decided to jot down some notes (pictured below) and create a mood board (also pictured below) on how I wanted my viewer to see the illustration I created after reading this article.
Pictured above is the rubric I created for this final project. 


The mood board created for this project that featured ideas, colors, and art that inspired my final piece. 

Notes taken after reading Rebolini's Buzzfeed News article. 


I ended up repeating some similar ideas that were featured in the past editorial illustration project because I felt that it could help bulk up my resume as an artist. Various sketches I created focused on regrowth and the cycle of plant life. I looked at some images via Pinterest and picked a fresh and springy pattern to play with the ideas I came across in Rebolini’s article.

Various sketch ideas incorporated the idea of spring, bloom, budding of plants, and withering. I felt that the idea of house plants are similar to human’s mental health in that one has to take the right measurements when taking care of a simple house plant. For example, take a succulent. When it gets too much sunlight, or like a human, too much of a bad thing that one might think is good for them; it can actually be harmful to the plant. Too much water, a not big enough pot space, the wrong temperature, and other factors can be damaging to a new plant bud. But when the right care and direction comes to taking care of a plant or one’s mental health, new healthy cells and thinking helps create a new life for a plant/being.


I came across the idea of roses very often in my artwork. Not only is the romantic flower the name of my middle name, but they happen to have a lot of symbolism and direction. Red roses are surely a symbol of love but one nasty thorn can send one thinking of the curse from Sleeping Beauty. I decided to play along the idea of that we can still keep growing even when we think we have reached our full bloom. I sketched various ideas of people combined with roses and thorns and showing that one can accept their thorns in order to help them bud into a new flower.
After creating this rough idea into a sketch, I played around with various images and techniques I had seen online. Collage is one of my favorite art mediums so I decided to play with it again for this project. By creating vector illustrations and editing countless photos, I was able to create the image below as one of the first outtakes for my end product. Some more editing was needed but eventually I was able to create my final illustration that would be included in mockups for my end product.
In order to create very similar mockups like the last project, I met with my professor Katie to learn some tips for Adobe InDesign and play her adorable 5 month old daughter. Katie and I discussed file cleaning and organization and proper techniques on how to work with InDesign files. Later, Katie would send out an end of the class survey on how the hybrid class was efficient and what we did/didn’t enjoy. I personally love working with Katie and find her to be a delightful artist that is a breath of fresh air.
The final results of this project were very familiar since I only made minor changes to the rubric of this assignment. However, I felt that I still gained more knowledge and skills since joining this class. Below are the images of my final result for this project. I will say that this collage piece is one of the strongest pieces of work that I have created for a long, long, time and I loved how it turned out. ​​​​​​​


Every Rose Has Its Thorns, 2019 


Closeup detail image 

Various mockup examples created for my final project. 

One question that was asked was how we felt about the publicity of our class site and how we felt about Professor Ries sharing updates about the new class. I'm not sure if this necessarily affected the artwork that I was creating for the course and the assignments, but it made me more mindful of my appearance on the internet for various sites that I was sharing work to. At the end of the semester, I would say that I am more mindful of margins, sizing, customization of a site, how a file should look, and how one should be putting their artistic work and professionalism on the world wide web. After looking through various websites and the posts created via Slack or the ART 389 or my own personal site, I wanted to make sure that everything posted was consistent and represented who I want to be known as an artist. With my last thoughts about the class, I will easily say that this has been one of my favorite courses here at SNC. I love working with Professor Ries and loved the flexibility of not only her schedule but with how this class worked. I would easily recommend this course to not just fellow art students but to anyone looking for a fun art class to take. It's completely easy to work with your artistic style (whether you prefer working digitally with Adobe or prefer painting) and will help you grow as an individual. I'm so satisfied with my artwork that was to come from this course and think that it has been some of my strongest work to come out of a college course that I will feature in my portfolio. I will be looking back to this class on how I will be creating work in the future and working on enhancing my skills as a graphic designer and grad of SNC.
Thanks for reading again! Stayed to read my next blog post, that will most likely be a bit late with finals and graduation, but will relate to that topic!
-Madeline

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