I have the honor and the joy of introducing to you an up and coming artist studying at www.theartdepartment.org by the name of Caitlin Worth.
Caitlin is from Paris, Kentucky, and is in the 2D Entertainment Design major at TAD. Caitlin has gone back to school at TAD to learn with the professionals in TAD and make a major career change into the field of entertainment illustration and visual design. She is well on her way as she begins to complete her Foundations year and enter her major of 2D Entertainment Development. Caitlin is well prepared for next semester when she begins her core studies in concept art and will begin building worlds at TAD.
Please take a look at her works below. There will be many more where these came from and given her hard work and exploration of digital and traditional media, she will have a host of options as her body of work grows.
Congratulations on this spotlight Caitlin. You deserve it.
1. What first inspired you to be an artist?
My first memories of being inspired to make art were seeing Disney movies and then trying to make animations of my own. After I saw Fantasia, I was obsessed with animating dinosaurs and drew a half dozen animated dinosaur shorts. I wanted to be that person making those animations. I didn't draw a lot of single images as a kid, I wanted to make everything move. I also wanted to tell a whole story, and that's much more challenging in a single image. I've still got a box full of floppy discs with my childhood animations on them.
2. What do you most want to be doing eighteen months from now, with your artwork.
I'd like to be taking the first strides on that new career path into a brave new artistic world, a world that is more my own than it has been before. TAD has shown me that I can be, and should be, an artist with a voice.
3. What are 3 of the most important things you have learned at TAD?
Finding a voice and having an identity in my art is an ongoing lesson at TAD. This is something I really never thought of before. It's a long term goal that is a little ambiguous. I think it will come over time and be ever evolving.
Learning how to generate ideas has been a great lesson from the sketchbook class at TAD. That class might be more aptly named Idea Generation as that is what's at the core of the class. The idea is the foundation an image is built on. Learning ways to construct a strong idea will benefit everything from a character's costume design, to an epic fantastical battle scene, to finding a clear way to illustrate an abstract phrase of words.
The first semester showed me how to be a better picture maker by making choices through asking myself questions before I get started with an illustration. What am I trying to communicate with this image? Who/what will be the 'star' of the image. Where is the information, in the lights or the darks? Questions can go from broad to specific. Sometimes what is left out of an image is more important than what is put in.
I am writing as someone who has just had her eyes opened to these lessons, not someone who has mastered them. That will take time and practice, but I don't feel like I'm bumping around in the dark without a direction anymore.
All of the classes are really amazing though, and the lessons overlap and support each other. Marshall's Composition 2 class is the treasure chest of information I've been searching for. Every session is just mind-blowing!
4. What is your most immediate goal you are trying to achieve with your artwork?
At the heart of it all I just want to draw better. I don't want any lack of drawing ability to dictate what I choose to draw. If I can draw a realistic hand but choose to draw a hand that looks like a child made it from Play-Dough that's fine, but I don't want to be stuck drawing the Play-Dough hand because I can't draw the real one. I will control my drawing, it will not control me.
5. How important is experimentation in your process?
Experimentation is something I like to do when there isn't any pressure to perform. This lets me work unselfconsciously. I'm not worried if my explorations result in complete failure because they aren't meant for anyone but me and it's this state of mind that can give me great success. This is how I used to feel when drawing as a kid, I just drew without worry. It's important to keep that state of mind, that manic child, alive and well. The reason I like to keep my exploration endeavors separate from hired work is because it usually backfires on me and ends up costing me time and long nights. However, when I've learned something new on my own time, I can then bring it into that performance work with confidence.
6. What advice would you have to students on a similar path to your own?
My, this is an uncomfortable question as I am usually the one seeking advice. I think the best thing a new student can do is really soak up the information presented in the foundations classes. There's a reason they are called 'foundations'. If you have a firm understanding of the principals taught in these classes you can springboard your artwork any direction you want and have greater success. Right now my path is hopefully going towards a career in the entertainment industry and the principals I have learned in Light and Form, for example, will allow me to create more tangible imaginative images on my own. Otherwise, the advice I've been hearing for years is to be a good drawer, see my answer to #4.
7. You are attending art school online. What has your experience in TAD been like? Has learning online been effective for you?
This has been the best! I've been through art school before TAD and I prefer the online format to a classroom. What is truly great is the ability to re-watch classes as much as you want. They stay available for a long time. There is so much information presented in each class I often re-watch them.
8. What do you do when you are feeling creative blocks? How do you overcome them?
I like photography as a hobby, and that actually came from a very long bout of feeling uninspired that lasted about a year. I was working long hours and really wanted a new creative outlet which would also get me away from sitting in front of a screen all the time. I decided to buy a nice DSLR camera and I had no idea how much joy it would bring me. After the first few days with it I had a new passion. Nowadays, when I need a break, I love getting out the camera for a bit, even if I do no more than walk around the yard and snap photos of my cats following me around. The point is really just to step away for a while and do something different. This can give me time to gather my thoughts and feel better when I get back to work. Music is also terrific. If I'm stuck trying to get a specific mood in a piece I can usually find some music that will give me that extra inspiration. Sometimes just sketching a favorite subject matter is an nice meditation, be it animals, video game fan art, landscapes, just remember the sketches are for you so draw freely, without worrying about making a good or bad drawing.
9. What are some things you do, to allow time and energy to focus so much on art?
"Here is my classic "Do as I say and not as I do" advice. As a student try to have a regular schedule of work hours and rest hours. Appoint your best hours for making art and try to keep to the schedule as best as you can. As a result you will get more done and be better rested, and a rested mind learns better. Hmm, it's 5:00am already? Oh. If you're a busy person with family and a full time job, designate one hour of the day for drawing time and look at it as a priority. When you go out, carry a pocket sized sketchpad and a simple drawing medium with you like pen or pencil. I find the less cumbersome and more portable the drawing materials, the more likely I'll use them.
I didn't have to think twice about going back to school to get the education I had always wanted, and to be taught by those who have inspired me for years. The education has been amazing and I know I'll be well equipped to start my new career after TAD.
Thank you very much for the interview."
Caitlin you are most welcome. We all look forward to seeing where you take your art and career in the years ahead.