Brooke Eilers was the Zinggia Ohio Art Scholarship winner for 2015-2016! YAY!! We checked in with her to see how she was doing in her first year of art school. Sounds like she’s off to a good start!
Q. What art school did you decide to attend & why?
I’m currently in my second quarter at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, and I love it more than anything in the entire world. SCAD has been my dream school since I was twelve for several reasons. Firstly, it is one of the most prestigious art schools in the US. SCAD has a huge reputation in the industry and provides countless opportunities for aspiring artists. Now that I’ve been here for a little while, I love this school even more because I’m surrounded by the most inspiring, talented, passionate, and lovable people that embrace every sense of creativity.
Q. Have you learned of any new directions you can take your artistic talents that you didn’t know about or consider in high school?
SCAD offers so many programs that it’s ridiculously hard to choose between majors. For a while I considered choosing Sequential arts as my major, which is the art of comics, storyboarding, etc. I also debated on Visual Effects as well, but I’ve decided to stay an animation major and just take classes from the other subjects. Something cool that’s also made me think about my opportunities is a visit from Pixar a couple weeks ago. A couple representatives came to talk about how they make movies and a little bit about what they’re looking for in interns and employees. It definitely made me realize what I need to focus on to make it in the industry. It was really cool to have all that insight, and they even gave out Finding Dory posters.
Q. Is there anything you dislike so far with your schooling?
The only thing that bothers me is that it’s so far away from home. But the nice 70 degree weather in February helps a little.
Q. What classes are you taking this semester, and how is your school work load?
SCAD is on a quarter calendar, so this quarter I’m taking Color Theory, Drawing II, and Advanced Survey Computer Applications (CMPA as we call it), which teaches programs like Photoshop and Maya to make sure students aren’t going into their major classes blindly. This quarter has been a little rough because I’m taking three studio classes (which isn’t recommended because of the work load). Normally you’d take two studios and a lecture, but I came in with so many credits I don’t have many lecture classes left. I’m doing all I can to maintain all A’s. Next quarter should be better. I’ll be taking Action Analysis, a life drawing class focused on movement in the body, and Intro to Sequential Arts.
Q. Big Macs or Luna Burgers?
Unapologetically, Luna Burgers.
Q. Are you working with digital illustration or is it mostly traditional mediums?
My first quarter at SCAD was only traditional mediums. Now that I have my Computer Applications class, I’ve been working more digitally. My Color Theory class also allows for all different mediums, so I’ve picked up my Wacom pen a few times for that as well. However, refining my skills traditionally has helped my digital skills more than I could ever imagine.
Q. What’s been the most challenging school project you’ve worked on so far?
That’s a tough one. I’m happy to say every project I’ve been given so far has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me a well-rounded artist, but there have been a couple projects that really put my mind and body to the test. The hardest one would have to be the one I’m currently working on for my Computer Arts class. We’re working in Maya, an animating and modeling program made by Autodesk. The goal is to model an abstract scene with good lighting and texture. I’ve never worked with Maya before, and it’s an amazingly dense program. I’ve already had to look up countless tutorials for tiny little specific commands I want to do. But, working in this program really makes me feel like an animator.
Q. How long do you normally have to complete a class project?
Usually about a week. Projects are expected to look like seven days of work, so it can get to be a lot. It’s a fast turnover rate, but it really get’s me prepared for the industry.
Q. Does your school require you to take any financial or business classes to help you navigate a more profitable art career?
It’s not necessarily a business/finances class. We have to take a Professional Development class which really teaches you how to pitch yourself to these big name companies like Disney and Pixar. They critique resumes and cover letters. SCAD also offers something called the Career Fair, where these big name companies come and set up a booth. Juniors and Seniors are pushed to attend to score internships and jobs right on the spot. I’m going this year to observe everything.
Q. Professionally, what’s your goal once you graduate?
My goal is to have a stable job with an animation studio doing something I love doing. I might be modeling, rigging, animating, cleanup, or what have you, but I want to make sure it’s something I learned here at school. In a perfect world I’d be working for Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Laika, or any of the other studios that fuel my inspiration. It’s entirely possible, but I’ll settle for anything that let’s me make work I’m proud of and still puts food on the table.
Q. Are you sick of Ramen Noodles yet?
A little, but me and my roommates have found ways to make food a little more exciting. Don’t try this at home, but we found that an iron makes a great griddle. Grilled Cheese Thursdays are definitely a thing.
Here are a few recent pieces of artwork Brooke has been working on!
We followed up with Brooke during her second year of school. She was kind enough to do another Q&A for us, so read it to see how she’s doing!