AJ Aiken and the art from Younger: My journey into Visual Arts

Ora Sawyers

Inside the walls of the Younger Building exists a globe of creativeness (and possibly some ghosts we’ll circle again on that in October). As a Digital Production, Writing and Layout scholar, I shell out most of my time on the third ground, but down on the initially ground is where Visual Arts pupils can be uncovered. 

For this tale, I wished to try a little something various and see how some other Camosun pupils commit their days. I made a decision it was time to build a comedian and make some artwork. So I requested all around and was specified the option to explore extra of my inventive facet by delving into the Visible Arts ground of the building that feels like my second residence.


Very first, I achieved with just one of my favourite Nexus cartoonists, Ray Nufer, creator of Ruby Rioux and the Bats from Saturn. Nufer took me by way of her process of drawing out her comic, from an notion to how she fantastic-tunes it to what we see printed (see site 10 for the most current Ruby Rioux). We arrived up with an notion for my comic I drew out some thumbnail sketches, and I finished it off on my own.

I can make graphics using Adobe Illustrator but I’m not good at drawing with pencil and paper. It is less difficult to attract matters in point of view when you can manipulate a rectangle in the way you want it to go than it is to attract out the four sides of a rectangle in the right proportions. I was truly out of my consolation zone when it arrived to drawing everything that I knew my editor would want to see and possibly publish.

Any time I’m out of my depth with graphic-style function I convert to YouTube. However, the films were going a bit much too rapidly for my steep drawing learning curve. On to trick number two: printables. As a homeschool mom, I obtain a lot of curriculums on the internet printables are quick assignments geared to a specific activity or finding out outcome. I didn’t obtain any printables on drawing comics but I did obtain a duplicate of Drawing Comics for Dummies. Ignoring the title (after laughing at how fitting it was), I began heading by means of it.

I was going to draw a comedian that had myself and my editor in it, but I speedily found that it is really hard to attract a beard and curly mustache. It was substantially easier to attract myself—all I had to do was observe the right facial proportions and incorporate my hair. I finished up changing my comedian to one panel with only myself issue solved. (Probably a person working day I’ll try out to draw my editor for the fun of it.)

The amount of money of time it took to attract a one-panel comedian was a great deal additional than I predicted, not counting the time invested studying to draw in a comedian type. Once I determined to change tips I was equipped to draw the thumbnail quite quickly, but the great-tuning took me about five hours to entire. In an work to lower the volume of time I expended on it, I made use of Illustrator to place the closing touches on my comedian fairly than striving to discover Procreate, the program that Nufer utilizes.

The concluded product (artwork by AJ Aiken/Nexus).


Up coming up in my Visual Arts adventure: painting. I went into an Intro to Painting lecture not figuring out what to be expecting other than that they were doing a critique and I’d be offered the assignment to full at the finish. It is extremely intimidating strolling into an artwork class midway as a result of the semester not knowing everything about portray. Thankfully I saw just one acquainted facial area: Nufer. The initial issue I seen was that she requires each possibility to draw. Nufer’s sketchbook is complete of Ruby Rioux drawings. I sat for a handful of minutes just viewing her attract when she chatted with other pupils.

I began introducing myself so persons understood why this stranger was infiltrating their class. It was the only way I could get rid of my own awkwardness of staying there. When the teacher, Joseph Hoh, came in, he pulled me aside to rapidly run by the lecture that went with the assignment we were about to critique. I strike facts overload about midway through. It ought to have revealed on my face simply because when we acquired to colour theory Hoh said I could look it up on the net to refresh my memory. The major matter I essential to remember was the artist they were researching, Frank Stella, and how he used color.

Stella found a way to mix colors that are viewed as unbalanced by using white strains among the colors. While Stella’s earlier operates were paintings, he moved into sculptures as his occupation progressed. His installations are rather large—some of his works would fill an full wall of a classroom. The assignment was an 8”x10” three-dimensional painting that demonstrated a colour principle principle.

It seems so a great deal a lot easier than it is.

When Hoh was finished bringing me up to pace we joined the rest of the class and he introduced me to anyone. We have been then offered time to go all over the classroom to search at all the concluded assignments in get to critique them as a course. Each piece was so distinctive and gorgeous. The color theories Hoh experienced just discussed started making feeling to me.

Still intimidated by my deficiency of understanding of painting in comparison to the fifty percent-semester’s worth the college students experienced constructed up, I didn’t say anything at all during the critiques. I did, having said that, share comparable feelings as some of the college students a several situations. It was appealing to just sit there and hear to the pupils, to hear their ideas. 

They reviewed regardless of whether the a few-dimensional things and colour combos labored together. Element of the critique is also how the artwork is exhibited. A person piece solid a shadow on the wall, which extra to the all round attractiveness of the piece. For another piece, it was instructed that it should really be hung from the ceiling as an alternative of the wall. I considered, “How is that doable?” but another student did just that, so it is attainable. The creativeness in each and every piece was incredible some of the parts were being incredibly intricate. 

This is an introductory portray system, 1 of many Visual Arts programs Camosun offers that will make me speculate how quite a few extra gifted artists lurk in the halls of the Young Making and in the artwork studios behind the building. I’m curious about who may possibly go on to have artwork hanging in a gallery one day, or who presently does.

Some pupils shared a little bit about their activities developing their art pieces. When one pupil mentioned they started off out executing a person factor but it turned into anything else, I was put at ease: if what I required to do didn’t switch out, I’ll just make it into a little something else. Significantly also generally I try to be best, and when I fall short, the fat of defeat feels virtually unbearable. I also realized that if I experienced a entire and utter fall short it would make for a humorous story. So whether my portray turned out to be “dope” or “nope” I’d have a story possibly way.

One more thing I discovered was how to existing prototypes of artwork installations for grant apps. It sounds a ton additional sophisticated than it really is. An artist will make a smaller variation of the installation and then set a very small model which is proportional to the intended sizing of the art piece future to it to give viewpoint. Though I was in the lecture, college students had been getting pics of their artwork parts with mannequins.

Choosing colours for portray is more durable than it is for graphics. For 1, you’re committed to what you put on the canvas. 2nd, if the paint is not the correct colour, it has to be blended with another paint to get the proper color. In Illustrator, I can operate a picture by means of Adobe’s colour webpage and it will spit out the RGB codes. I picked a color palette dependent on open-supply graphics since the track record wasn’t transparent (I’ve saved this mystery from all people, together with my instructor, until finally now). I really do not know how to blend paint to get new colors and this task was not the time to find out, so I constrained myself to the colors I bought. 

Confession: Michaels is one particular of my satisfied spots, and this adventure gave me an justification to go to Michaels and obtain paint. My pal Kirby appeared a minimal stunned that I’d obtain so several colours at a single time for what may possibly be a single challenge. Self-handle kicked in when I place the metallic colours back 24 paints seemed to be plenty of. Nevertheless, if portray becomes a normal factor, I’m likely back for the metallic paint.

Armed with a canvas, paint, paintbrushes, and an notion, I went household and commenced to build. As with all creative adventures, my plan was even larger than time authorized, but I do love art projects. My chosen mediums are chalk pastels and multi-medium collages. (I made use of to give artwork to my household and friends when I did not have money for Xmas provides my mom proudly hangs it on the wall, which is wonderful considering that none of my faculty artwork ever built it to the fridge.)

Prepping my canvas for my wild thought of a thoroughly Nexus-encouraged function of art took levels of Mod Podge and patience. I had to use three layers of newsprint to get an 8”x10” canvas lined the way I required it to be. Then I had to flip it around to wrap the canvas adequately. By the conclusion I believed, “Why did I assume this was a great notion?” Even so, the completed merchandise was really worth all the effort.

Up coming, I consulted a e-book that seems at distinctive portray procedures that came with an easel a buddy purchased me 12 several years ago. Seeking at those 9 approaches turned the most scary moment of this challenge. I stared at the book for what felt like a superior 50 % hour before placing paint to paper. I then broke it down into methods: loading paint on my brush examining the e book portray examining the reserve once again portray a bit additional. It was painful. If I carry on to paint, I really require to consider Intro to Painting. I have totally no notion what I’m carrying out.

I have normally experienced a deep appreciation for painters and was energized to sit in on a portray course, but, as it turns out, Bob Ross manufactured it appear less complicated to execute than it genuinely is. Wishing I had gone to all the “paint and wine” evenings I experienced been invited to, I practiced the procedures. The objective was to have a different painting procedure for each individual letter in the word “Nexus.” All I essential was one thing decent that was huge enough for a single letter that shown what I learned about colour concept in painting.

Now, I never often make the best decisions, and chaos breaks out more typically than I like to admit. I have bipolar, and when manic I have a inclination to pull out the chalk pastels or the broad amounts of scrapbooking provides handed on to me by my mom and get started letting creative juices fly. I’ll sit on the ground, fill a canvas, toss it to the aspect, and get an additional canvas. This can go on for days. I do not have the very best perception of time on a very good day, and zero principle of time when manic. So, of class, I sat on the floor to paint as an alternative of employing the lovely easel I very own. That is, until I knocked in excess of the jar of drinking water utilised to cleanse my brushes. With a puddle of water on my flooring and my exercise paintings now ruined, I resolved to established up the easel and take a break. My aggravation was too high to try out to retain portray.

Just after taking a crack and setting up my easel, I begun more than. This round went smoother than the initially the tactics had been considerably less intimidating. My color strategy was additional congruent amongst the letters, other than for a single letter where I employed the mistaken colours. I also messed up when seeking to do a “thick on thin” strategy I bought it backwards. I experienced a bit of room on my canvas to correct just one letter so I tried using a diverse strategy to swap thick on slender and tried out to take care of the letter that had the completely wrong colours.

As a kid, I employed to enjoy throwing paint at a piece of paper I acquired that it is a good deal less difficult to splatter tempura paint than it is acrylic paint. The clear variation is the viscosity, but I could have applied the incorrect brush or there may well be a trick to flicking the brush I do not know. I’m glad I only necessary a small amount of splatter my irritation was starting to rise once more.

The scariest minute of this adventure was portray the newsprint-lined canvas. I was not heading to cover yet another canvas, so what ever occurred was heading to be the remaining solution. I analyzed out what I wished to do on the canvas paper I was making use of for the letters it worked. Getting a deep breath, I loaded extra paint on to my brush and started out portray in excess of the newsprint. Luckily, it turned out the way I wanted it to.

Considering that this was a three-dimensional painting I essential the letters to pop out from the canvas. My crafty mom abilities straight away believed “toilet-paper roll,” simply because far also several crafts use rest room-paper rolls.

Applying acrylic paint to a bathroom paper roll is tough. Initial of all, it is hard to keep while painting. Second, the much more paint I utilized, the flimsier the roll bought. I necessary a honest sum of paint to cover the roughness and strains of the roll. I was relieved when it was completed.

An additional confession: I like employing a glue gun. It’s a unusual factor, I know, but it is the fact. I was delighted to pull out the glue gun to assemble my portray. Even weirder, I was let down we only had one particular glue adhere.

Executing this, I recognized how much I missed doing crafts with my child. Homeschooling gave us a whole lot of craft time. But I had plenty of glue to put the letters on my canvas, and that’s all that mattered proper now. I even managed not to get glue everywhere—anyone who has made use of a glue gun is familiar with the obstacle of warm glue strings.

It didn’t just take lengthy to assemble: gluing 5 letters onto a canvas only took 10 strips of glue. The tough element was spacing out the letters. I did the ideal I could I’m employed to utilizing arrow keys to transfer graphics and textual content into alignment in Illustrator so I see the place all the things doesn’t align. But this is a little bit of an summary piece so alignment doesn’t will need to be fantastic.

Wanting at my painting and considering about all the time and effort and the water mishap, there is an huge perception of satisfaction. I experienced an plan and, for the most element, it turned out the way I desired it to. The newsprint-wrapped canvas with abstract colour splashed throughout it (without the need of totally masking it) with the letters popping out all labored just how I preferred it to. The portray of the person letters didn’t fairly get the job done out as nicely. But it is my very first genuine try at painting so I’ll slash myself some slack.

The other finished solution (artwork and photograph by AJ Aiken/Nexus).


I’ve generally had a inventive aspect, and no matter whether it is text or visual arts, the exploration brings me a perception of pleasure and peace. Even with staying pushed out of my comfort and ease zone on these two tasks and shelling out more time on them than originally planned, or perhaps it’s possible for the reason that of that, I figured out a number of items.

Very first, as my son grew out of his arts-and-crafts age and into different routines, I remaining behind my emphasis on art as well. I really will need to get again to that. Wrapping the canvas was time-consuming and a minor little bit discouraging but it also reminded me of how substantially I used to love making multi-medium art parts. I may not get again into it appropriate now due to the fact with college I do not have the time there would be a consistent art mess by my desk in my house business. Nonetheless, my easel is continue to up, and my paints and brushes have identified a property in a basket on my shelf. It would only consider a couple of minutes to established up to paint when faculty gets demanding.

Next, drawing comics is a lot a lot more pleasurable than drawing in standpoint. In addition, there are so several diverse models of comics that I’m intrigued to see what type I could like drawing most and what characters I could generate. It is also a a lot more transportable artistic outlet I have a little sketchbook for graphic design drawings previously. I just need to use it.

I know a person detail for absolutely sure: I want to be a lot extra like Nufer and consider advantage of just about every option to draw in buy to make improvements to my expertise.

If I can locate my possess characters and tale, you could see me in the comics segment a person working day.

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