My final semester in Findlay’s children’s book illustration program woke up and roared as soon as classes began. With work, exercise, Bible studies, and additional activities, I feel like I’ve been running all over the place all the time. Oddly, my schedule echoes my very first semester at Findlay. I have another drawing class and another art history class, with the same teachers, at the same time, as well as a lengthy night class on Thursdays, with the same professor as my last Thursday night class. To keep the parallel going, I once again feel like I have a ton of work to do.
I seem to have both more and less free time than before. Excruciatingly long Tuesdays and Thursdays (9:30 a.m. to about 10:30 p.m.) leave me with no classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, my Professional Practices class requires that I do 150 hours of illustration-related work, which breaks down to about 10 hours a week (three or more hours on every non-class weekday). It’s like a part-time job, except I don’t get paid.
Though it seems a little excessive, I can’t complain. I am being forced to draw things rather than being forced to, say, do something I don’t enjoy. Plus, I will get to graduate.
Thus far, I have visually developed the three characters in my story, as well as a very distinct shoulder bag. As I worked out some of the narrative knots, I discovered that my merboy (Dart) needed something to carry his treasures and trinkets in. Not wanting to leave my hero with a silly looking purse or an awkward bag that would impede his swimming, I took a fair amount of time getting this satchel right. It even got its own character development page. I borrowed elements from laptop bags and shark- or sealskin surfaces, and added a swirly seaweed strap so that I would have something fun to draw.
Another concern I had was how this bag would move in relation to Dart himself. I went so far as to make my own “satchel” out of a rolled-up towel and a strap I happened to have. I spent a while jumping, crawling, and posing in my room to see how a satchel should feel. It was through this semi-embarrassing exercise that I figured out which of Dart’s shoulders the strap should go over. Once this extremely important detail was firmly established, story and character development was able to continue.
As of this post, I have put in 34.5 hours, or 23 percent of my total required time. In order to complete my hours and pass this class, I may have to write another book or two. I may even have to design more satchels.