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A Special Christmas Post, AKA What I Learned From Thesis

Merry Christmas! This is the only Christmas-y photo of myself I had lying around…

A few days late for this, but Merry Christmas, everyone!

I have a special present to all of my dear readers. Now that Thesis is over, I have learned some important lessons. So my gift to all of you, especially future Illustration Thesis students, is sharing what I’ve learned. As a foreword- do as I say, not as I do.

Plan Your Schedule Well

One of the first things Bob asked was a Gantt Chart to show how much time we planned to work on each piece. The minimum amount of pieces due are 10, and there are 15 weeks in a semester- so the more pieces you plan to do, the less time you have to work on each one. I had planned for one piece per week, with the leftover weeks left as “slosh” time/time spent working on the promo piece. Plan everything- thumbnails, sketches, finals, etc. And be realistic in your planning- don’t say “I can do this in 3 days” when it really takes 5 days.

Stick To Your Schedule

As tempting as procrastination is, the end result is never good. I went off schedule a lot, and so I had a lot of work to do at both the midpoint when half of the pieces needed to be done, and at the very end when I needed everything done. I used up all of my “slosh” time working to finish every piece, which in turn ate into my promo work time. So any time you think “I can do that tomorrow”, do it that day instead.

Always Think Ahead

At the start of Thesis, I thumbnailed out ideas for each of my 10 pieces; some ideas required more thumbnailing later, but I at least had a few ideas of what I wanted. Whenever I talked to Bob, he was always asking about what I was working on at the moment and what my plans were for the next piece. Even at the very beginning, Bob asked me to consider what my promo was going to look like, and to plan the dimensions for each piece accordingly. When you think ahead, you save time because you already have an idea of what you want in mind.

Talk To Bob/Faculty/Classmates

It’s really easy to get lost in your own head and think, “I don’t wanna show anything to anybody.” That happened to me quite a bit, and it can drive you crazy with self-doubt about your art. But showing my work to Bob and talking with my faculty advisors helped ease that, and helped me to improve my pieces. Asking for your peers’ advice can be really helpful too-  they can point out the little things to help improve your work. And if any issues come up, talking to Bob is really useful because he’s flexible and will work with you on any scheduling problems.

Thesis is supposed to be the time where you put out your best work possible, and I do feel like I did. And it helps that I was with a group of really top-tier illustrators; I couldn’t ask for a better group. I hope that all you future Thesis students have a good time during your Thesis- it will be challenging, but it can also be fun.

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

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