A few months ago, one of our frequent portfolio adjudicators, Pete Nguyen from Avenue Magazine Edmonton, approached us with an idea. He suggested that he work with the students in our Digital Illustration program to plan, implement, and publish an editorial illustration that he would choose after working with them all. The entire class would be involved and one would be chosen for publication.
Pete worked with EDAC faculty lead, Lee Nielsen, to come up with a sequence that would mimic a freelance illustration production cycle while still ensuring that everyone in the class would have the opportunity to learn. It is sometimes tricky to balance production deadlines with student learning needs. At EDAC, a student’s learning always comes first. If there is no educational value in the experience, then we don’t get involved. As well, Pete wanted the chosen illustrator to receive compensation, so he made sure that the student would receive an honorarium.
Pete describes the process himself, “Starting this project with EDAC was a great learning experience for myself and the digital illustration students. The execution of the project was set up to mimic real life deadlines from ideation, to roughs, then to finals. We even went through invoicing and contributor’s bios.”
“The most interesting part for me was having that little bit of extra communication. I was getting feedback on the feedback that I was giving the students. Even though this was a class wide project, each interaction was very intimate. There was a lot of critiquing going on during the process and even a post project brief occurred,” says Pete.
“Even though this was a class wide project, each interaction was very intimate.” – Pete Nquyen
We had several direct and indirect goals with this project. The first was to provide our students with an experience that was similar to what it would be like to work as a professional in the industry. As well, we wanted to see how people in the class would behave in a competitive environment. Getting work as a professional is tough, you need to be on top of your game if you want to succeed. This would be an opportunity for our students to experience interacting with a working Art Director at a significant magazine in Edmonton. Pete is a highly skilled and talented designer/illustrator, so there was some serious street cred at the table. Pete is generously supportive, “I have to give it up to the EDAC digital illustration students for making it through the project! The pressure was on, and they were working ahead of the deadlines, I was the one that was trying to catch up with them on feedback and suggestions.”
“…the final piece that we published was a great representation of what can be accomplished at EDAC in 10 months of learning.” – Pete Nguyen
Over the course of several weeks, Lee and Pete worked with our students they way they would work with other professionals. The students had to communicate clearly, present viable ideas, and ultimately produce work that was worthy of printing in a magazine. Pete had to shift from mentor to Art Director and choose. He picked a piece that he felt fit the story, and it is now published in this month’s edition of Avenue Edmonton.
Congratulations to the entire class of illustrators who produced some excellent work. Your colleague, Rod Morrison, represents you well! Be proud of yourselves! Pete sums up the experience, “unfortunately we only had room to run one of the illustrations in print. Overall, the students did amazing work, and the final piece that we published was a great representation of what can be accomplished at EDAC in 10 months of learning. Thank you to EDAC for making this experience possible, and thank you to all the students for great work and patience! I’m hoping to do a project like this again soon.”
And, we want to say a huge THANK YOU, to Pete and Avenue Edmonton for taking us on this excellent adventure!