October's  Alumni of the Month

Elana Barron

Every month, we highlight an alumni from the ADiM department and catch up with them. 

What have you been up to since leaving CCBC? Jobs, accomplishments you'd like to share, moving, etc.

After studying at CCBC from 2012-2014, I transferred to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) where I received my BFA. I majored in illustration with a focus in picture books. While at MICA I did some smaller jobs between semesters. I worked with Red Swan Walls (at the time Spectrum Studio) painting murals in charter schools in the MD and DC area and enjoyed the challenge of painting large scale with a team of super talented artists. In my final semester at MICA (April 2017) I began an internship at an apparel company. Eight months later I was offered a full time position there. I've been designing art for t-shirts and various accessories for about three years now. It's always fun seeing art come to life on products and getting to say hi to them in local stores. In addition to the in-house work, I have been chipping away at growing my freelance illustration practice.

What art projects are you currently working on and how does it compare to your work at CCBC?

Currently, I'm working on expanding my portfolio and getting into the world of children's book publishing. I've written many drafts and with some time and tenacity I am working towards finalizing my manuscript. When Covid hit I was searching for a way I could positively provide through my art. In April, my Color Me (coloring pages) were born. Every so often I create more pages that are free to download and print from my website. This past year I started with custom watercolor pet and family portraits. I've gone back to creating Judaica art that I hope might also find it's way into more published applications.

What’s your current art process like? How does it compare to when you were at CCBC?

My portraiture work is vastly different from my illustrations. I like the balance of implementing fine art into my work with the whimsy and sometimes more abstracted approach I have with my illustrations. My process changes depending on if I am working with a client or if it's a self directed project. With clients, I have a more organized procedure and time frame in comparison to my personal work. I think when I was a student at CCBC I put less emphasis on the process and more on the final result. I went straight for the good paper. I've learned to slow down and to really work through the sketching process prior to getting my paints out. CCBC was one of my first experiences in taking art classes. It was magic to start learning and improving my skill and understanding.

How do you see your work growing in the future?

I see it improving. One of my mottos is: practice makes better. I believe the more I create the more I will grow. Being able to see the nuances of where my work can improve leaves me hopeful that there is always room to evolve. It's one of my dreams to see my work make its way into a 32 page picture book. I hope wherever my work finds itself, that it provides meaning and purpose in whatever form it takes.

If you had to give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

It's okay to not be the best or the most talented, to struggle, and to work hard. Because through that struggle, and through that understanding that there is constant room for growth, what can be achieved is really limitless. That hard work takes you through all of life's challenges, in and beyond your sketchbook. You become greater and far more real when you work for it.

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