Lillie Girard
Graduating Fall 2022

With my finals days upon me before graduating the University of Tampa, it’s easy for me to be excited about stepping into a new world. However, I feel as if nothing will truly change about my outlook on my creative processes. Not because I won’t learn anything, but because preparing myself for the future and creating a life I can live off of my creative prowess is what I’ve wanted ever since I can remember. Inspired by a lonely teenage years, nothing made me happier than the most interesting worlds, characters, and settings. These beautiful stories all expressed through equally as beautiful art. Opportunities given to me at UT paved the direction that I would take to becoming somebody that past me would have adored. Artistic problem solving in animation classes with all other kinds of creative learnings along the way, as well as the multitude of people I would meet that would never leave my side.

Considering all that I’ve done, my strengths are just that: all that I’ve done. With a strong knowledge of technology and artistic formalities, the 12 fundamentals of animation, and color theory driven into my core more times than I can count, learning a new skill or translating my knowledge to something else comes extremely easy to me. Because of this, I’ve been able to expand my horizons to digital art, 2D and 3D animation, programming and coding in multiple languages, and becoming comfortable bring my charisma and video editing into voice recording for podcasts, Twitch streaming, and content creation. All of these experiences do a lot to help me expand my horizons, and have come up genuinely from my enjoyment of them, to which I spend almost all of my free time. Whenever I run into a roadblock creatively, whether it be knowledge or a foreign medium, I am confident that I can overcome it. Now, that is to say that I am not simply a jack of all trades. I have my own preferences, and those preferences are what I excel at. The rules, timing and flow of movement within animation is something I consider myself particularly good at, and I tend to enjoy slow, methodical movement over fast paced action. 2D digital art and painting are what I am most used to, and comfortable with. My senior project is the culmination of this. Methodical, slow reactions and a twinge of fast paced action in my own 2D art style to emphasize my ability to do anything I put my mind to.

While I may have prowess in technology and applying it to my own creativity, the lack of this ease is where I find myself struggling the most. I don’t find myself being particularly good at non-digital art, whether that be craft, pen and paper, or physical printing. However, this weakness comes to me with a lack of need. When trying to achieve all that I can, and learn in the process, it was extremely rare that I found the need to draw or paint anything traditionally for anything other than classes that require it, and my dream field of work is extremely telling of this restriction. However, a fundamental ability to draw comes to me in any medium, as shown before, so while I struggle with the lack of practice in pen-and-paper art, I find it hard to believe that I would struggle for long, with a bit of ambition if the need comes. In the field that I am more experienced in, my ability to do lots of things have dampened my practice on anatomy and general artistic ability in capturing a consistent style. Like most artists, I struggle, get frustrated, and feel less confident in my ability to draw certain things well from time to time. This may come from a want or need to mix it up from time to time, and it can be difficult for me to stay on one medium for a long time, which may bring me out of practice. However, I’ve found that the existence of so many artistic forms and styles that I bounce off one another to create my personal brand rarely falters if one leg becomes a bit weaker now and then.

After graduating, I want to continue to do exactly what I do now: Create and brand myself in whatever creative aspects I find most enjoyable. While a job animating for an esteemed studio is up there on my personal accomplishments, my biggest dream is to become a self-employed content creator, where I can be myself, create everything for my own need, and expand myself creatively with what I want to do. When I was young, I found myself enamored by the moving images on my TV screen, and the moving characters in my favorite video games. Animating these beautiful and beloved characters was what I wanted for a long time. However, since I’ve expanded my own knowledge and grown as a person, so has my scope. My older dream felt too restricting as my field of view increased. Now, there is nothing stopping me from creating my own worlds, my own experiences, and my own mediums for my creativity to thrive.