Since its founding in 1972, The Group has worked to fund scholarships for deserving students of Otis College of Art and Design. The awardees met with members of The Group and presented examples of their work at The Group's Annual Scholarship Luncheon on February 16, 2017. One student from each of the seven undergraduate disciplines is chosen for the scholarship, and each week, we'll be highlighting a different awardee as we countdown to the 2017 Commencement Ceremony.
A senior in the Digital Media program at Otis College, Christina Liang turned her childhood love of doodling into a passion for storytelling in the commercial and advertising world. Through her concentration in motion graphics design and animation she was able to find a place for her ideas and illustration background in an exciting and collaborative industry.
"I have always loved illustration because it allowed me to hold on to a part of my youth, which is what I feel is the charm of illustrations," wrote Christina. "I love the way that illustration can come in so many styles, be born from different influences, and each is so individual and stylized, telling a little bit about the artist without the need for any words. I started off with traditional mediums to create my illustrations, but after coming to Otis, I was introduced to motion graphics and started to pick up various programs to digitize my artwork. Even though it was difficult at times, I was driven by the challenge of creative problem-solving." Christina talked to us about pushing yourself creatively, collaborating with other designers, and the importance of learning from your mistakes, watch the video and read the Q&A below.
What do you love about Digital Media?
I think my favorite part about digital media would have to be all the people. The students and the faculty made the four years here super memorable. All the hours spent working alongside your friends, and the times the instructors would give me advice and help me find opportunities, it’s priceless.
What is something that you learned at Otis that you will take with you throughout your career?
One of the most important lessons I have learned going to Otis is how important it is to be a team player. In the real world, the industry is composed of groups of artists and designers, and they work together to achieve their common goal. Otis gave ample opportunities for us to work together and it has taught me how to work efficiently and effectively with others.
Which class or project most surprised you?
As of now, a class that surprised me was "20 in 30" taught by Steve Viola. I was pretty overwhelmed because I was a senior and that class made me realize that I still had a lot to learn. It was extremely fast-paced with a heavy workload and required some camera work, which I didn’t have much experience with. Although I can’t say I completely owned this class, it is a good experience to push ourselves.
How do you handle creative block?
There are two ways I handle a creative block. One, I either will spend the next few hours just looking for references and images or videos until something gives me an idea, or I will step away and go do something else and come back with fresh eyes. This usually does the trick. If not, I will just try to jump in and usually by doing this, I figure out what I don’t want to do, so it helps me narrow down and hone in on what I do want.
Describe a collaboration you’ve worked on with other students. How did working with them inform your creative process?
I had done a C4D mnemonic advertisement with my peer. We sorted out each others' strengths and worked accordingly and I think that made for a successful outcome. Since my C4D knowledge was not as refined as hers, I came up with a concept and storyboarded it out. She began to model the scene and characters and animated it. I went on to creating assets for the end tag and animated that as well. It was important that we effectively communicated constantly to stay on task.
What internships have you done and what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
I interned at two places last summer, MPC and Buster Design. They were both different in that one was more fast-paced, busy, and less intimate, and the other was more relaxed and friendly. My biggest takeaway is that it is okay to mess up as an intern, nobody expects you to be perfect as long as you learn from your mistakes. Even when you just start working in the industry, people are forgiving as long as you are genuine.
What is your advice to incoming students as they start down the path to a creative career?
To incoming students, I would tell them that their experience is going to be as good as they make it. No success comes without hard work and patience. I think it is also very important for students to be up to date with what is going on in the industry and to know who is in the industry.