Have you ever been walking through a store and get stopped in your tracks because of children’s book? Well, I have, and when it comes to a children’s book, judging a book by the cover is OKAY! Marywood art alumni Ky Betts’ job is to bring the story to life through his illustrations. In this alumni update Ky Betts will be discussing his life at Marywood and the impacts it made to the life of an illustrator.
Graduation Year/Major: 2013- co-valedictorian B.F.A Illustration with minor in Graphic Design, awarded the Kappa Gamma Phi Medal for General Excellence and the St. Luke Medal for Excellence in Art
Marywood Clubs/Organizations: Rock climbing club, Drawcorps Poland: a study abroad trip to Wroclaw, Poland
Current Occupation: Self-employed as a freelance illustrator and children’s book illustrator, works part-time as a painting instructor at Spirited Art in Dickson City
1) What was your favorite part about Marywood? My favorite part of Marywood was the old library- whenever I wasn’t in the Art buildings, I was studying art and illustration books and magazines on the third floor of the library. I also loved my study abroad trip to Poland where we did reportage drawing, public drawing performances, and used our drawings as an ice-breaker to get to know the people of Poland, and used our drawings as a form of international currency. The idea was to get by on 5 drawings a day, trading live drawings for goods and services. It was an amazing way to meet people and see more than just a normal tourist. I made friends in Poland that I still keep in touch with to this day.
2) Any advice for current art students at Marywood? Take advantage of the incredible faculty and classroom opportunities that Marywood has to offer. Take as many classes as you can; take a painting class, a sculpture class, a typography class—as much as you can. Keep (and use!) a sketchbook and draw something EVERYDAY! Study YOUTUBE; so much can be learned on YouTube, things that expand and reinforce your learning at Marywood. Never stop learning and improving yourself; the more you can do the more marketable you will be once you graduate.
4) What is your favorite part about your job? I love that my job is different each and every day. I love the challenge of solving visual problems in my own unique way and I love making people smile when they see my illustrations.
5) What is the best/worst piece of advice that you have received in the illustration industry? “Illustration is dead!”- completely ridiculous! Illustration is alive and well and is growing in relevance, magnitude, and direction. Has the face of illustration changed? Of course! But I believe that it has changed for the better. Opportunities for illustration are everywhere! If you can draw well, you will NOT starve, regardless of what your parents might tell you.
To view more of Ky Betts’ artworks and to learn more about him, please visit his website www.kybetts.com
All images courtesy of Ky Betts
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