Several years ago I was a young man living on my own, working three minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet. Bills were always overdue, credit card companies were breathing down my neck, I never got enough sleep, free time was a luxury and I was never able to hang out with anyone. I was not living my life to the potential of what it could be. I was simply surviving.
I recall early one morning, in the backroom of one of my tedious retail jobs, half-awake, I had a revelation. I did not want to simply exist, to merely pass through this one chance at life, forgotten, known by no one. An unobserved life is not worth living. With that notion playing in my head all day, I quit my jobs, moved back home with my parents, and applied to Brookdale Community College.
I have always been interested in comics, manga, video games and all other degrees of nerd paraphernalia, and so I began pursuing my career as a comic artist. I had some knowledge of drawing and art, but I was limited to my bias of only drawing “anime people” and my work was akin to that of the worst of the deepest canals of the Internet: I was inexperienced.
I started with several drawing courses and was able to learn the basis of drawing and how to create an image that lived inside my mind. There was so much more to drawing than I had learned from the “How to Draw Manga” books that I obsessed with as a child. Form, line, weight, perspective and depth, just to name a few. These were the tools I needed to have to truly understand drawing.
I was taught by some of the greatest educators I have ever had. They showed actual interest in my personal growth as an artist. And what’s more, they grew to be more than my mentors and became some of my greatest colleagues in the field.
During my time at Brookdale, I was able to take advantage of the massive research center in the Bankier Library to expand my understanding. I would read academic books written by comic theorists and scholars on the study of “what makes comics work.” I studied the teachings of many great minds, such as Scott McCloud and Will Eisner and took in their wisdom on the subject.
In addition to the education, my social life expanded tremendously. I was no longer stuck alone in my little studio apartment, but instead I was surrounded by friends who shared similar interests. Comrades that I could share knowledge and interesting stories with. If I had not gone to Brookdale, I would have never made the important connections that have helped to build up my career as it is now.
In May of 2014, I graduated Brookdale Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Studio Art. Since then I have gone on to work on multiple projects, comics and children’s books, such as Aerin, Will Draw for Food, I am a Superhero, and many more.
I work online with many other artists, and in June of 2015, I co-founded a comic books publishing house called Blu Trinity Comics with two colleagues I met at Brookdale. Currently I am teaching around New Jersey about making comics and comic theory. I have come so far in the three years I attended Brookdale, and I am so glad that I did.
– article by Jim Shaw
Student Voices is a regular Newsroom column written exclusively by Brookdale students. If you would like to contribute a column about college life, campus events or any Brookdale-related topic, email the office of College Relations.