CONTRIBUTED BY FIONA MCGILL
Inside Out. Moana. Frozen. In order for these beloved animated films to reach the big screen, they first need to spend months or years being imagined, designed, drawn and brought to life.
The animation industry entices junior Fiona McGill, who dreams of using her digital art skills to help produce films like these.
McGill started doing digital art around two years ago, and it has quickly become her main platform. Using apps like Procreate, McGill said she usually uses a reference image to base her artwork off of. Her Instagram page and personal website boast impressive galleries of portraits of famous people, scenes from movies and even depictions of herself and family. Those who know McGill said that what makes her stand out is something beyond her talent.
Elizabeth Brennan, an art teacher at the high school and mentor to McGill, was full of nothing but praise for McGill and her work. However, she said that her confidence in McGill was rooted in who she is as a person, rather than as an artist.
“Talent doesn’t take you everywhere,” Brennan said. “It’s the other piece Fiona adds to it, her determination and ability to take risks. She doesn’t just stick with what she knows.”
Thato Mwosa, visual arts teacher who also has gotten to know McGill these past few years, said she was similarly struck by McGill’s confidence.
“A lot of talented students I’ve come across choose the safe path. It’s so scary to be an artist because nothing is guaranteed,” Mwosa said.
Mwosa said she was certain McGill would be unafraid to take the risky path and expressed how glad she was that McGill planned to pursue digital art.
McGill said her growth process is evident. The people in her portraits feel more alive and more detailed. McGill credits her improvement to being open-minded.
“I used to not have as much of an open mind when it came to art. The difference between art one year and the next would not be that big,” McGill said.
Brennan said that McGill’s open-mind not only makes her a talented artist and sets her up for a successful future, it also makes her a better student.
“Fiona’s so open to any kind of feedback. You can see she’s taking it in and you can see evidence of it in her next work. She’s such a joy to teach because she wants to learn,” Brennan said.
Currently, McGill said she likes to do fan art, with celebrities or movie characters as the subjects of her work. She spends hours working and has even developed strategies to work through getting stuck.
“When I run into a problem as specific as, I cannot figure out what’s wrong with the proportions on someone’s face, I try to not be too attached to what I have now. If you’re too attached to what you have in the moment, then you’re never going to be able to change it,” McGill said.
With McGill’s well-rounded set of qualities, it is no surprise to her teachers that she plans to continue doing digital art well into the future.
“My dream is to work for the animation industry,” McGill said. “That would be something every day that I can be excited and really passionate about, and try to put my best work forward.”