BY ALAINA CROWELL
It started with pencilled-in doodles on the margins of his paper, and with practice, it’s transformed into commissioning art digitally: sophomore Riley Hart could call it his job.
At first, art wasn’t on his radar. As a young kid, he played soccer and football and kept to himself, only drawing doodles here and there as any other kid would. It wasn’t until his parents had signed him up for a drawing class that he realized that his hobby could turn into something more.
“I wasn’t really into drawing until my parents pushed me into it. Where I used to live, the best school was an art school, and I’m not good at music, so I focused on that. They would see me copy cartoon characters and thought ‘He’s good at this. Let’s sign him up,’” said Hart.
His hobby had transformed into his passion, seemingly overnight, and from there he immediately started looking for ways to immerse himself in it. With his introverted personality, he thought that in-person connections wouldn’t be satisfactory, so he turned to the world wide web, where he felt he could be outgoing.
From an art app on his phone, he was quickly able to join a community of artists, where he drew for “concept challenges” other artists had posted. These are invitations to draw a character or setting based off a template as assigned by a competition creator – sort of like creating your own world.
“The person who makes the challenge gets submissions from everyone who took part in drawing their concept, and they get to pick who they think did the best. If you win, you usually get to do a commission for someone,” said Hart. “I’ve focused on these for the opportunity to draw for other people,make some money, and get recognized for my art. Someone will reach out to me, and I’ll set a price, and give them updates all through the process, and that’s how easy it is.”
Of course, the most important aspect of art is the passion the artist puts behind it.
“I love [drawing] because I’ve always had a huge imagination,” remarked Hart. “Being able to make my thoughts somewhat real is exciting. Life for me is boring right now, I barely go out, so why not make my own places or people.”
Hart wants to explore a career in art in illustration, video game design, or possibly even digital effects for movies. He’s dreaming big.
His art teacher, Rachel Michaud, is excited to see what his future holds as well.
“He’s very talented, very creative, and a wonderful illustrator. He produces solid work, and I’d be happy to see him take more challenging art courses here,” said Ms. Michaud.