Admissions Ambassador Alicia Groff ’22, Illustration
Saturday, January 30th, 2021
MEET ALICIA GROFF: I’m a current junior here at PCA&D! I’m from Ephrata, PA, so I have been in Lancaster County my whole life. I’m majoring in Illustration, however, I am not enrolled in any of our minors. For my extracurriculars, I have been branching out to dabble in different fields and mediums, though. (Instagram: @sparktist)
What do you remember about your first visit to PCA&D?
AG: During my junior year at high school, my mom and I visited PCA&D during one of the open house days. I remember the first time I saw the Cintiq lab at our school. I had only a Wacom Intuos Comic at the time, and seeing the big display tablets was the biggest “wow factor” for me during that trip. Not only that, but it stuck with me just how kind the staff at PCA&D were during my visit, and how each faculty member was genuinely excited for my artistic journey.
Why PCA&D? What drew you to our college community?
AG: It was extremely exciting for me to find an art school that was so local to my hometown. I was looking forward to being about to stay home with my family and friends. PCA&D also had a very welcoming and close-knit atmosphere when I visited. I value relationships and I knew that PCA&D was designed to cultivate interactions between students and faculty through its size and focus.
Did you know you wanted to study Illustration when you arrived at PCA&D? Or was there a specific class that sparked your interest in the major?
AG: One of the things that I was looking for in a school was the option to major in illustration or animation. In high school, I thought going into animation might interest me just as much as illustration did. I also thought it would be a safer career path. The more I was exposed to different artistic career opportunities in the field, the more it felt like illustration was the right fit. I still have an interest in the animation industry, although it now leans more towards the pre-production phase. I also have an interest in graphic design, which I didn’t think I would until I was introduced to it in my first two years at PCA&D. Luckily, illustration can easily overlap with both animation and game art as well as graphic design. For me, illustration is a happy mix of a multitude of artistic interests, and it’s definitely the perfect match for me.
What club, activity, or event at PCA&D has meant a great deal to you? What has the experience taught you?
AG: The one club that I was most excited for at PCA&D is our Art Market! In my second year, I was fortunate enough to be part of the market. I had a lot of fun creating merchandise to sell at my table, and I got to grow closer to a lot of my fellow students at PCA&D. The positive affirmation that I received from my friends and the faculty at PCA&D, as well as locals that wandered in from First Friday, provided me with motivation to further pursue the idea of creating products! Art Market mixes together my love of creating and sharing cute things with my love for talking to and connecting with people! This year, I am extremely blessed to be the new club leader for our Art Market! I’m hoping we will be able to put something extra special together for the coming semester!
Alicia, what would your dream job be after college? Has there been a class or experience at PCA&D that’s enabled you to work toward that goal?
AG: There isn’t one single job that I am striving for at the moment. In the sea of artistic options, there are a few that I am considering as my “dream job” as of now. One would be product design! I would love to be able to create merchandise or packaging for companies or brands such as Disney and Mattel. They produce work that has been a big influence on my childhood. I would love to be able to run my own merchandise shop if that would ever be an option that would financially support me. I’m also interested in storyboard and concept art for games and film. However, I suppose my DREAM DREAM job would be to draw cute animals all day and get paid for it.
Have you lived in PCA&D student housing or commuted to the College?
AG: I’m a commuter here at PCA&D. It’s been a blessing to be able to stay at home and save money on housing and groceries (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I’ve definitely enhanced my skills in driving around the city thanks to commuting. I love commuting because it allows me to be active in my hometown events as well as ones at school, and I get the opportunity to listen to music and podcasts during my drives.
How have your relationships with your professors and the College’s small class size impacted your experience?
AG: Due to the college’s small class sizes, I have been able to efficiently improve and grow through a majority of my projects. I’ve found it extremely helpful to utilize work time to run any revisions past my instructor. They have always helped me inch closer and closer to a more successful end result than I would have produced on my own. Every professor is here to help you reach new milestones and to grow into your potential. They will continue to be cheerleaders for you long after you have them in class. I am extremely grateful to have a network of professors and staff members who I know I can go to for help and motivation.
What’s your favorite annual College event?
AG: My favorite college events happen towards the end of the fall semester! I love the ExtraGive and our Thanksgiving feast! It’s the time of year that is fun, festive, and generous, and I always look forward to it! We do a lot of fun activities for ExtraGive, as well as fundraising and donating food. Our Thanksgiving feast is one of the few times that the whole school is together to celebrate our community! It always entails amazing food, and inclusivity for different dietary restrictions. A minor but very fun detail is the brown paper that is wrapped over each tabletop, with crayons provided for your artistic needs.
What’s your favorite art tool?
AG: I currently produce a lot of my work digitally with my iPad Pro and Procreate. While I do love digital art, I’m also a really big fan of doing cut-out mixed media pieces! With this, I will cut out shapes from bright colored paper, felt, and other fun materials to create work. I like the dimensions and textures it creates, as well as working with flat colors and organic shapes.
Right now, who inspires you in your field?
AG: Here are some of the illustrators that I’m keeping my eyes on at the moment! I have found that their influence has made its way into my personal style as well.
Natali Koromoto Martinez – Natali Koromoto Martinez has an adorable style and she creates a lot of fun, practical merchandise! She has also done some commission work for big companies such as Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.
Sophie Gallo – Sophie Gallo does 2D animation as well as character design.
Priscilla Wong – Priscilla Wong has worked on a few animated features. I’m most interested in her visual development work for one of my favorite movies, “Trolls”. She created the soft, felt world that makes this movie so visually unique.
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