About The Artist Pirate Self Portrait

Graphic novels are the closest any medium has ever come to encompassing every talent within my artistry. I spent my four years of high school skillfully avoiding the weight of academic yoke, the tired pursuit of a four year college degree that wasn’t even my dream.

By senior year, every class I took was an arts class, save for my English seminars, but even those held titles like English Literature and Film and Death and Humor. Instead of AP classes and stress induced panic attacks, I spent my days in fashion design, art, photography, graphic design and 3D modeling classes.

I was so eager to study animation in college that I elected to start school a half semester early, cutting into my last summer before the real world.

I met my future husband when he began in the fall, studying filmmaking. I was The Artist of the group, often appearing in my friends’ short film projects, and as I worked alone on my drawings, I couldn’t help but notice how much more fun they seemed to be having in school than me.

After a particularly late night of vulnerability and questionable decisions, I found myself watching Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban as dawn crept through my friend’s bedroom window. It was then, with daylight’s beams playing with the floating particles in front of the TV, matching those spilling into The Leaky Caldron on screen, that I realized a single, terrifying truth: I needed to switch my major. Today.

In the moments prior to this realization, I had been in awe of the scene’s set design. It’s the moment when Harry meets The Weasleys after they come back from visiting Egypt. I noticed the interior of The Leaky Caldron. The flyers, the textures. How every single thing I was seeing on screen was there because the production designer had willed it so.

And in those few moments, I had been more excited than in my entire six months in my own major. 

I remember making the decision, driving up to school at 6 am and changing my major to Filmmaking that same day – then telling my mom so she couldn’t talk me out of it. 

Everything I learned there – screenwriting, cinematography, production design, storyboarding, directing, editing, etc. – plus my natural, innate artistic talent, is being put into play with the graphic novels and comics I’m creating today.

That one decision, to change my major and inform everyone else later, was my first real experience with trusting my own call to adventure over the opinions and ideas of others, influencing me with their good intentions. It was the foundation for which I would build my entire life upon. It is the theme of my book, the one lesson I wish to teach teens and young adults everywhere:  Listen for that voice inside you, the one that tells you what would truly make you happy, and answer that Call to Adventure.