Children and Teen Drawing, Manga, Superheroes
and Fantasy Figures Instructor
LILLIAH BAKER has been with The Art Academy for six years, five of which she has worked as an instructor in various classes. Her artistic focus lies in animation, video game, and comic art. In an attempt to meld those various interests, Lilliah is currently pursuing a BFA in Animation. Aside from her teaching at the Academy, Lilliah also works as a freelance artist and takes on private commissions.
Lilliah reflects on her skill advancement in the arts: "Much of my early artistic development was drawn from observation. I'd sit at a computer and sort through hundreds of pictures posted online, drawing bits and pieces from various artwork in an attempt to improve and develop my own style. However, I didn't begin to progress at an accelerated pace until I began to concentrate on the technical aspects of art."
Lilliah found that technical training when she attended classes at The Art Academy. "I didn't have any art at my school – there I was encouraged, but there was no proper guidance. Then I discovered The Art Academy and the world opened up for me – it provided the instruction I needed." Today, Lilliah supplements her training by taking classes at the Atelier.
Lilliah also experienced a dramatic boost of confidence when she became an instructor at The Art Academy: "I didn't consider pursuing art as a career until I was hired as a teacher at the school. That was a very pivotal moment in my life. I realized: 'Oh, someone considers me to be a good enough artist to train others. Maybe I can do this for a living.'
"I've been incredibly fortunate to have access to such talented instructors who are supportive of my endeavors, and due to the immense impact I have received from them, I approach teaching with the same reverence. There's a lot I've learned over the years: I've come to know that while much of my skill is derived from schooling, I also have a background of 'figuring things out along the way'. This definitely influences my teaching. It's the combination of the two approaches that I look to share with others. I want these children and teenagers who are my students to have the opportunity to experience the same revelation that I had. I want them to say: 'Yes, I too can become a highly skilled artist if I just keep working at it, and my dedication will show through my wonderful achievements.'"
Regarding character design, Lilliah states: "Almost all of my art holds the purpose of telling a story, but the narrator in each story is not an author. Instead, it is the characters themselves . . . . It is their depth and variety which drives a story along and gives it meaning; and it's my job to express this visually. Consequently, it's important for my characters to be unique, to be memorable, to be part of a culture, and to be at one with a fully imagined world.
"To build a figure design with such purpose requires that I create a visual history; which in turn demands that I spend a good deal of time brainstorming and sketching to develop a believable character. That is what I try and pass on to my students – I want them to be able to have the skills to take what they see in their heads, put it on paper, and through thoughtful adjustment and imaginative improvement – combined with anatomy, gesture, costume and expression – realize that they can make their drawings even better."