LILLIAH CAMPAGNA is an artist of many interests, having studied Game Art, Animation, and Creative Writing at the Laguna College of Art and Design and Comic Art and Creative Writing at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her professional experience includes animated film, documentary illustration, comic art, and video game creation. Self-defined as a comic artist and writer, she is currently working on the realization of Rhupa, a comic series to which she serves as artist and author. She is also in the process of editing an original novel she has written.
"My approach to art has always been that of a storyteller. Even as a young child, I took up drawing as a way to realize to stories and characters in my head. My continued pursuit of art was born both from passion and from a fear that I would be the 'talentless' sibling in my family, which is a real concern to have when your elder siblings are artistic savants. I don't have that worry anymore."
Lilliah's art reflects a dark appreciation for both lovely and macabre, and is influenced by her interests in Mesopotamian history, botany, and cultural anthropology. Her pen-and-ink work draws heavily on aesthetic influences from visual artists such as Mike Mignola, Michael Kirkbride, and Jean "Moebius" Giraud.
"Teaching at the Art Academy is actually what prompted me to pursue art as a career," Lilliah says. "Before that, I hadn't realized that is was even an option for me, or that I had the potential to become a skilled artist. When I was offered an instructing job at The Art Academy at a very young age, that was my moment of realizing 'oh, someone thinks I'm a good enough artist to teach others.' It completely changed my perspective. Had I not gone to The Art Academy as a student, I'd likely be pursuing a PHD in Assyriology, or something equally as niche and stuffy."
Lilliah has been an instructor at The Art Academy since 2011. In that time, she has advanced from being an assistant instructor to helming the development of The Art Academy's Character Design Course, which she teaches alongside the Fantasy Illustration and Digital Illustration courses.
"Teaching students over the years has been a privilege. Meeting these kids who have all these ideas in their minds that they want to realize, and then being able to help give them the means to do just that, is definitely my favorite part of teaching. Their excitement and passion are infectious, and I'm proud to teach in a program that teaches students important techniques and skills that will help them in whatever medium of visual art they pursue."
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, or the artist. Instead, it is the characters themselves . . . . It is their depth and variety which drives a story along and gives it meaning. So, it's important for my characters to be unique, to be memorable, to be part of a culture, and to fit within the world they're inhabiting."
"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."