You guys are applying for the Adobe Creative Residency, right??
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an amazing program that basically pays aspiring artists to work on their dream art project for an entire year.
Not everyone qualifies for it of course, you need to be just graduating from art school, or just getting started in your art career. And a couple other little requirements.
But if you do qualify, it’s definitely worth a shot! What do you have to lose??
We chatted with Anna Daviscourt, who is a current Creative Resident and also one of our teachers, about her experience applying for the residency. It turns out she applied twice, but didn’t get it the first time. The second time, she actually had to do some revisions after she had already submitted her application!
Here’s the details….
SVS: How did you hear about the Creative Residency?
Anna: I was following Syd Weiler on social media when she was a resident. One day she posted about this magical program that sounded way too good to be true. Well, now I know, it’s way better than it sounds – not exaggerating.
SVS: What made you decide to apply?
Anna: Well the year that I heard about it I didn’t get it, which dissuaded me a bit. The next year I thought it might not be worth the effort. I had about 2 days left to apply, and my husband James was like - just do it, it’s worth trying. I quickly put together the best proposal that I could (you can see my submission on my Behance page), and with the help of James and my best friend Anthony we ended up with a decent project idea. It took a little pushing, but obviously now I think it was beyond worth the effort!
SVS: What did you submit for your project?
Anna: I created a series of slides modeled after the example set by resident alumni Rosa Kammermeier. I kept it minimal and answered the questions as concisely as possible. James and Anthony really helped to get it stripped down to the most essential parts. I’d recommend having someone look over your proposal at least once!
SVS: How did you come up with your project?
Anna: I was looking for work in concept art when I was contacted by an agent who asked if I was interested in working in children’s publishing. That immediately lit a fire and I jumped into building portfolio and my first book dummy. That agent never got back to me, but when the Residency rolled around, I was ready with everything that I needed! The idea for the book came from my fears as a child seeming so irrational, so I wanted to illustrate them as ridiculously overblown calamities. I wanted to marry what kind of book I would have benefited from as a child with what I wanted to draw as an adult.
SVS: Where are you at now with your project?
Anna: The book itself is in a dummy stage - I have three finished spreads and the rest of it is sketches. Thanks to Lee White (my mentor), I have a plan for making more dummies and my portfolio is now my pride and joy. The project has changed quite a bit from the beginning, but what I’ve learned is that Adobe doesn’t necessarily want the project - they want you. They back me in every decision as long as we agree that it benefits the growth of my career.
SVS: How has the Creative Residency helped you with your project?
The Residency has done so much for me in every way, but with the project I think the biggest asset has been having Lee as a mentor. I promise I’m not saying that because this is SVS! Lee has really made the difference in terms of time efficiency and the quality of work. If I had a year to make anything without any guidance I would have gotten somewhere, but not here. I also must give my residency manager Julia a shout out - she has been nothing but supportive and has made this year feel more like a collaboration than a job!
SVS: What do you plan on doing after the residency?
Anna: All the things! I am working with the lovely agency Shannon Associates to get more illustration work after the residency. I’ll be teaching a class at SVS over the summer (It’s gonna be great!!), and I also hope to start building my business by selling at conventions and opening an online store. My career in children’s books is just beginning, so I hope to drive it forward as much as I can and make a roadmap for others who are doing the same!
SVS: Why should SVS students apply?
Anna: No matter what project you want to make, I guarantee that it will be better and go further if you get the Residency. There is no one who would not benefit from this program. It provides salary, benefits, mentors, travel, opportunities, friends - everything you need. Trust me, you’ll probably never feel ready enough, you’ve just got to try. If you don’t get it, you’ll have a collection of projects that show others what you want to do with your life. None of the effort is wasted, and the potential reward is so worth trying! I recommend setting a reminder for this time every year so that you remember and never miss your chance to live this amazing experience.