Spencer Flock // Alumni Q&A

2018 graduate

What have you been up to since graduating from the program?
Once school ended I just really didn't want to take a break. I still felt very motivated and I wanted to keep the rhythm of working going. I was able to get some freelance work but I did, and still do, need a part time job on top of freelancing. There was some rebalancing that had to be done about five months out where I burnt myself out and that's ok. I took the time I needed and came out of it with much better life skills to keep things balanced. It's really important to figure out how you tick. I also took a trip to Montreal, moved into a new apartment, got the most friendly cat, and switched to working completely digital on my illustrations. The last one was huge! No more scanning tons of random painted shapes which is how I made work before.

What does a typical work day look like for you?
I'd like to say I wake up at the crack of dawn and work on art all day, but right now my work days have to remain flexible due to having a part time job. That makes it difficult to say "this is my routine." I work when I can at the moment, but most days I do draw and work on new stuff. What really is a great part of my day is being with my partner, Katie Hicks. It's amazing to be able to work together, bounce ideas off each other, and relax together too. I couldn't imagine figuring things out with anyone else.

What stands out in your mind as a highlight of your time here at Sheridan? 
Honestly this is a bit of a boring answer, but I really loved having the dedicated room for fourth year students.  Along with a couple of others, I was there all the time. I wasn't always working but being in that environment and around other creative people was always motivating. I can be a bit of a hermit, but being around others, or simply in a space where I can be focused, improved everything about school. It made working more enjoyable and it made the last year of school, where I was a more active participant in this environment, a more enriching experience. 

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to pursue an education and career in illustration?
When I was in Third year I didn't like the work I was making in pretty much any way, shape, or form. I didn't like the roughs, sketches, sketchbook, finals, doodles — everything I made I did not like. So through guidance from profs, I decided to scrap it all and throw caution to the wind to instead try to experiment. I was too caught up in what I thought other people wanted me to make, instead of what I actually wanted to make. The problem, I realized, was that I had no clue what I actually wanted to make — all I had were hunches. So I experimented with the whole process of making, and along the way, I made quite a lot of bad work. I tried things that I thought I would like and then didn’t. Sometimes I would like certain aspects, even though I didn’t like the final outcomes. I ended up gathering every little thing that I did enjoy or appreciate. We can get hung up on worrying about whether or not something is going to turn out poorly, or someone else will like it, and end up never trying/testing ideas out of fear of failure. The thing is though, choosing to actively push boundaries is how I learned how to make good work that I enjoy. So my advice is, if you have a hunch to try something, bite the bullet and do it. If it doesn't work and you hated the process, you now know that and you can move on and do something else. I guarantee that you will get something out of it though and it will move you closer to figuring out your work. While in school I would test out as many hunches as you can and be critical about the results.

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