Success Under Pressure


Happy New Year Everyone!

My mom always says “practice makes perfect” and that we have the power to make our dreams real. She’s always going on about being strong and confident. Don’t tell her I said so, but today I found out she was right while I was drawing for an evaluative high school audition.

During the Fine Arts auditions for a specialized art school, you’re usually instructed to draw 3-6 specific types of things: The first task is a model drawing in which the evaluators have a model sit in front of a light for you to draw them; evaluators are looking to see that you understand depth, dimensions, shadows and so on. The second task is to draw something of your choice – either something concrete in the room or something in your head. The third task is to select from a fixed selection of shapes and lines to create an original piece. The remaining tasks vary in nature from school to school. There is also always an essay about who you are and why you thing School X is the best fit for you.

For today’s audition, I decided to just have fun with what I was doing. After all, if I’m spending four years in this place it’s best for the evaluators to know who I am and what I like… and vice versa. I also wanted to think of images that reminded me to be strong and confident in my own skills. Being that I have been working on my drawing skills by drawing characters from a show I follow, I chose to stick with the theme of horses and ponies. I closed my eyes and envisioned the shape of a hoof from a piece that was already in my portfolio. I’m still new at drawing these creatures, but I’ve been watching the show, watching the shapes and the movement of all the animals, going to stables in the summer to watch them live as well. To help get my hand “used to” drawing in realistic dimensions I also practiced tracing templates. The learning process doesn’t come easily and takes a great deal of practice – not just what your teachers show you, but what you come up with on your own and what works for you. I’d never really drawn anything complex in a timed classroom setting, so I was a little nervous about presenting my work.

I drew quickly – these tasks are timed – and when I set down my pencil I looked at the finished product. There it was… a perfect Alicorn (winged unicorn). I could have drawn anything at all – things I already knew I could draw really well and in a flash – but I chose the hardest, and I did it right. Since I had never previously succeeded at actually drawing a horse/pony freehand without turning it into some weird-looking cow creature, it felt like a real accomplishment. It actually looked realistic, which was a fantastic feeling. All the constant practice really paid off!

Best of luck to all those auditioning for specialized Fine Arts programs this year, and remember that what works best for you… is already inside you and waiting for you to discover it.


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