In Department of Design, Students

Madison Baker, an Illustration student, took on the role of club president to help her classmates stay connected after the club had closed down

Having first attended an Illustration Club activity that she loved as a freshman, Madison Baker was disappointed when she returned from her mission to find the club had since been dissolved. 

“We had gone on a field trip to a farm where we harvested corn and then painted still lifes of pumpkins. I met so many cool people that day, many of them older students who I obviously idolized,” said Baker. Reflecting on the great experience she had with the club, she wanted a way to keep in touch with her fellow illustration students. 

Becoming the Illustration Club’s president was a venture all her own. She thought it would be nice to start the club again, although she felt too busy to take it on. 

Enter COVID-19. Baker said many of the illustration students moved home and she felt they needed some way to stay connected. “We all had more time to do extracurricular activities. So, I declared myself captain,” she said.  

The letter Z’s design for the Illustration Club’s alphabet book

Baker said it was difficult trying to gather everyone for Zoom calls because students generally felt burnt out by the video chat service. “Other than that, we’ve still been able to do some really neat collaborations with each other,” she said. One project the club worked on was an alphabet book where each member designed a character for the different letters.

The letter Q’s design for the Illustration Club’s alphabet book

Illustration has been a part of Baker’s life for as long as she can remember. “And evidently since before I can remember, considering my large collection of abstract expressionist preschool paintings,” she related. 

Having mostly made art as a hobby growing up, high school was when it became a real focus of her time and energy. Still, Baker wasn’t sure she wanted to do it as a profession. “I thought the only career options for an artist were to teach, starve or do tattoos (as one teacher recommended),” she said. 

Baker decided she wasn’t particularly interested in digital art, so graphic design didn’t cross her mind and she had never heard of illustration –– until a tour of BYU.

“I walked through halls lined with the drawings of illustration students and then into their studio space. I was in awe. From then on, I had a trajectory I knew I wanted to be on. There was just no question after that. No backup either,” she said. 

Baker is currently minoring in entrepreneurship and plans to be the club president until she graduates in Winter of 2022. 

Whatever she ends up doing for her career, she hopes that there are always people involved and that she makes a difference to someone. “We all hope our art is meaningful and uplifting to someone. But it’s the connections between humans that I think is the most wonderful,” she said. 

Currently, Baker is working on some illustrations for a local breakfast bakery. “It has been different from any other project that I’ve done before and it’s helped me to expand my skillset and think more holistically about my role as an artist and designer,” she said.

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