Student Feature: Gabrielle Geske
Updated: May 13
From an interview in February 2017: Gabrielle has a sweet, whimsical style that I greatly admire and appreciate. When we were students together I loved seeing what emerged from her pen. Not only is she talented with the technical side of painting and drawing, she has a knack for communicating emotion and feeling in her characters. I was very interested to hear what she had to say in my interview with her.
K: Where did you grow up? When did you decide you were an artist?
G: I grew up in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was about 13 years old, in middle school, when I decided I was going to be an artist.
K: How did the SoCAM develop your artistic skills?
G: SoCAM provided an education that covers multiple mediums, specifically animation and cartooning as applied to film. The school challenged me to learn new art forms outside of what I was familiar with.
K: Do you feel supported by your family in your art? How did attending the SoCAM affect how you felt as a Christian artist?
G: My family is very supportive of my art. This support has inspired me to do the very best I can and that it is possible for there to be excellent Christian artists. SoCAM inspired me to be a good steward of the gift God has given me.
K: Growing up, what was your strongest artistic influence? (TV, literature, famous artists, etc.)
G: Growing up I watched a lot of different cartoons, movies, and really only read The Chronicles of Narnia. Fantasy and adventure stories were my favorite. I always watched cartoons. All the Disney classics and some of Don Bluth classics, but I was always drawn to the cartoons from Japan. Of all the cartoons, the ones from Japan were the most beautiful to me.
K: What's your favorite thing to draw? What is it about this thing that is so special to you?
G: My favorite thing to draw are people. What’s special about people and characters, is that each one carries a story that is unique to them.
K: What's your favorite medium? How did the SoCAM expand your technical skills?
G: Watercolor is my favorite medium! It’s flexible, easy to travel with, and a joy to work with! As for technical skills, SoCAM expanded my ability to tell stories. Now I know how to effectively draw story boards, create an animation, and plan and write out scripts for comic strips.
K: What's the best part of the creative process? What's the hardest part?
G: The best part of the creative process is that moment when one realizes that something is being brought into the world. The most difficult part is not being too hard on myself when I don’t quite hit the mark as I would have liked.
K: What are some things you learned, formally or informally, from fellow artists during the SoCAM?
G: What I learned from my peers are that it’s okay to be different, challenge births humility, and most importantly to have fun! Love, Joy, and Hope are very key components of art and friendship. :3
K: Is there something that you have created that you are most proud of?
G: There is an unfinished animated short that I drew up not too long ago. It’s thirty seconds and unfinished. I’am proud of this unfinished piece because it showed me some powerful things about how I see myself, how I relate with my friends, and relate with God the Father.
K: If someone were curious about the SoCAM, what would be the first thing you would want them to know about it?
G: The first thing that I would want them to know, is that it is not going to be easy. It’s not a ‘cake walk,’ it’s going to be a ‘faith walk’. They will be both student and intern. They will be both friend and co-worker. They will be both a Child of God and a servant. Weird and wonderful things happen when God calls on you, so be aware of this when you answer the call. But also know that by following Him on one of His adventures, there is not much to lose, there is only gain.
K: What are your longterm artistic goals?
G: My determination is to become a comic book artist who participates in animated projects in the future. At present, my goals are to observe, listen, learn, and respond in the places I have been called to. Observing, listening, and learning will be the brooding part as I go about my daily work, the response is when I sit down to a blank page and turn it into something awesome.
K: What advice would you give to an artist struggling with artist's block?
G: I’m a pull a Shia Leboeuf and respond with, “JUST DO IT!” I’m serious. The only way out is through that valley, so don’t give up. Find your resolve, and if you can’t find it, ask God for some of His own. There will be bitter days, but that will only make the good days sweeter.
K: Where can we see your art online, or get in touch with you?
G: I can always be reached at my Facebook. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m fumbling a bit as far as art blogs. For now, my artwork can be seen on Facebook and belleganlaya.deviantart.com. If something changes, I shall keep you posted. :D