Senior art major Abby Braswell has just begun to illustrate her story.
Braswell was raised in Upland and has always had a passion for art.
“I remember my sister teaching me how to draw a face one night in third grade,” Braswell said. “From then on, I just started drawing everything and grew this passion.”
Until her junior year, however, she was not convinced that she would pursue a career in art because she was belittled for chasing after a profession that has not been known to guarantee financial security.
Braswell stated that in high school, she felt like her career path was insignificant in comparison to those of her peers because of the stereotype that artists have received.
“Everyone thinks of artists as broke artists,” Braswell said. “People just don't know what you can do with art, which I think is really sad.”
Braswell was resilient in her decision to pursue an art career amidst societal pressures for her to find a different alternative to her passion.
The AP art class that Braswell took her junior year of high school was what solidified her calling to become an artist.
“My junior year I took AP art, and I had a natural talent for drawing and painting things, so my art teacher told me that I should look into going into art in college,” Braswell said. “After my junior year of high school, I knew that I wanted to go into art, but I didn’t know where I wanted to go with it. All I knew was that I wanted to do art because God has gifted me with this talent.”
Braswell’s assurance of God’s calling for her life is what ultimately guided her to attend Taylor University. Braswell looked to attend Taylor University, Indiana Wesleyan University and Indiana University.
The decision for Braswell to study at Taylor was in large part because of the university’s genuine desire for her to commit to where she felt called by God.
“I came to Taylor and I felt like it was more personable, and my now adviser was talking to me and said, ‘I want you to be where God wants you,’ and no other school had said that to me before,” Braswell said. “That says something about Taylor.”
As a freshman, Braswell declared Illustration as her major, which has required her to take a great amount of drawing, illustration and painting classes.
Braswell aimed to expand her knowledge of art. Being encouraged by her professors to fulfill her path in the realm of art has grown Braswell’s confidence immensely, as Braswell has been able to witness the teachings of professors that have all made a name for themselves pursuing art.
“My professors are all practicing artists and just seeing them make a living out of being an artist and being inspired by that and taught by them has given me confidence to pursue art and make a good living off of it,” Braswell said.
The profound influence that Braswell’s professors have made on her life has helped her realize her desire to one day follow in their footsteps.
Braswell shared her dream to teach elementary art to young students and to also pursue a career as an illustrator.
“I definitely want to teach art,” Braswell said. “Last year I really discovered that I have a passion for kids and art. I also want to become an illustrator. I’m currently trying to figure out what my style is and how I can become successful in that field.”
As Braswell approaches her last months in college before entering the real world with her diploma in hand and her passion residing in her heart, she stressed the importance of her senior art exhibit.
Seniors display the styles of art that they intend to do in the future, and Braswell has decided to make her focus on ceramics and clay.
“I love working with ceramics and clay,” Braswell said. “I was a ceramics instructor over the summer, so I fell in love with creating stuff out of clay.”
Thus, Braswell has decided to combine illustration and ceramics by essentially creating her version of Greek vases with illustrations as its décor.
Braswell does not know what her future holds. All she knows is that her passion is what will drive her to achieve success. She has been taught the skills that she needs to flourish, and now it is her time to take out her sketchbook and write this next chapter of her life.
As Braswell so beautifully said, “Illustrators tell a story through their art,” and now it is time for her to become an illustrator and tell her story.