Ashton Leigh Will, high school class of 2019, will major in Communication Arts or Illustration with a focus on character design and graphic novelism.. He developed the concept behind his first graphic novel, Colors, during a trip to Quebec; he has written, illustrated and produced this work, published in 2018 by Valutivity Press. While graphic design is not his first love, Ashton has already been a sought-after designer for projects at Lee-Davis High School and for the Advance College Academy. For Artist's Statement, see below. For additional works, see Ashton Will, Illustrator.
I am becoming a graphic designer and a character designer. Graphic design is a modern practice where I can utilize technological skills and the art practices that I have learned. My applied, real-world experience will make me an excellent candidate for a collegiate arts program.
Graphite or ink are the media I use in sketches and drawing, because I am fascinated with line and sharp forms. Contour lines of different shapes and thicknesses can be used to make up any form in the world, and it is aesthetically pleasing because it is very simple and classy. When doing character design, I start with mechanical pencil to maintain the thickness of my lines while drawing. Then I trace that onto a separate piece of paper with india ink pen so the design looks darker and cleaner. I do not perform well going back and forth between separate steps, so I like to finish up all of my designs that I’m working on before transferring over to a different media. I am working to avoid drawing directly from inspiration from comic books that I read, to develop my own, unique style.
Graphic design is possibly the most useful form of art, because it is used so often in marketing and business. That modern application is interesting to analyze, so when forming my own sketches for logos and design, I look to other businesses for inspiration. I especially like businesses that hide hidden messages or use negative space well, such as Baskin Robbins’ 31 hidden in their logo for their 31 original flavors and the arrow between the “E” and “x” in FedEx. I prefer clean and simple designs, over elaborate ones, because they look very polished, channeling present trends in graphic design.
Outside of my two passions, character art and graphic design, I appreciate observational art. It is a necessary skill for every single artist, and it is important to especially draw portraits as part of my training for character design. I use gradients often so that my shading skills do not deteriorate when doing simple, abstract figure drawing. While I usually do self-portraits or anatomical studies, I also do some still lifes so I can practice drawing everyday objects.
I participated in the Lee-Davis High School Art Exhibition and have had one of my pieces displayed at the Hanover County Public Schools Board, in the Superintendent’s Office. I have had my art displayed in the county’s Art and Sciences festival. I have worked with author Barry Scott Will on design for his fantasy novel series, written a graphic novella, designed the art for Lee-Davis High School’s 2017-2018 theatre productions, and designed the front of the Hanover County Advance College Academy Program Handbook. In Spring 2019, my work be displayed as a Senior Showcase. These experiences have helped me grow as an artist. I want to bring out the creative mind influenced by the entertainment bastions that I have grown up with, to share with the world.