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Tags: Illustration,  Faculty,  Undergraduate Students


Black Widow's New Handler

Alexandria Huntington
BFA Student, School of Illustration

Summer 2015 will go down as one for the books for Alexandria Huntington, for this was the summer she took the Con...the pop culture phenomenon Comic-Con, that is. Huntington was one of four student-artists selected in an international contest sponsored by Adobe to create two pages for a limited-edition, student-illustrated comic book centering on Marvel’s Avengers characters. Huntington handled the arc of the popular Black Widow character (played by Scarlett Johansson in the film blockbusters), while three other (male) students focused on Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. “It was a thrill to be at Comic-Con as the only woman on that particular Marvel panel, signing autographs and giving out the comic,” she says.

The Project

In a unique partnership, Adobe and Marvel joined forces to create the first-ever Avengers comic fully illustrated by students, powered—in another first—by the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite. Marvel editors mentored and guided four students chosen from a pool of about 50 hopefuls to create an instantly vintage “origins” comic book that debuted to great fanfare at San Diego Comic-Con 2015. The effort gave Huntington and her peers a truly one-of-a-kind experience working with industry leaders. “That was obviously a really cool project,” she says. “Creating this comic opened my eyes to the creative process, and how Marvel artists approach their comics. They’re very specific about what they want, and that pushes you to work really hard to achieve the quality they’re known for.”

The Road to Comic-Con

Huntington arrived at the School of Illustration armed with an associate of arts degree in Fine Art from Mission Viejo’s Saddleback College, ready to take advantage of the Academy's "specialized curriculum"—a big asset to someone like her who's emphasizing the specialized study of “sequential art”—using images deployed in sequence to tell a story. Among the subjects she has studied at the Academy that prepared her to succeed in the Adobe/Marvel project are:

Figure Drawing
Perspective
Color & Design

Figure Drawing
“The faculty at the Academy provides diverse inspirations and good guidance to students,” says Huntington. “I’ve been able to draw live models wearing simple getups and fantastical costumes, which is very helpful when you’re developing your skills.”

Perspective
“This is incredibly useful, particularly for comics. Perspective is basically creating the illusion of depth and space on a page, which is very important for comics. It’s especially important for buildings and mechanical objects, to create dimension and help your eye go back in space in a convincing manner. At the Academy we learn about all the different techniques to do this.”

Color & Design
“This class has a rep for being really difficult. It’s all about composition and color design, but it’s really helpful to learn to harmonize color palettes, create mood, and establish a hierarchy of light and color—as well as establish clear focal points. These are important concepts for all illustration, comics included.”

Lead Instructor

Chuck Pyle

Director, School of Illustration

“This project for Adobe and Marvel was a very high honor, and Alexandria held her own with incredible style and authority. She is a super-motivated storyteller with great inking ability and versatility in layout styles. That she stepped up her game and took on this endeavor while still a student speaks to her entrepreneurial spirit and hunger for success in a really competitive field. I am very proud of what she has achieved in this collaboration, and it bodes well for her future.”
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