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Student Stories: Sara Voaides

My name is Sara Voaideş, I am 23 and from Romania, the region Ardeal (better known as Transylvania).

Films and graphic novels are what first inspired me to delve into the practice of illustration, though I have since been acquainted with the rich variety of illustration styles out there and have been learning to source inspiration from anything and everything: my grandmother's embroidery, a cashier's magnificent nose, local fairytales, scientists fixing the Voyager 1 satellite from 15.1 billion miles away... and so on.

I am currently devoting all of my energy into illustration and writing, with the goal of making building a career out of storytelling in the next few years.

Read about Stage 3 Illustration Student Sara's learning journey below.

Sara is hosting an event during our Student Voice Festival on how to craft a creative process for one's practice.  Find out more information and register your interest here.


What is your previous educational experiences and what drew you to OCA?

I have been studying art seriously since middle school with the aid of some wonderful mentors from my home town. I was objectively not talented (no false modesty here), but I was enjoying myself and was very privileged to learn the basics of drawing and experiment with several mediums relatively early, and was encouraged to continue with my studies. Because I preferred OCA's curriculum to the University in the next town over, I decided to continue my education at home.

Can you describe your OCA journey?

I was used to distance learning because I had homeschooled all throughout high school, but still struggled a lot with the more independent style of higher education and the more hands-off approach of these courses. It took me a while, but I had started to get the hang of things when Covid hit and promptly derailed my progress once again. Frustration and apathy soon made motivation to continue and inspiration to create extremely difficult to conjure. However, with some encouragement with those closest to me, I eventually found my passion for creation again, and drive to put all the stories in my mind on paper, so that they can enjoy existence in the imagination of others as well.

What was the Tutor and/or Peer Support like on your course?

I enjoyed a lot of excellent feedback from all of my tutors! They were all extremely helpful and patient, and I appreciate all they have done for me. I cannot think of any specific examples, but it's grains of sand that make a seashore. My tutors have been: Dr Emma Powell, India Ritchie, Laura Jackson-Willis, Polly Harvey, James Pyman, and Judy Brown.

What does studying with OCA mean to you?

At first, I was hesitant about finishing the degree, or even starting. So many people say the "piece of paper" really means nothing in the industry today, not if you have a good portfolio. But now it's important to me, not necessarily because of the degree itself, but because I want to prove to myself that I can truly bring what I have started to a close, and that I have overcome my own personal hurdles, fifty foot walls and other angsty issues, and thrived.

What's next?

My experience with OCA has been central in my ability to think like an illustrator, and not a hobbyist. I cannot truly quantify the way OCA has affected my artistic approach and my thinking as a creator. OCA taught about the things artists don't know they don't know when starting a creative project. Or even how "creative project" differs from... simply making images.

With OCA, I learned about the Process. The "scientific method" (question, hypothesis, experiment, repeat) behind the magic of creation. I am still learning to use these principles, but I have an entire career ahead of me wherein I will be able to apply and continuously build on my own Process.

Any advice?

I would encourage everyone in the world, not just students of the arts, to delve into the Process of creation. I truly think that when you open up this side of your brain, and apply the habits, all the obscure and unknowable mental powers of a certain class of creative thinkers suddenly become not only reachable, but downright mundane. The fact that the blank page is transformed from a daunting beast to a fertile ground is the least of benefits. Creating your own system of Making is something that everyone should be taught, because it applies to any and every field and aspect of life. I equate it to the Francis Bacon's scientific method not because it's a rigid list of questions or steps that must be followed by every person (on the contrary, the process itself is highly personalized) but because it's something everyone can do, if they know about it. No abstract thing such as "talent" needed.


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תגובה אחת

08 ביולי

A very inspiring story, all the very best of luck!

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