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Meet Trailblazer Emma Barker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emma Barker.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was younger, I doodled on everything, obsessed over animation and always tried to make people laugh. Those interests stayed with me throughout my academic career. I attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and graduated Summa Cum Laude this past June with a major in illustration and minor in storyboarding. I met and worked alongside many talented individuals during my time at school.

Studying abroad influenced my artistic growth immensely. I got the chance to study in Hong Kong and Lacoste, France. My senior year, I was lucky enough to be a part of a collaborative project with the college and a bike company doing design research and logo animations. My overall college experience was challenging, inspiring and included way more all-nighters than I imagined possible.

After graduation, as an intern for The Simpsons for six months, I worked with amazing artists, talented directors, a hard-working production staff. My experience at The Simpsons has taught me about the animation pipeline, and all the components that make up a successful studio.

I am currently freelancing and gaining experience on a variety of creative assignments. I have helped bands with album covers, worked with entrepreneurs on new fabric design and developed storyboards for independent films.

In terms of the future, I plan to be working in film or animation as a storyboard artist and one day. I aspire to work on projects that not only tell humorous stories but are also thought-provoking and meaningful to all audiences.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Most of the time our biggest challenge in the way of our success is how we view ourselves. Self- doubt is the biggest obstacle of any artist, especially women. A creative career always appears to be incredibly daunting. Now, with social media, it’s impossible not to compare yourself to the thousands of other talented artists out there. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never been envious or intimidated by my fellow artists. But, I’ve learned that the best way to approach that feeling is to treat it as a chance to learn. What have they done differently from you? Some of the questions I ask myself are: Do they draw for at least five hours every day? Do they stay organized? Do they make goals for themselves? Choose to support other artists! I recommend reaching out and telling them that their work inspires you.

Another obstacle I face is the industry I’m pursuing. The Animation Industry doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to how they treat women. My advice for any young woman who strives to work in animation is to not be deterred. Keep working hard, go with your gut, and be direct when it comes to what you want. The best thing for this industry is introducing stories with different perspectives on the world. Women, especially women of color, have a lot to contribute to this industry and that’s exciting.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m an Illustrator, storyboard artist and self-taught animator. I am constantly seeking out new programs to learn. In the past three years, I’ve mastered Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects. I don’t really have a brand as of yet but, I’m starting to create comics about my life, which isn’t all that exciting but, I’m enjoying finding humor in my the everyday experiences.

A common thread in all my work is the story. I want my work to communicate a story, emotions, and feelings that people can connect to.

I’m constantly trying new things and brainstorming new projects. An incredible thing about living in LA has been the amazing art community. Everyone is so welcoming and encouraging. It inspires me every day, a pushes me to keep going even when I doubt myself.

Another aspect of my work is that it’s brutally honest, especially when it comes to my art. I’m never satisfied, and I don’t believe artists are ever supposed to be satisfied, We are always itching to create, wondering what we will come up with next, it can be stressful and also extremely thrilling!

I’m still in the process of finding myself as an artist and myself post-college, but I’m looking forward to how my art will evolve in this new chapter of my life.

Which women have inspired you in your life? Why?
I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by many strong females in my life.

Every memorable teacher I’ve had has been a woman. My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Garage, (yep that’s her name and it’s adorable) is to this day the sweetest woman I will ever know. My high school honors English teacher Mrs. Dunlap was brilliant and so incredibly caring towards others. And I cannot forget to include my first illustration professor Jacqui Mair, a bubbly ray of pure happiness. Her love for illustration and teaching was infectious.

I am so lucky to have made some amazing female friends throughout the years. The women I have befriended have become my support system. I’ve learned to be happy for their accomplishments, give support without expecting anything in return and make mistakes and learn and grow beside them.

My mother has been my main source of inspiration. She was a badass critical care nurse who is the eldest daughter of eleven. My mother is strong, smart and a fiercely protective woman. She made sure to teach my brother and me to be kind to others and to above all, love ourselves and do what makes us happy. Although she was worried about her daughter going to art school, she still believed in me and was always there for me.

All of these women in my life remind me that the world needs women to believe and support one another. And the world needs to respect and allow women to thrive.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
illustrations/gifs/comics created by Emma Barker

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