Design Mentees Meet a Professional Artist

Lane Arts Design Mentees in my Digital Storytelling group got to hangout with Corvallis-based illustration artist Janique Crenshaw this month for a Ask An Artist session!

This group is the 4th generation of my Digital Storytelling class with Lane Arts Council Art and Design Mentorship program. In this class, students learn story writing, character design, planning, illustration and coding a website for visitor interactivity. Their stories are published on my student website, where anyone can read their stories, click through illustrations, and even choose their own adventures.

Since the beginning of winter term in mid-January, this group of students have been working on creating stories, making comics, and designing characters, as well as navigating doc-sharing platforms, uploading to the class website and building community within our group. Since this class is generally focused on digital art (although not exclusively, students have the option to work with traditional media as well), for our mid-term class session, I decided to switch it up and brought in some gouache (my favorite!) painting.

Students worked on a character chart for the characters the’ire currently imagining, and then practiced painting those characters in gouache.

Also for this class, we had Janique Crenshaw, a fellow Corvallis-based artist join us virtually to talk about her artwork, what inspires her and answer student questions.

Janique’s work is colorful, inspired by popular media in movies, music, and shows, and she explores identity in her traditional and digitial illustrations. She was perfect to talk to this group of students who are creating in their own voices, inspired by media in books, movies and games.

Before meeting Janique, students came up with a list of questions to ask her, including:

  • Do you ever really feel satisfied with art that you make? (They started out with the big questions.)
  • What’s the first artwork you made that wasn’t scribbles?
  • How to do you get into conventions?
  • What’s your favorite/ least favorite work of art that you made?
  • Is bread the best food? (This is both an actual question and actually my favorite question my students asked. Janique’s answer was correct, by the way: it depends on the bread and she likes garlic bread.)

For the next 6 weeks, these students will work on refining their story ideas, illustrating their work and uploading to the student website, where they’ll add the interactive elements that makes these stories unique. They’ll be celebrated at the April First Friday Art Walk in Eugene at Spark on 7th, where folks can come by and try out their interactive stories in-person!

Check out some of the past student stories from Lane Arts Design Mentorship Digital Storytelling at

Find out more about the Lane Arts Design Mentorship program at

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