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DAGD Student Hopeful as Contestant in Illustrator of the Future Competition

Ferris State University

PHOTO CAPTIONS: Alana Fletcher, a sophomore in Ferris State University’s Digital Animation and Game Design program from Stowe, Vermont, was selected to participate in Galaxy Press’ Illustrator of the Year competition. She is seeking the top prize of $5,000 cash, and the Golden Brush Award, in the 29th annual contest for science fiction and fantasy writers and illustrators. Below is an image of Fletcher.


The year 2018 promises to be an active one for Digital Animation and Game Design student Alana Fletcher, as the sophomore and native of Kalamazoo was one of three third-quarter winners in the Illustrator of the Future competition, organized by Galaxy Press of Los Angeles, California.

Fletcher, who calls Stowe, Vermont her home, had spent a year and a half as a student at Ferris Alana FletcherState University's Kendall College of Art and Design, after beginning her art studies at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. She learned figure drawing, at the KIA, and moved to general illustration at KCAD.

“My illustration for video games brings me more attention,” Fletcher said. “I want to create 3D animation, texturing and game assets. I am actively pursuing an art track, producing 3D products as I work to develop my abilities in concept art.”

Fletcher has been involved in artwork production at Underbite Games, a Grand Rapids-based independent game maker, and began her service, in 2016, as a card illustrator on “Super Dungeon Explore.” She also contributed to the “Super Dungeon Explorer” video game and “Soda Pop Miniatures” card game as well as a concept artist for “Super Dungeon Tactics.”

“Elite game providers, such as Sony and EA Sports, are after basic 3D styling for character and environmental models,” Fletcher said. It’s popular with the game-buying audience that those elements are incorporated in our work. So, I am working to hone my illustration skills which have been the strongest areas of my production.”

Fletcher is in her initial classes in Ferris’ DAGD curriculum, and Bryce Gore, a program advisor and Grand Rapids faculty member, said Fletcher’s skills were evident, even in a DAGD 100 class.

“She is a fantastic concept artist,” Gore said. “Alana’s forte, at this time, is 2D work, but she quickly displayed a real aptitude for the 3D art we are developing in class. Doing freelance work on top of her studies is a typical path for a successful digital artist. The fact that she is excelling as a digital artist and succeeding in competitions is amazing.”

Cari Mayle, DAGD faculty member, said Alana was in her class. While they have not spoken much about Fletcher's competition and goals, she is making a strong case for her abilities.

“Alana is an excellent artist with great design sense,” Mayle said. “She does impressive work, as she is mastering technical aspects of 3D while retaining her artistic flair for 2D illustration. That ability translates well into her designs and 3D work.”

Fletcher entered the Illustrator of the Future competition during the first quarter of 2017, but did not advance at that time. Her submissions included “Humming Temple,” where a man stands before a king on his throne, with a dark foreground and backlighting on pillars to either side, along with a figure known as a cloud nymph in Greek mythology and a candlelit cathedral, where curtains are draped from the ceiling, and stairs lead to a dark altar.

“Beginning April 1, we will be in Los Angeles, taking part in workshops and other activities with professional digital artists,” Fletcher said. “It is a great opportunity to have my abilities promoted, so I am excited about this experience ahead of me. I will learn how to work with authors and publishers, in all aspects of producing a publication.”

Fletcher will be joined by fellow third-quarter Illustrator of the Future winners Maksym Polishchuk, from the Ukraine, a self-described “renaissance man,” and Elbridge, New York native Jazmen Richardson, who attends the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Galaxy Press has presented a Writers of the Future competition for 33 years, and this will be the 29th Illustrator of the Future contest. Fletcher has been assigned a book to illustrate, where the science fiction and fantasy short-story content is relevant to her particular style.

Ultimately, Fletcher is competing for the Golden Brush Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize for the artist who is named the 2018 Illustrator of the Future. The Achievement Awards Event for the Writers and Illustrators of the Future competition will be hosted April 8, 2018.