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Why I want this guy as my Mentor

Sun Nov 3, 2013, 11:00 PM
Hey there guys! Life is busy, when is it not?

My finals are in 3 weeks! OH NO WHY! Anyway, I am having to go through the lovely process of selecting my class schedules now. I also have a certain update about the independent study I was trying to get with one of my teachers, and frankly my one of the biggest idols I have right now. ;-;

So for my independent study, I was trying to get it with my Illustration 2 class. As an Illustration major, it is kind of a "homeroom" class. My teacher is Gary Barker, (… and if you want to see his work LinkedIn->…; ), and I love having his class. He is a good teacher I feel because while he has rules and guidelines for his projects (and he is pretty restrictive sometimes) he is pretty loose on us Juniors. He lets us focus on our portfolios, which I can surely attest the rest of us really appreciate. I'm rambling again, anyway, here is storytime and reasons I chose him over many others. Lots of people, students and teachers have no idea who he is when the topic gets to him. ;-; That makes me really sad... I think you all will find it humorous. XD

So sophomore year, I had his class. First class of Ringling, ever and I walk in and I see this guy at the desk and I am uber-timid and sit WAY IN BACK. I'm like, "LOLNOPE. Not gonna say stuff." He rambles on about who he is and his work, some funny stories. I was more focused on getting art homework. I mean seriously. I GET TO DRAW FOR HOMEWORK. HELLYES. I was horridly wrong about how much I would enjoy this first one for the topic was "Clowns". I am not afraid of them, but I hate them. UGH they freak me out to no end.

Also, clowns usually mean people, which adds to fear of drawing. I was so terrified of drawing people, i liked drawing animals most at the time. We were only allowed to use white and black pencil on this weird grey paper. So restrictive, I was in knots all grumped out. What a lame project. ;-; So I go home and try to be smart-ass with my thumbnails and practice drawings. I tried to have clownfish and make them uber creepy-looking and weird. He is like "LOLNOPE" try again. He talks to me about drawing people-clowns and I break down.

Second day of class. Mental breakdown already. YEAH, I was that guy. He took me outside, and talked to me about stuff and I told him some things, other than why I hate clowns and stuff. So he suggested ways to get around drawing the whole cloawn, maybe part of it and have an effective drawing still. I ended up getting a C on the project, and even though I could have redone it and got some of my points back, I was done with it. NEVER AGAIN will I look at that thing. NOPE. still to this day NOPE.

So I went through the class after that, knowing he understood my position on some things and then he did demos for us. ALL THE TIME. I loved seeing his demos, but he did them in pencil and ink. We were playing with Ink in another class, but his way of using it (comic style) looked WAY more fun. I would try myself, but I just couldn't get it. ;-; It was hard, and I got an A- on the second project! YEAH, total redemption in my eyes. I actually forgot about ink and focused on getting through the semester digitally, trying to survive my oil painting classes. (boohiss)

Anyway, so second semester (Spring 2013) was great. That semester we worked on a game project, where we developed 5 characters and environments and a story. I used it as a chance to work on Naor! I knew about the project before the semester started since he had mentioned it a few times, so I prepared lots of art for it. (Hurrhurr, and he and a lot of classmates really liked it during my presentation). Here are some of the artworks I turned in for the assignments:

Ih Naor: Ahk ot Koko by Ahkward  Entrance to Douhk by Ahkward  Jungle Pool by Ahkward  Naor Class Presentation by Ahkward

So this got Naor started on his side of curiousity... But I kept talking about it (You all know me, I talk about it a lot, sorry. ;-; ) .. I used Ahk and Koko in my next project, a 2 page comic, which I made into 4 pages... over-acheiver.

Naor Mini-Comic 1 - pg 1 by Ahkward I'll only give first page, link to others in comments. I did pretty well with the sequencing I feel and he only made a few changes to my original panels. OTL I'm still a newb, whatamIsaying. I made lots of other Naor based artwork and started working on the Manuscript by then, which 3 of my watchers read, my beta-readers are so awesome. I love you all! To me at least, he seemed curious why I put so much effort into it. I told him and he seemed surprised I had that as a goal, the world of comics and graphic novels, since it is a very cut-throat industry. He has told me on numerous occasions he sees me going into book covers, particularly fantasy or environment art somehow. I wouldn't mind doing that as a primary income source, but Naor will always be my true passion in life. I knew last semester I wanted an independent study with him... as my figure work was weak, but I was too afraid to ask.

This year, I ended up in his class again, as a Junior this time. I was happy to have someone familiar, but I did wish for a harder class this time around. I made sure he knew I wanted it harder this go-round and to be a tough grader on me. He has obliged, let me tell you. I had faced my fear of drawing humans over the summer break, and could draw them without breaking down, lol. He says he likes how I have improved, but still more work. Always I will need work, fact of life improvement is eternal for everyone. So I continue hard studies every night.

Finally I get courage enough to ask him if he would be willing to consider letting me study under him in an independent study. That means that I (Me, not him) write out a whole syllabus/schedule/learning objective/etc, get record of transcripts and GPA, and recommendations and give all that to the Head of the Illustration department asking for permission to even do this. But first, Mr. Barker had to be willing to even LOOK at a proposal from me. I honestly expect to be told no because my figures are too weak still, but I made my homework int eh study all figures. Nothing else except one environment piece, but all 12 others were figures. So my study would FORCE me into figures, and in comic style as well... something I greatly enjoy now. Ink is by far my favorite, more than digital. BY FAR. So he says it seems pretty tough and looks kinda odd expression on his face and says "Looks good."

I died.

Mr. Barker accepting my proposal to study under him in figures in comic/graphic novel style. ;-; A personal mentor. BAWWWWWWW However, the head of department would not allow it... because my GPA was not high enough. I had two classes I didn't do well in, but passed. Those two brought my GPA too low and so even though it was approved by Barker, the Department Head rejected it. This means I was not allowed to continue with my independent study.

I died a second time (all in same day, yes from barker, no from Jeff). I had no idea what to do, I stood there and couldn't move. I was so sad, my dreams of mentorship were ruined. I am a very hard worker and Barker has complimented me on my work ethic many times, but still, plans were shattered. I crawled back to Barker's classroom and told him our plan was rejected. He was surpised and I told him it was because of my GPA. He scoffed at the idea and later said this.

B: "Let's make it a mentorship. You won't get anything, no class credit, no GPA, nothing on your transcript."

Me: "What about you not being paid? You are already really busy anyway, not fair to you."

B: "So? I wouldn't be paid during the independent study. Come in same time we planned anyway, we'll make it work."

I was so ready to start crying, but I didn't. I didn't cry, not again. ;-; (But I'll put a crying emote anyway.) So yes. Maybe I am a little emotional. I am a little crazy and very out there with emotions running all over the floor, dragging them behind me like tin cans on a string. 

On Thursday, I turned in this project:

Dhe Mkarishuers: Tuhk, Luihn ot Mkeshu by Ahkward He said he really liked it and was very pleased with how it came out. I laughed and brought up how I had cried a year ago. I said I never expected to be aiming for graphic work now, traditionally even. Going from digital to traditional and even mixing them together to get a result. I told me I would definitely get an A and he told me to fix a few things (OTL I need to finish doing that tonight after this. ;-;). He told me that he was very happy to see me going in this direction and that he was excited to see what work I was going to produce during our mentorship. 

He keeps killing me.

I just, :iconheaddeskplz:. To have someone you idolize and look up to (and see twice a week) give you such compliments just does something. I don't know what but it does. We all know about that little voice that says "You can't do it. You will fail. You suck. You are bad at -insert activity-. You will never succeed". This semester has been especially hard having been rejected from three major shows: Megacon, Illest of Ill, and the sketchbook show. All this failing has made me fall into a sort of art depression where I lost my muse for a long time. I still struggle with it. Thus is the REAL REASON I do not post much artwork at the moment. In the last month or so, only half finished ideas, barely even sketches can get on paper.

My lack of finishing commissions, trades and collaborations has dwindled my confidence. I hate myself so much for being so late on them. I am ashamed and I frankly feel all of you people who are waiting on me have every right in the world to hate me right now, curse me with voodoo, or send flame wars or trolls to my doorstep. I would deserve all the rage I get. I too am waiting on some commissions, both over a year in time (and YOU know which one, I am NOT MAD. You have work and a life, so only one of the 2 I am mad at). 

So yes, I know I have bad time management, I always have. I will admit it. :p I feel I have lost the right to even offer commissions anymore, at least for a very long time to work on my personal habit. But rest assured I plan on making it up to everyone in anyway I can, I have not forgotten you all, (and I just realized I never posted all those pencils commissions I did! AH, why did none of you complain about it?! I've had them done for ages!)I will work extra hard form now on. Be it refund or extra work (since I'm taking extra time to work on them), or making free artwork. I will make it up to all of you. I cannot fix what I have done wrong, but I hope to restore your faith in me.

I obviously have issues to work out, but this journal isn't about me. It is about inspiration. It isn't about bragging or trying to be all drama. I have this teacher who is so awesome. I wish all teachers cared enough about their students and their goals. I know a lot do, but from my eyes, to go so far as to do something like this is very special. It was his idea to go ahead anyway. I feel like he has faith in what I can do, if I get myself in order, something I need to hear and to be told that I am worth the time, along with his multiple jobs (yes, he works 3 jobs)... It is astounding to me and so inspirational.

I just wanted to share this story with all of you and tell you want being an inspiration is all about. It isn't about stats or reputation, most of the staff and students have no idea who he is. He is only a part-time staff member. However, he has been the leading force in my flow into graphic look and comics! I liked them before and now I love them so much, and I can't stop wishing I can be among the names of great sequential artists someday, as an equal to Gary Barker possibly.

I don't know if he will ever know how much of an impact he has made on me. I just now have a new goal: to make him proud and justified on spending all this effort on me. Considering I cried with a total meltdown on the second day I met him, well, I consider that quite the improvement in itself. 

Thank you to anyone who read all this. I know it was quite the read. It took me 2 hours to type it all! I hope you can take something from it.

TL;DR - Gary Barker is awesome and he is gonna be my mentor next semester! I am also said because I am a loser about artwork I owe people.

I love you all and I hope you can find that thing or someone that inspires you.

Skin by trezoid (modified by Ahkward)
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TheJmansproductions Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
i like this post 
Ahkward Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
CheekyStoat Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That guy sounds amazing!!  Congrats!  I'm so glad that it's still going to work out and that he's willing to help you out.
Xyrele Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, great hearing this from you! :D I hope everything continues to go well, you certainly have an awesome mentor and it makes me glad you've found this person in your life. Best of wishes, you and all those other artists in need will be in my prayers.
farunderheaven Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
Yay!  having a good mentor makes so much difference!  I kind of know the feeling, I got lucky and got an awesome teacher for my current independent study.  I didn't even know who she was but now I've found out that she's hosting all these portfolio workshops and generally just being a resource for students; all while she's teaching and running her own small business!  Not to mention she got me 3 clients, non-paying but invaluable experience.

I'm gonna go check out his work.  have fun learning from him!
Scarlet-Wings-Kaili Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Student
<3 ^-^
That teacher belongs in a special place. Keep on running forward, I think good times are a-coming. If things are looking bad, look back and see how far you have run. Hope is a magical thing XD
Reminds me of my two fav. teachers that helped me find a place in my school. I will always be grateful to them, I don't know where I would be without them but I do know, I wouldn't be in as good of a place I am in now. 
Myufi Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So good for you!
It's awesome to see your life turning around and picking up. It's really a fantastic thing to be able to look forward to the future. I wish you the best of luck!

Definitely worth the read, too; just hearing your story is uplifting for myself as well! Thanks for sharing your inspiration.
SharkyToof Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
You have the greatest mentor ever. I really want to find someone like that when I enter college or university.
Ahkward Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
;-; I know, right
Zekkentak Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Student General Artist
That is amazing how you have such an inspirational mentor :)
It really does make a difference when you are being taught one-to-one
with someone as inspirational as him.
Its so motivating!

Speaking of which, I have a grinds teacher outside of school and he may not be as
omgamazing like your mentor (lets be fair though, your mentor is pretty damm cool)
he doesn't look down on me at all, from what I can gather anyway.

He understands I struggle a lot in school and he is interested in seeing
me succeeding in my final year. Its actually great that I have him,
considering the fact I literally have no one to really motivate or support me in school
as much as him. That is what leaders should be imo.

Like my grinds teacher and your mentor.

Overall, I'm so happy for you!
I'm sorry if I haven't been active with you in ages,
but school has turned into a burden for me. I just can't wait for it to finish.
Ahkward Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Just to be mentored, officially or not is awesome. Everyone deserves a good mentor 
Zekkentak Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Student General Artist
Certainly is true :)
foxspitt Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
Congratulation balloon :congrats: Swingin' On a Star _revamp_ Pat Request: Congrats-emote Bertie's Vending Machine 
Ahkward Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
oh mai those emotes
Kaleoscope Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm happy for you (and horrible at saying it eloquently like Daves did)!
DaveRabbit Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
yes I did find mine a bit ago, it comes in long-eared version and eats the majority of my also likes to sit on my head and make sarcastic comments on anything

...but I respect that guy...
Even tho we've already largely talked about it, I just wanted to compliment you once again, because you surely ace'd it this time. It's not just the fact that Barker is truly f*cking awesome, he wouldnt have done what he did, if he thought you didnt deserve it. I guess he's one of the few who can really see below the surface, read people more deeply than the average person who only look at their appearance and judges. He saw that sparkle of brilliance, you know, the one I always tell you about and you still don't get......
I hope it all turns out for the best, Im sure he will do all he can to make it work (and you too, knowing how stubborn you can be at times...loldonthitme).
So yeah, sorry for the comment, since Im probably gonna repeat myself later on skype lol, just wanted to throw my voice in here too just because  (:<
Good luck for everything Ronao, about time something nice happened to you ;-;
sleen-fire Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
wowowow congrats on all that
I wish you luck for your next semester
canobefnur Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ohwow. o: Congratulations!
And I imagine that that's an amazing feeling to have someone you look up to, give you praise and believe in you.
Good luck with everything! c:
mysteriouswhitewolf Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow!! I am so happy for you. Super congratulations!!
My art teacher is really great too.
I know the feeling of having someone you
look up to give you praise when you feel
so low and small, it lifts you up like a phoenix from the ashes
let me tell ya. 
Goodluck in the future.
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November 3, 2013


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