Thank you for having an awesome blog!
I had tons of trouble during my first year. Going into a new school, under lots of pressure, and knowing nobody at all isn’t the best of situations. Especially since I commute (both to go home and to work), and OCAD has a, lets face it, very different social scene than most universities.
I’m still getting the hang of bonding with my fellow students, and consider myself blessed to have found a few close buddies, but here is what little pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned:
1: Get their numbahs!
We often forget or under-estimate the value of text conversations. While un-romantic, un-cultured, and often looked down-upon, it’s a fast, easy, hilarious way to keep constant contact. Get their number, and you can text and bond about: projects due in a class, annoying classmates, annoying teachers, popular culture, etc! And before you know it, even if you’re not in the same area, you two are texting about a hilarious personal story, using emoji’s and pictures, and planning a weekend meet-up!
2. Utilize your precious in-between class time!
Before class starts, in-between your morning and afternoon classes, after class before you all have to part ways: these are optimal small-talk-getting-to-know-you times. Offer to grab lunch or coffee together at the Grange or another nearby haunt (I’d personally recommend Panera, the Silver Snail café,and the 5th Café). Even if it’s just to grab a latté at the coffee exchange before your buddy has to run to their 11:50 class, it’s something!
3. Occasionally prioritize bonding over working!
During my first year, I found it hard to balance my workload and social life. It continues to be difficult, however I have learned to actively put friends first every now and again.
It’s easy to write off socializing as a “waste of time” and something a student who isn’t serious about school would do. But just like we need to remind ourselves to eat healthy, take breaks, and lay off the caffeine, we need to put homework aside and go out for a drink! It helps to justify it if you call it “networking” (which it is, by the way- in the creative world, you can never ever have too many friends).
3. Say yes to as much as you can, and drag your acquaintances along!
Like I said, OCADU doesn’t have much in the way of crazy parties. So it always helps to cast a wide net, both with friends and possible things to do with your friends.If you check the Facebook groups, postings on the walls at OCAD, or even wheat pastes on the street, you’ll find there’s lots of events and people trying to create a more social environment.Free lunches, sexy bingo (which was quite the blast by the way), free yoga, random university parties at clubs, you name it!
Don’t be scared away if it sounds like a lame event, nor be nervous because it’s not an “OCAD” thing. Go for it with enthusiasm! And invite the people you want to be friends with to come along. Odds are, they’re finding it just as difficult as you to find friends, and will be flattered and over-the-moon that they were even thought about. And it’s a win-win no matter the outcome: if they can’t come, they’ll still remember you invited them to a thing, and if you go solo you’ll meet more new people. And if it’s not fun, you two will be able to split and go to a bar and laugh about it. No bad sides!
4. People love free surprises!
Buy me a toonie coffee out of the goodness of your heart, and I’ll be your friend for life. Some of the people I am fondest of have become so simply by grabbing me a coffee in the mornings, or offering me some snacks, or even making me small drawings or notes. Sweet gestures like that might seem like a tactic from victorian courting rituals, but hell it works.
TL;DR: Text people, buy them shit, and ask them out on friendship dates that you’ve planned, and they’ll flock to you like pigeons to a muffin wrapper.
Hope this helps!
This is really insane. On the one hand, there’s the context of being right beside a series of photographs in which Ai WeiWei does the same thing. On the other, he’s destroying Ai’s personal work, and in protest of the gallery not featuring enough local artists. I’m not sure what to think of this, but it is extremely interesting and wanted to share.
I’m glad you found me! It’s funny, I was in grade 11 myself when I was introduced to illustration, and that was probably the time when I solidified the idea of pursuing art/design as a career.
These are my two favourite things about Illustration at OCAD
-They push for improving concepts and methodology
This basically means that instead of focusing only on how you draw and whether your projects are pretty, they also bring into play: colour theory, clarity of concept, using design concepts (like how you lay out your drawing, leading the eye, etc), how you come to your ideas (different types of mind maps, thumbnail sketches, etc), your workflow (going from concept to linear to final), etc.
This can be a bit frustrating for some because if you’re looking for more guidance on “how to draw” outside of your observational drawing/painting courses (which I have found, in addition to critiques and self-directed practice, to be more than enough) you might not find it. Every teacher is different, so is every student. Most are more than happy to help you with technique and material recommendations, but since for the most part you’re doing your projects at home, you’re pretty much on your own. This can also be good, as it allows you to find your own style and methods, but it’s understandable that some students find it more enriching to take courses somewhere else like Sheridan or Humber, then going to OCAD after. Which leads me to my next point..
-The students and environment
So this might not be specific to illustration, but I think it’s my favourite part about OCAD so I’m gonna include it anyway.
Alright, straight up- if you’re looking for a typical “university experience” you won’t find it here. Better to go to Queens or something.
Having said that, I have found the coolest, most interesting people here. Many people in my year are older than me (I’d almost say most of them). This means that I’m constantly surrounded by people who have way more talent, skill, and life experience than me, which is awesome! It’s intimidating at first, when you have pretty much no friends and everyone seems better at everything than you are, but I always live by the saying "Always put yourself in places where you are the worst artist in the room." That is hella easy to do at OCAD. The opportunities, connections, networking, inspirations- it’s all low-hanging fruit ready to be picked by anyone ambitious enough to jump a bit.
If you have any specific questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them- I just gave a general gist. Enjoy high school, and maybe I’ll seeya some orientation day.