Chroma: 10 students, 4 months, 1 illustrated book

SUU students in a senior-level illustration course, Visual Development Studio, are experiencing the true meaning of elevated learning.

In September, a team of 10 students under the direction of Professor of Illustration Ben Sowards began work on a book called “Chroma: An Illustrated Adventure” under the studio title of Project Bleak Studio Production. The book is written, illustrated, designed and marketed by the students.

The Project Bleak Studio team includes Tayler, Sharilyn Shumway, Sam Sherrill, Emily Hadlock, Jacob Jones, Aaron Lewis, Jaitee Pitts, Matt Oftedahl, Grayson Ekman and Dennis de Guia.

“Chroma” is a novel about an archaeologist named Rin Midori. After an attack that causes her to lose her memory, Rin uses her field journal to uncover the mystery of her former life. Rin travels with a circus group. As she travels with them, they teach her magic and this is where the main adventure begins.

Each of the students took on a very specific and important part of the “Chroma” project. Their roles included everything from the Art Lead to the 3-D Lead. All of the roles allow the students to collaborate on the production of “Chroma.” Producing this book has allowed some of the students to step outside of their comfort zone.

Design Lead Sherrill, a senior studio arts major from Taylorsville, said the majority of the team is composed of illustration students.

“We are not really used to working in a collaborative studio environment,” Sherrill said. “Art is usually thought of as a very singular and personal work, but in a studio, you are throwing out ideas to others and working on paintings that are going to be handed off to others to finish. It’s teaching us a lot of those soft skills like communication, organization and leadership that we might not get experience in within our other classes.” The course allows the students to gain real-world experience to better prepare them for life after college.

According to a press release by Marketing Lead Ekman, Studio Lead Keliana Tayler, a senior studio arts major from Orem, said, “It’s a big, messy, symphony rolling disaster that we are managing to make work because we are using real-world structures and systems.The hope is by having this completed project on our resumes we will be better prepared and stand out when it comes to finding jobs and careers after graduation.”

The publication of “Chroma” is due to come out by the end of Fall Semester.

Story By
Cassidy Harmon

Art By
Project Bleak Studio 

** Correction ** In a previous print version of this story, Grayson Ekman was spelled Eckman. This has been corrected for web.