Illustrator judge Larry Elmore reviewing her art

Jennifer Ober Following Her Passion for Fantasy Art

Growing up, my parents saw my passion for art at a young age and placed me into art lessons at the age of six. My parents supported my passion throughout my childhood by finding new teachers with the help of a former art teacher, who we affectionately called “Mr. R,” when others would move away or no longer fit my artistic needs. I was incredibly fortunate to have been homeschooled since it allowed me to focus on my artwork more than many of my public school counterparts. I am forever grateful for having supportive parents.

As I was deciding on a field of study, I knew art was the only field I was truly passionate about. However, I wanted to be smart about it. Since I was introduced to the fine art world at a young age, I had seen the starving artist lifestyle and it was not glamorous. I wanted to pursue art but I wanted to be able to support myself. I chose illustration as a career path because of my interest in storytelling through still images. As I was pursuing my bachelors, I found that I wanted to eventually teach art to other aspiring artists, so I started my masters at SCAD Atlanta. (Savannah College of Art & Design)

Writers of the Future

I heard about Writers of the Future from a previous Illustrator of the Future winner. She is a friend from SCAD who was a year ahead of me in the graduate program and she had participated the previous year. She encouraged me to submit my fantasy art to the contest saying that it was free to submit. I submitted; hoping to try for a number of quarters. I was amazed when I was selected for the 3rd Quarter of the 35th year of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future on my first attempt. The story I illustrated resonated with me on a personal level and I was thrilled to be creating a piece for it.

In April of this year, I had the privilege to attend the Writers and Illustrators of the Future workshops and award ceremony in Los Angeles. It was my first time staying in LA and it was an amazing experience I will never forget. At the workshops, I met many talented award winners including a SCAD alumnus. We learned a lot from our instructors Echo and Lazarus Chernik as well as our esteemed guest illustrators and bonded through our shared passion for science fiction.

I made many wonderful memories, including ones outside of the workshops. One of my favorite memories was playing Pictionary at Scum and Villainy, a pop-up bar some of the winners had found nearby, with the illustration winners and Lazarus. Another very special day for me was the day the illustrators were able to present their work to the writers who had inspired the artwork. I was excited to see that my writer knew exactly which Illustration was his.

Every day, we learned something new from each other and our instructors. It was a magical week and I was sad to say goodbye to everyone. Nevertheless, it was back to reality the moment I arrived home, as I had to return to classes that next morning. Despite the quick turn around, I was invigorated by the event and was excited to incorporate the knowledge I had gained to my work.

Where I Am Now

As I am finishing my masters at SCAD, I know I still have so much to learn from my peers and veteran illustrators but the Writers and Illustrators of the Future experience has given me opportunities to become less of a little fish in a big pond, by connecting me with other artists and writers of the future in the science fiction community. As I continue to pursue my dreams, I am currently working at a graphic design and illustration position with a small marketing company while completing my thesis. I would encourage other young Writers and Illustrators to apply to the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contest who are interested in the Science Fiction careers.

Jennifer OberThe adventure of nature and the beauty of wildlife capture the imagination of Jennifer Ober as she creates her own worlds and creatures. Though realism is the foundation of her work, she intentionally focuses on the magic of the world around her. Her award-winning work incorporates artifacts and mythical figures, while including elements of fanciful imagery of modern mythology. She adapts quickly to artistic situations and relies on her storytelling techniques to create works that are relatable to the audience. She has completed her BFA in Illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design as Valedictorian in 2016. As she is completes her masters studies in illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2019, Jennifer intends to pursue a career in visual development and children’s books.

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