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Graphic Design with Shannon Meeks

By Hannah Huckins; For the Clock
On February 23, 2017

Shannon Meeks, grahic design student.

Step into Shannon Meeks’ world of graphic design; she created it herself with help from friends and plenty of work. Shannon’s microcosm of art consists of creatures from planes only she can imagine, characters she designed, and games she helped create.

Meeks is a junior at Plymouth State with a dual major in art and French. She is working towards her dream of becoming an art director for a video game company in Canada. For now, Meeks is looking forward to pursuing an internship with the Franco Community Culture Group and travelling to Quebec after she graduates. She hopes to receive a master’s degree at Laval University in Quebec.

"Bobous" digital painting by Shannon Meeks.

Meeks started out as a French major, and added a graphic design major during her sophomore year. This set her back a bit. She said it has been stressful catching up, but after taking some winter classes and carrying some high school credits over, she will be graduating on time.

People laugh when Meeks tells them she is studying graphic design, but she says graphic design is “always expanding and has a lot of possibilities.”

For three years, Meeks had a summer job at the Real Time Embedded Training Company (RTETC) where she worked in graphic design. “The software company was small,” Meeks said “with only six or seven people working in the office creating mobile phone games.” RTETC closed after only three summers, but it provided Meeks with enough experience to know that she loved working in graphic design, and she was good at it.

At RTETC, Meeks created logos, online comics, T-shirt designs, worked in animation, got experience as a storyboard artist, and edited some of the games that were created.

Meeks said she started her career backwards. She began working in graphic design first, and then went to school for it. When she was little, her older sister and her loved art. “There was definitely a bit of sibling rivalry going on there,” Meeks said.

"Adama" digital painting by Shannon Meeks.

As she got older, Meeks discovered that could be creative and get paid for it. She said she loves being able to talk about fantasy worlds with friends and coworkers, and build worlds from scratch. While Shannon does make more traditional art with charcoal and paint, she said she loves graphic design. “It can become the identity of a company. It can become a logo, book cover, or poster,” she said.For Meeks, the most difficul t part of her work is the coding and technical difficulties that come with working with unfamiliar programs. She said it was discouraging when she works for weeks on animating something, and then her boss tells her it’s not good enough.

After taking an internship in Boston last summer, where she worked in product design and art for social media pages, she got a lot of experience working with other companies and learning what they want from their artists.

Meeks said she enjoys bringing fictional characters to life in her art, such as her portrait of the alien Adama. Adama is one of many characters that Meeks talks and writes about with her friends.

She painted Adama to see if she could capture his likeness as her friend imagined it. Tentacles aside, Meeks was told she got the image pretty close.

Meeks said one of her favorite things about graphic design is taking an image from someone’s mind, and making it real. “You can make worlds with video games,” Meeks said.

While the process has not been easy, Meeks said she is amazed at how much her craft has improved in the short time she has worked in graphic design. She hopes to continue creating video games and characters for a long time.

Maybe one day everyone at PSU will have played one of her games, and get drawn into one of her worlds. 

CLOCK PHOTO/JACK ROBERTS

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