Mentoring the Next Generation: Isabel Ricaurte's Role as an SVA Ambassador

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Mentoring the Next Generation: Isabel Ricaurte's Role as an SVA Ambassador

Isabel Ricaurte began making her name as a promising graduate from the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Now, her portfolio of captivating work inspires illustrators across the globe.

Beyond her artwork, Isabel is an SVA ambassador committed to inspiring less experienced illustrators.

As a student, Isabel shares that she learned lots of valuable lessons in the field of illustration. This helped her sharpen her art skills and study creative thinking and problem-solving to find the right words to communicate with her audience. Following her mentor, Marcos Chin, lessons, she developed her unique style to turn her ideas into true art. For instance, her project “The Girl and the Box” is a testament to those improvements, a major milestone in her artistic career that truly emanates her artistic expression.

She also mastered the art of working under pressure while at SVA, as deadlines were often tight. Her “The 20 Faces” project earned high marks from her mentor, Sam Weber, for her commitment to deadlines and creative prowess.

As an illustration major, Isabel sculpted her creative style using watercolor, ink, and digital media. She describes her art as having a cartoonish flair, blending her passions and applying them in comics and storyboard illustration well. She also notes that she’s heavily influenced by Japanese and Western styles that reflect fantasy, which can definitely be seen throughout her work.

However, one of Isabel’s favorite projects during her education was “How Behavior in An Unhealthy Person is Like.” This visually poetic piece accurately portrayed her ability to deeply tackle complex, sensitive subjects. She’s able to reimagine and refine concepts over time, proving her commitment to lifelong growth in her craft.

2020 left Isabel in a tough spot, as it did many others. The transition from academia to a professional career came with many challenges, but Isabel refused to give up. She quickly adapted to the unforeseen landscape of the pandemic, taking advantage of digital opportunities like social media marketing and online art challenges. Her resiliency throughout this period is truly remarkable.

Since then, Isabel has found herself continually inspired by NYC’s vibrant art scene. The Big Apple certainly has no shortage of art museums and exhibitions, and Isabel takes full advantage of that. She carves time into her busy schedule to visit exhibitions as frequently as possible to expose herself to different styles and mediums she’s never tried before. Expanding her creative horizons is important to her, as she finds experimentation a major part of growing as an artist.

One of the most influential exhibitions she discovered was the Lomex Gallery exhibition, which featured the work of Yoshitaka Amano. Amano’s art influenced Isabel to continue pursuing her passion for illustration limitlessly.

As a professional artist, Isabel carefully balances commissioned work and personal projects. The balance between the two is a delicate one, but Isabel warns that maintaining this balance is essential to thriving as an artist. Though it can become exhausting, persevering through the tough times is key to expressing yourself beyond simple commissions. If there’s one thing she’s learned from her path so far, it’s that persistence eventually leads to success.

Though Isabel has already come a long way, she’s certainly still trying to reach a wider audience with her art. She uses online networking to reach other artists and grow her community, always yearning to learn more about different techniques and strategies. She also brings her art to local exhibitions to talk to her audience in person, hoping her pieces will resonate with those who attend.

In the short term, Isabel wants to become a thriving remote storyboard artist and illustrator. She values the flexibility to maintain her creative schedule, something that isn’t easy for most artists. She also wants to find opportunities to create published stories with her original characters, becoming a storyteller in her own right.

Just as Isabel was influenced by her mentors at SVA, she wants to become a mentor to aspiring young illustrators. To Isabel, rigorous learning and open-minded exploration are key aspects of an illustrator’s growth, and she hopes to inspire budding illustrators by passing on what she’s learned.

To any young illustrators out there, Isabel advises a bold approach to experimentation with mediums and themes. Only by experimenting regularly can you foster a sense of certainty in the artistic path you’ve chosen. That limitless artistic expression is what made Isabel the artist she is today.

In her role as an SVA alumnus and ambassador, Isabel demonstrates the spirit of a resilient and dedicated artist. She hopes others use her story and her accomplishments as a beacon of hope - though life may become tumultuous at times, perseverance and a bit of grit can get you far.

About the author
Lex Vangone is an artist and author from Cleveland, OH. You can often find her playing board games or checking out a local concert on a Saturday night.

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