Wednesday, December 15, 2021

31 Days Of CCS, #15: Erika Bloomdahl

Erika Bloomdahl is a first-year CCS student, and her work reflects someone curious about a number of different kinds of styles. The Quest Of Grad School is a full-color fantasy story that's a positive self-talk metaphor for grappling with post-graduate education. Bloomdahl may well wind up as a fantasy illustrator because she seemed comfortable with these tropes and her use of color. It Could Happen To You is her take on the Ed Emberley assignment, using only simplified silhouettes in her character design. It tells the tale of a cowgirl out to see the world after her mother died, and her unexpected romance with a sailor. It's an excellent example of how storytelling and gesture have little to do with actual drawing because her use of body language conveys a fairly sophisticated narrative with little detail otherwise. 

Bloomdahl also submitted a one-page, black and white comic that's a mix of horror and comedy. She creates a genuinely tense build about thunderstorms but calm seas in a seaside town, as parents tell their children to avoid the ocean during this time. The fears built up about what monster could reside there are first deflated (as it's a giant young woman wearing a knit hat) and then amplified (as her teeth are razor-sharp). As a drawing assignment, it's a further example of her chops (there's even extensive stippling!), but it's a strong piece overall. Her lettering is inconsistent and a bit messy and the actual panel layout doesn't quite line up, but those are small technical matters that can be ironed out later. Bloomdahl seems ready to tackles something bigger, and I suspect some kind of fantasy or horror story (with a twist of some kind) may well be what she excels at. Of course, there's no reason why she can't try everything, as a few cartoonists (Eleanor Davis, Mike Dawson) do. 

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