Monica Lloyd remembers the illustrations in the books her parents read to her as a young girl. In fact, they have served as a source of inspiration for her success as an illustrator today.
The Society of Illustrators selected Lloyd’s illustration “King Isamtim and Tortoise” to be included in its 2012 exhibition at the Museum of American Illustration in New York City, May 9-June 2. Her entry was one of 120 pieces chosen from more than 3,000 submissions from illustration programs nationwide. The selected works will also be published in the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship 2012 catalog.
Lloyd’s piece took roughly 10 hours to complete and was first drawn with ink and then digitally colored. It was the third in a series of four illustrations she created based on the Nigerian folktale “The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise.” Lloyd said she is particularly interested in illustrating folktales because of their universality. “Folktales are a kind of shared history of people and places, orally passed down,” she said. “They belong to a culture or tradition, rather than a person.”
A Grand Rapids native, Lloyd had the opportunity to study abroad in Pondicherry, India, from January-May 2011, and said the opportunity had a significant influence on the style of her art. “I saw quite a bit of tribal art, and enjoyed how this art was seen as a trade that anyone can learn in order to preserve a tradition and illustrate various events, beliefs, people, animals, or objects,” Lloyd said. “I love detail and pattern, so I created a style with a combination of these elements.”
Ed Wong-Ligda, professor of art and design and coordinator of illustration, said Lloyd’s study abroad experience helped advance her art significantly, and the competition will bring it to a wide audience. “The study abroad experience helped Monica to develop an aesthetic sensibility that is very personal and unique,” he said. “The competition validates her talent and proves that she is competitive on a national level.”
Lloyd has decided that illustration is the best way for her to turn her passion into a career. The senior art and design major plans to pursue a freelance career illustrating books, cards, and magazines, do some craft-based and gallery work, and possibly work in a community art-based organization.