June 13, 2024

Students enrolled in the CAVAD program at California Baptist University are all exceptional artists in their own way. Carly Brunner, freshman illustration major, is one of these students. She describes her work as “free-spirited.”

“I create work that reflects my own feelings, and my style is also very similar to my personality,” Brunner said.

Brunner has always loved art and grew up drawing characters throughout her childhood. She started with personal doodles outside of typical arts and crafts, but the pressure of art as an assignment never appealed to her until she began to create things for herself. Brunner refers to her art as a “second nature.”

“It helps calm my brain down and just relax,” Brunner said.

When Brunner first started at CBU, she was studying graphic design. She made the switch to illustration near the end of her first semester to feel more connected to her work. Although digital artwork has many redeeming qualities, she prefers to create things hands-on. 

“I felt that illustration was a better fit because I can express my art more fluidly,” Brunner said. “I feel more connected to my art when it’s directly from my hand to the paper.”

Brunner can work with many different mediums, but her top choice is Copic markers. She  said she loves the freedom and precision that the markers give and the watercolor effect that they replicate. Through her journey here at CBU, she has been able to explore the art of watercolor and the different techniques that come with it.

The artist that inspires her most, Beatrix Potter, an illustrator for children’s books in the 1800s, has motivated Bruner to experiment with these paints. She intends to pursue a career in illustration, specifically in children’s literature. Her art at the moment targets young adults, but Brunner thinks that she is adaptable enough to shift towards a younger audience. After studying Potter’s work, Brunner has improved the way she depicts nature in her illustrations. Brunner admires how Potter was able to publish children’s books in the 1800s as a woman and how she incorporated nature into her work.

Although Brunner’s specialty is line work, she also excels at the vast amount of flora and fauna she adds to each drawing. Brunner is an Oregon native, so it does not come as a surprise that she would include nature to highlight her pieces. 

Brunner’s creative process includes drawing inspiration from anything and everything. 

“I usually start by getting an idea from literally anything,” Brunner said. 

She begins with linework to give a clean base for her sketches and then goes in with her medium of choice to color.

Like Nike, Brunner advises young individuals to “just do it” when it comes to art. She encourages beginners to follow their instinct and create things that have meaning. 

“Just do it,” Brunner said. “Practice and go for it. There’s no need to overthink it.”

Learn more about Brunner and her illustrations on her Instagram, @nervybanana.

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