Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Drawing Zoo

My name is Trenton Jung and I am an Illustration major. This past semester I completed an enriching and exciting internship at The Drawing Zoo in Baltimore. I first found out about The Drawing Zoo last semester when I saw postcards around campus and poster advertising an open drawing class that was being offered. Over winter break, I emailed the owner/founder, Brittany Roger, asked if she had any volunteer or internship opportunities, and sent her a copy of my resume and link to my portfolio. Brittany decided to
take me in as her intern because I shared her passion for animals, animal education, and my enthusiasm to be part of The Drawing Zoo.

Once I received confirmation of my internship, Brittany invited my to her home office to do an orientation and have me meet the animals involved in the business. The Drawing Zoo is a small business started in 2013 by Brittany Roger, a recent MICA alumni, that brings animals into art classes to supplement a preexisting art curriculum. One goal of The Drawing Zoo is to encourage students to draw live animal models in a controlled setting, allowing students of all ages to benefit from life drawing. Another goal that is important to Brittany is educating the students about the animals involved in the business, because many of the animal models are less appreciated and understood by the general public. I was also introduced to Kerri Litz, partner and assistant animal handler to Brittany. Both Kerri and Brittany have been very helpful by encouraging me to pursue my interests in scientific illustration and animal education, providing feedback and critique on art, and sharing their wealth of knowledge of post-college careers.


I had some “unique” intern tasks as well as typical tasks while at the Drawing Zoo. For example I was responsible for the basic husbandry for the animals, which included cleaning and watering cages, and feeding the numerous snakes and other creatures. More typical tasks that I was responsible for included sketching, designing, and photographing various themed ads published online and in print. In the classroom, I was an assistant teacher and animal handler to Brittany. I helped to set-up the animals for modeling, monitored their status throughout the class, and answered student’s questions about the animals. Some of the schools that Drawing Zoo classes have taken place at include MICA, Towson, The Washington School of Photography, the Legacy School, and the Celebree Learning Center. I was also assigned two independent projects that correlated with my interests in scientific illustration, one was to paint a traditional scientific poster of hissing cockroaches, and the second to design a full page fish illustration with environment and page layout in mind.


The past three and a half months at The Drawing Zoo have been full of many great experiences including getting to work with a variety of amazing animals, educating artists of all ages about our animals, and learning the ins-and-outs of running a small art based business after art school. I am proud to have contributed to The Drawing Zoo by advancing their mission as well as defining my personal goals. These experiences collectively have all helped me understand the rigors and joys that a self-employed artist faces after graduation. Everything I  have learned, the experiences I have had, and the connections I made, have helped define my goals going into my senior year at MICA.

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