FSU Art Student Wins International Design Contest for Agency Representation

Jan 29, 2021 10:55 AM

Frostburg State University senior art student Will Baxter has wanted to be a professional artist since visiting Disney World when he was five years old. He was named special “artist of the day” by a street illustrator and had the chance to sketch with an official Disney artist.

“That was the day I realized that someone can draw for a living,” Baxter recalls. “And I’ve never wavered on what I’ve wanted to pursue since.”

A resident of Cumberland, Md., Baxter is taking that next step to fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional artist. He recently won an international competition and has been offered an exclusive two-year deal with the Illustration Room, an Australia-based design company producing artwork commissions for businesses, websites, games, apps, magazines, books, advertising, marketing and PR agencies.

Baxter, a Bachelor of Fine Arts student with a focus in illustration and sculpture with a graphic arts minor, answered the worldwide “callout” from the Aussie agency for new artists to present a professional children’s book concept, which would include three full-page spreads, character designs and development drawings. He submitted works with a Halloween theme, beating out several hundred submissions from around the globe. He based his entries on a concept he had previously created at FSU for Professor of Illustration and Drawing Jamison Odone, who recommended Baxter for the competition.

“My final submission included two magic school student characters, a little cat witch and a small goat wizard journeying through a haunted forest to retrieve forbidden spells from an old warlock’s cabin,” Baxter explains. “The illustrations turned out to be some of the best work I’d ever done.”

Odone agrees. “Will worked on these for some time, and we went back and forth tweaking them,” he says. “He entered the contest because I said to him basically, ‘Will, you’re awesome and you must enter this!’”

As Baxter prepares to graduate in May, he is grateful for this opportunity and others afforded to him during his years at FSU.

“Thanks to the encouragement and tutelage of all of the professors in the Visual Arts Department and my professors in other departments, I feel better prepared to face the future,” he adds. “I am more confident than I ever could have imagined in my abilities, and I have learned so much from the many mentors and friends I’ve made of the professors at FSU.”

Learn more about studying art and design at FSU.