Visiting lecturer Chris Schweizer tells art students to do what they love

Sydney O’Gwynn

Staff Writer

 

Chris Schweizer, signing autographs at UWF. Photo by Sydney O’Gwynn.

 

Chris Schweizer, a graphic artist and cartoonist, discussed his journey into the world of graphic design in his lecture Thursday in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the University of West Florida.

Schweizer said he found it difficult deciding exactly what he wanted to do in the art field. When he was in his twenties, comic books became all the rage.

“That got me really excited,” Schweizer said, addressing the audience. “So I started to do comics.”

He said his dad had a huge impact on his decision to become a graphic novelist. He said he remembers when he was 24 and he drew some comics. After showing them to his dad, his dad said he should draw comics for a living.

“For him to, sort of, propose that was the first time that I actually thought of it as being a job,” Schweizer said.

“The Crogan Adventures” is Schweizer’s historical fiction graphic novel series. There are currently three published: “Catfoot’s Vengeance,” “Last of the Legion” and “Where Loyalties Lie.” He also has a children’s series called “The Creeps.”

In his lecture, Schweizer talked about his process when writing his novels and coming up with ideas for their stories.

“I give my characters an impossible problem and force myself to solve it,” Schweizer said addressing the audience. “It’s fun trying to figure this stuff out.”

He said he tries to engross himself in whatever genre he is working in so he can understand what he is drawing. He said doing this helps with the accuracy of the artwork.

Senior digital art major Lyani La Santa said it was a nice lecture for art majors to find some validity in their field. Being a digital art major, she said she also enjoyed his outlook on digital media.

“It’s nice to know that even though he is an accomplished artist, he sees online media as an actual tool to get art out there,” La Santa said.

She said she liked his approach of doing whatever makes you happy and said she learned to, “be as animated as your art.”

Schweizer is the first lecturer to visit the department of art this semester. Nick Croghan, director of The Art Gallery, said he tries to bring in several lecturers throughout the course of a semester.

“What I’m looking to do is provide the best experience for students, the university community and the general northwest Florida community,” Croghan said.

He said he tries to find lecturers whose experiences will cater to students in different fields of art.

“One of the things I really try to do is find a balance between traditional mediums and more contemporary mediums,” Croghan said.

To close the lecture, Schweizer gave some advice to up and coming art majors. He said exposure is key for an artist.

“Showcase what you do and how you to do it as much as you can,” he said.

He also said to stay true to what you do, because you never know what impact you are having on your fans.

“I love for work to be fun,” Schweizer said. “I really enjoy my work and I want to continue to enjoy my work.”

Before the lecture, Schweizer gave everyone in the audience a copy of one of his sketchbooks released in 2011. After the lecture, he autographed the books, making sure to give each one a personalized sketch. He gave the remaining listeners his philosophy on being successful in their careers.

“You’ve got to be two of three things,” he said. “Really good, really fast or really easy to work with.”

For more information about Chris Schweizer and his work, visit his website at croganadventures.blogspot.com.

For more information about the Art Gallery and its upcoming events, visit its website at tag82uwf.wordpress.com.