An Unlikely Artist

Abigail Emtage

Abigail Emtage (’14) is no artist—at least that’s what she’d always thought. She was never the girl in the corner drawing in her sketchbook. Instead, she had an analytical, inquisitive mind. So when she decided to attend PCC and study graphic design, she almost surprised herself. “I’m an unlikely artist by God’s grace,” she said.

It wasn’t until her senior year that she suddenly realized she would be doing graphic design—as her job—for the rest of her life. “I learned a lot that semester about depending on God’s grace for every project. So then it transitioned from something ‘I am trying to do’ to ‘I can do this with God’s help,’” she said. “That means it can actually be a career. You can’t do anything very long in your own strength.”

That semester, she was challenged by her teachers to submit a project to a competition. When she submitted her project to HOW magazine’s International Design Awards competition, she said she almost laughed at herself for thinking she had a chance competing against designers from all over the world. But when she opened her e–mail and read that her work had been chosen for publication in HOW magazine and she had won an International Design Award, she felt God’s grace in her life.

“Seeing God’s grace through this, He’s a really patient teacher,” she said.“Each piece I started was horrible and ugly; then I would stop and ask God for help. And it would turn out so well. He’s so gracious. It’s what I feel I learned most from this experience. Yes, my work is now going to be featured in HOW magazine, but I can’t take the credit for that. I know I didn’t achieve this on my own. I know what I make by myself. I can’t take credit for this, but God is good.”

Throughout her time as a graphic design student, Abigail has received tremendous encouragement from her teachers. “Academically, the program is fantastic,” she said, “but more than that, the teachers are fantastic! Each semester they had confidence in me that I didn’t have. What really influenced me was that there were people who encouraged me. In so many schools you’re a number and you turn stuff in and they grade it. But here the teachers actually care about you. Having someone else who values art and shares that as a passion is invaluable. I feel like the excitement that the teachers have about design is what really inspired me the most.”

Now, as Abigail pursues a master’s in graphic design, she says she can hardly believe that her work is published. She believes her time at PCC has given her confidence to enter the ever–changing graphic design world and be a quality designer.

Published 4/8/2015