With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in hand, Acealyn Youngblood is ready to embark on a career as an artist. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, she studied illustration and plans to work in either package or magazine design.

“Ever since I was a child I always liked drawing, it was my favorite thing to do,” said Youngblood, 22, who grew up in Brighton. “I’d draw in school and had trouble getting my work done because I wasn’t paying attention. But my parents encouraged me to draw and that pushed me into a creative field.”

Youngblood chose SCAD because of its reputation as one of the best schools for fine arts in the country and she thought she could excel there. Leaving home and going out of state was a little frightening at first since Youngblood was on her own and didn’t know anyone. Seeing how talented all the other students were inspired and intimidated her at the same time.

“I doubted myself; I didn’t think I was artistic enough,” she said a few weeks before graduating on June 1. “I thought about quitting at one point and thought I wasn’t as good as everyone else. I told myself I had to finish this and that everyone else had issues too. I was able to push through my struggles and here I am four years later about to graduate.”

Having a professor who served as a mentor helped her to thrive and succeed. Her advertising professor always had good things to say about Youngblood’s work and said he could see her doing this type of work.

“He liked my ideas and helped me develop them,” she said. “He was very inspirational.”

SCAD has a campus in Hong Kong and during her junior year, Youngblood spent a semester there studying illustration. She said the teaching style was very different than in the U.S.

“The Savannah professors are more strict; they give us an assignment and tell us what to do,” she explained. “The Hong Kong professors let you do your own thing and grade you on your process. It was more relaxed and I was able to be more creative there.”

One of the most important lessons Youngblood learned in college is the value of experience.

“It takes time and patience to build skills and technique,” she said. “You have to really work to improve yourself. It’s very difficult to overcome self-doubt, but once you get passed that you can do anything.”

One day Youngblood hopes to open her own business that specializes in branding concepts for companies and corporations. Until then, she wants to work for a company that lets her make the most of her creativity.

“Going to college is scary because you are alone and it is hard,” Youngblood said. “But there are so many doors you can go through that will lead you to so many different experiences. A lot of people are willing to help but you have to give it time, stay strong mentally and work toward what you really want and you’ll be OK.”

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