Digital determination

Gwinn High School senior recognized for artwork

MARQUETTE — What’s special about art is that it can be whatever the artist wants, such as an autumn landscape in oil, a portrait in pencil or — in the case of Gwinn High School senior Emma Locknane — “A Very Determined Medic” with green pupils and sharp teeth.

Locknane is the winner of two Regional Gold Key awards for her digital art pieces, the “Medic” piece, for which she also won a National Silver Key Medal, and “Candlelight Organist.”

The recognition came from the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which conducts the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a program for teens in grades seven through 12.

Within the awards’ 29 categories, which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons and video game design, students from every state submitted 340,000 works of art and writing for judging at the regional level this year.

Artists work in a variety of media, such as acrylics and felt, but Locknane uses Gimp software, which allows her to create special digital art.

“It’s kind of like Photoshop, but it’s free, and so it’s pretty easy to use,” she said. “I make a sketch first, and then I trace over it with the black lines, and then I color everything in.”

A head is basically is a circle, Locknane noted, with the basic pose a stick figure she fleshes out to make it more elaborate.

Locknane then adds shadows, highlights and other effects — all online — which means she uses the ink tool instead of a real pen.

The effects don’t have to be gaudy.

For example, “A Very Determined Medic” draws in the viewer, even though it’s mostly black and white with just a little color.

“A Very Determined Medic” and “Candlelight Organist” are two pieces of digital art created by Gwinn High School senior Emma Locknane. She recently received regional and national recognition for her work. (Photos courtesy of Teresa Locknane)

Locknane’s interest in art came from a sibling.

Her older sister Paige got her into drawing cats, but then she branched out into other subjects, using tools such as Adobe Illustrator.

Even more types of art might be in her future.

The younger Locknane is thinking of studying illustration and earning an art and design degree at Northern Michigan University.

For Locknane, art is just one way to be creative — and, as she said, “make fun” of the Hallmark Channel.

“I also enjoy writing, so it helps me kind of visualize a scene as well, and also get a reference for the characters,” she said.

As far has art goes, though, she appreciates traditional and visual art.

However, Locknane acknowledges there are differences.

“I like both,” Locknane said. “Digital, I can get most of the effects I want to, whereas traditional, it’s a little harder to do that.”

As with many artists, she’s partly a self-taught one, having learned digital art techniques on her own and in her digital design applications classes at Gwinn High School.

Locknane’s mother has seen what her daughter can accomplish with digital art.

“I’m really proud of her,” Teresa Locknane said. “She’s done a lot of amazing stuff.”

Some of that amazing stuff is on display at this year’s display of local high school artists at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, located in the lower level of the Peter White Public Library.

Her mother expects Emma will pick up more techniques in college.

“I can’t wait to see all the things she’ll learn there,” she said.

Arts run in the family.

Teresa Locknane is coordinating the “8-Hour Comic” event set for 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 27 at the MACC. Marquette Art Week is scheduled for June 23-29 and is expected to include studio tours, exhibits and other attractions such as the Art Stroll, which takes place June 27.

The purpose of “8-Hour Comic” is to create eight pages of comic art in eight continuous hours, which involves the story, finished art, letter and, if applicable, color.

Participants should be of high school age or older. The MACC will provide the opportunity to have their work displayed after the event through July 27.

For more information, visit facebook.com/8hourcomicmqt/ or email teresalocknane@gmail.com.