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Lenora St. Blog

The Invisible Journey to What Feels Effortless

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by Gala Bent, Cornish Design faculty


As a faculty member in Illustration, I am constantly reminding my students of their powerful place inside a community of learners. Students often go to school to learn from experts, but they grow in leaps and bounds when they also remain open to learning from their talented, insightful classmates and enter a process of making, critiquing, and refining based on feedback from both their professors and their peers. The result is a richer, more thoughtful, and more polished final product. 

Below is an example of this process, shown by permission from Cornish student Ben Hose (DE ’22). The assignment, called “Color as Character,”  was to produce a spread of a graphic novel, using color as a significant element. The project went through several phases of development, from sketching to prototype to finished product, with feedback from peers and faculty along the way. 

Process Booklet

Final spread:

student work graphic novel panels student work graphic novel panels

Ben Hose’s final graphic novel spread feels effortless and is wonderfully readable: a cinematic introduction to a character in an unearthly setting. All of this is a result of Ben’s rich process, however. Most things that seem effortless, in fact, are the product of a (usually) invisible process, engaged with patience and care. Watching these processes unfold is one of the greatest joys of teaching in the arts.


Professor Gala Bent is Design Faculty in Illustration at Cornish. In her personal work, she pursues, doggedly, a hybrid mix of studio-based practice and project-based illustration with inspiration supplied by science, music, theology, poetry, and contemplation of natural forms. 

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