Self-taught artists share inspiration for continuing art at UIndy

From dreams of creating a comic book to animated inspired work, two University of Indianapolis students have incorporated each of these things into their art work and continue to build on them throughout their time at UIndy. Sophomore actuarial science major Samuel Leagre and freshman biology major Donna Tansy have each been inspired by a variety of things that have allowed them to grow within the field of art.

Many students may have art experience through general education courses that are required to graduate, but both Leagre and Tansy have established their own style of art and built on it for many years. While neither of them are art majors, they each plan to continue creating artwork for years to come in their own free time. Leagre says he has been drawing since he could hold a pencil. He has dreams to one day create and publish a comic book.

“I haven’t been able to do a lot of art recently,” Leagre said. “But I’m still taking an art class, so I am still trying to keep it a part of my life because I want it to be a part of my life forever and sell stuff on the side.”

Both Leagre and Tansy said they found inspiration from their childhood, yet this has brought them in different directions with their art. According to Tansy, her artwork is mostly inspired by animated shows that she watched when she was younger. Tansy said that her artwork started as her mimicking the animated style and trying to draw her favorite characters from the shows, which later progressed into her own art style.

Art by Donna Tansy

“I like to do portraits,” Tansy said. “I have an expressive style of art so I kind of take realism and put a twist on it. That makes it more animated and it emphasizes emotion and especially different features.”

According to Leagre, his artwork has been inspired by the comics and graphic novels that he read as a child and even as an adult. His work often includes characters he creates along with ideas for comic books for the future. For example, Leagre said he has now designed characters for a pilot project his brother created.

Leagre has practiced many different styles of art and used to collaborate with friends from high school on a business they started together. According to Leagre, the business is no longer functioning, but they designed t-shirts and phone cases that he illustrated.

Art by Samuel Leagre

“Just reading graphic novels as a kid [was inspiring] and Scott Pilgrim was great, the Hellboy comics are a big inspiration,” Leagre said. “…Just reading stuff like that as a kid really made me want to create stuff like that.”

Both Leagre and Tansy have majors outside of the art field, yet both hope to pursue art in the future along with their careers that they go into. Tansy said she has sold commissions in the past, but plans on possibly carrying on with art on the side, which may differ from the artwork she practices now. According to Leagre, he hopes to become an actuary in order to maintain a stable income while continuing to practice art.

“I think being able to pay for stuff like that [tuition] is really important,” Leagre said. “So I think that’s what’s cool about art is that you can kind of use it as a way to fund other parts of your life, like side stuff.”