I began creating the Nittany Lion used in the Always A Lion frames when I was a freshman. I worked on it gradually until it was finally completed my senior year. Art was not my major, it was my hobby. Drawing provided me an outlet to express my joys, challenges and creativity. I used it like meditation.
Go ahead count the dots!
The artistic process used to make the lion is called stippling. Using a special pen, individual dots are placed one at a time to create depth and shading. The process becomes rhythmic and methodic. While Enya and Sade played in the background, I would put pen to paper allowing my mind to be free. Every dot on the paper was part of my sweet and sometimes bitter journey to graduation.
Experiences shape us
If you watch a segment of Sports Center, you might think that the life of a student athlete is all fun and games. Don’t get me wrong, the highlight reel that still plays over in my mind is filled with celebrations, cutting down nets, lifting trophies and the goosebumps that accompany reaching goals. However, becoming an adult while juggling the rigors of academics and strenuous training can also be challenging. Like many artists, creativity comes during times of intense emotion, and this Lion is the outcome of my growth.
I can’t remember now which part of the lion I drew when we lost freshman year to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament, or when I was ready to quit and walk away from basketball. I also don’t know which dots I placed when we beat Baylor in 1998 to win the WNIT tournament, or when I returned to finish the drawing shortly after our trip to the NCAA Final Four in 2000. There dots that also represent relationship troubles, season altering injuries, and a few days in the sun by the pool. I do remember that each dot represents my journey and my growth.
These dots represent the lessons I learned as a member of the Penn State Lady Lion basketball team. Lessons like how set goals, overcome adversity, push beyond your limits and believe that you can accomplish anything with the right people around you.
Always remember who you are, and what you represent
I hope you can see your own journey in each dot of this Lion. That you will remember the struggles you overcame, the success you had and the people that stood beside you as you reached your goals. Your journey is not over at graduation, it is just beginning. There will always be a member of the Penn State family nearby to help you. There is beauty in the ups and downs. In the end, when you piece together each experience of your life, it will come together to form a beautiful picture of who you are.
You Are…Always a Lion!
Special thanks and music credit to my great friend and favorite singer Corinna Joy. Check out her original music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Sound Cloud. I would also like to thank and give video editing credit to Chris Jackson.