Hello! My name is Isabella Clements Leedeman, and I’m a Senior Animation student at Freestyle Academy. Over the last two years, I’ve cultivated my passions for animating, illustrating, designing, storytelling, and creating. Outside of my media work, I spend my time drumming, sketching, and creating music.

For my Senior Showcase, I am excited to share my Junior Documentary and Senior Zenith projects; these pieces reflect my best work and most meaningful growth during my Freestyle career. My junior documentary was a book I had created about my mother that had passed away the summer prior. It was an extremely difficult and equally rewarding process to collect research about her as well as design a book in a way I believed would portray her life in a simple clean manner. For my Zenith, I worked with my twin sister, Simone, who is a design student. We have done many past projects together because we work well with each other. We decided to make a children’s book about working dogs and a book bundle to go with it. I illustrated the entire book and worked with my sister all throughout the project in order to get the product we envisioned.

I would like some feedback focused on your outside perspective on each of these projects. Do you believe my children’s book would be interesting for children and if not how could I improve it? Do you have any design suggestions to make my documentary book possibly more interesting to an outside audience? How do you believe I can improve these projects to make them the best they could be?

Next year, I plan to continue illustrating and maintaining the skills I have learned at Freestyle. I am excited to take time to figure out what is it that I enjoy about each of my passions. I also plan to create my own stories that I haven’t had time to execute using some of the media I have practiced at Freestyle. 

You can reach me at ileedeman@yahoo.com

Junior Documentary Book:

The documentary unit was one of the hardest and most rewarding projects I have ever completed during my time in Freestyle Academy. It was one of the biggest projects I have faced because each part had to be completed in my three classes: English had the book text, Design had the book design, and Animation required an entire animated documentary to go along with the book in the end. The focus of the Documentary project was to answer the question: “How do you creatively and truthfully portray a significant person, group, place, idea or issue in the community?”. In my English class, we answered this question when creating the center of this project, the Documentary book. In my Design class, we worked with Adobe Indesign to design the layout of the book. In my Animation class, I worked with Adobe Animate and After Effects in order to add another visual aspect to the documentary.

The center of the Documentary Unit was the Documentary book. This book is the product of many hours of hard work, whether through writing or designing, taking photos or conducting and transcribing interviews. This project allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, and I am so proud of each part of this project. Though at some points it was challenging to complete each part of this project in each of my classes. For example, the English portion of writing it all out was difficult for me due to the emotions that were involved in the process, however, finishing it was very rewarding. It was almost a physical prize I had made myself at the end of the stress that was producing it.

(Click the image to view my documentary book)

Through the many factors in producing the book, I enjoyed learning more about my mother’s life from the perspective of others in her life. As well as learning much more about Lyme disease. The overall goal in creating this book was to not only educate the reader on my mother but also how Lyme disease is affecting so many people and yet not many doctors are educated in it. I also enjoyed being in control of each part of the book: the layout, font, color scheme, graphics, photos, etc. Being in control of these allowed me to have more freedom in creating the final product. A valuable skill that I was able to take away from this project was the ability to conduct interviews and reach out and communicate with people. This project truly allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, and I am incredibly proud of the final product I have created.

Senior Zenith Project 

The most recent and by far the most rewarding project I have created in my time in Freestyle Academy was my Zenith Project. The Zenith Project is the product of the combined passions and skills from both myself and my sister, and what we have learned throughout our time in Freestyle, mixed together to create our final, most successful project.

Overall, this project was an incredibly large undertaking and includes many different parts that unfortunately, could not be explained in-depth in a concise way. Overall, our Zenith project included 4 separate parts: our goal for the end of the project was to create a “bundle” to go along with the children’s book we decided to create, including bandanas, an activity booklet, and dog tags.

In order to create the main portion of this project, which was a children’s book on dogs, we had to do the proper research, storyboarding, and then eventually begin the tedious process of painting the pages.

Below are the final storyboards we created that we used for our book.

Below are extra storyboards of specific pages with more detail in the backgrounds, solidifying our ideas for what we wanted to include in the illustrations.

After creating the storyboard, we began the process of painting the pages using Adobe Photoshop. The process of creating the illustrations of this book was very tedious, but in the end very rewarding. I worked to create the illustrations in this book, and overall created 60 pages using Adobe Photoshop and an array of brushes and other tools. Some of these pages and backgrounds

We are extremely proud to be able to say that we wrote and illustrated this entire book. The book includes many factors that set our children’s book apart from others, including: 5 dogs in real life are featured in the book as characters in the book, as well as tips for young children on how to read dog body language and how to approach a dog, and how to act around a service dog. We hope to soon get this book published, as we want to make it available for people to purchase in the future.

(Click the image to view my Zenith book)

In the end, this project taught both my sister and myself many valuable skills in both the challenges and factors that were successful:

Challenges we faced:

  • Taking on such an immense project in such a little amount of time was stressful and overwhelming more times than not.
  • Including outside sources and relying on them to provide photos and other materials was a challenge, as contacting people brought along the fear of not receiving a response, and making many backup plans.

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone! Communicating and contacting people was crucial throughout this entire project.
  • If you “bite off more than you can chew” don’t be intimidated by the amount you have to do. Try to map it out and make an extremely detailed schedule to keep you on track. If you still need help after that, reach out!
  • Stress can only help so much. At some point, it does more harm than good.