CFHS artist creates comics in her AP portfolio


photo courtesy of Mila Gresh

Throughout high school, students can take a variety of art classes to learn what type of art connects to their interests.

Junior Mila Gresh has crafted her AP art portfolio expertly throughout the last year as she prepares to submit her portfolio in May. In just three years, Gresh has taken Illustration and Animation, Drawing 1, Ceramics, 2D Portfolio Prep, Printmaking, and AP 2-D Art and Design.

“I’ve always been into art,” Gresh said. “Ever since I was little, I would draw on anything I could. Then when I got to middle school is when I really, really started to get into art. I was in Art Exploration in middle school so I was able to do art every single day and that was awesome.”

As she expands her AP 2-D Art and Design portfolio this year, she has created an essential question that connects all her pieces together.

“My current essential question is how normal, everyday situations and situations with friendship can be elevated and changed to fantasy,” Gresh explained.

Gresh uses a mixture of watercolor, India ink, and colored pencils to craft whimsical illustrations and comics with storylines and lively characters. A lot of her inspiration for her portfolio stems from some of her favorite graphic novelists.

“I’m a big fan of Tillie Walden,” Gresh shared. “She creates these beautifully illustrated graphic novels using watercolor and inks. She has a bunch of them, my favorite being “On a Sunbeam”. It’s really beautifully illustrated.”

Gresh’s favorite piece she has worked on so far is a black and white watercolor and colored pencil depiction of a group of animals and a child sitting around a campfire surrounded by winding trees. Because of Mrs. Jill Eisert’s suggestions, Gresh created a reference by molding the creatures out of clay before starting the piece in order to get a better sense of the shadows for the piece.

However, Gresh sometimes struggles to put her ideas to paper.

“You can have your mind really set on something, but it might not work technically. So you’ll have to alter it and change it to make sure you’re able to do it, which is kind of tricky to change your plan,” Gresh described.

Her friend who also takes the class, Anna Baker, enjoys Gresh’s approach to her portfolio.

“She has really good stylization. You can really know whose art it is just by looking at it. The line work and all the characters seem very cohesive and they’re all in the same style,” Baker shared.

Gresh has also gained recognition for her work outside of the art room. She received an honorable mention for the Scholastic Art Awards, had her work featured in Prism magazine, and most recently, her piece of the figures around the campfire made it into the top 300 pieces for The Governors Awards.

Next year, Gresh hopes to continue taking AP Art along with a jewelry class as a senior. She feels excited to learn new skills as she approaches the end of high school.

“I really like the creativity and openness [of art class]. There are obviously assignments in art classes, but I feel like the way it’s structured you can be really open about what you make and what you draw.”