Rylee Veneklase has no intention to stop her artistic passion after high school

Senior Rylee Veneklase is going to graduate this school year and continue her journey down the road of animation.

Having loved art since an early age, she has a plan written out for the future, and she will graduate to pursue her dream of becoming a professional animation artist.

“I decided to go into [animation] because I just love world-building,” Rylee said, “and the thought of one day having my characters or having my own movie created just sounds like a dream. It just sounds so cool to be able to say, ‘Hey, I designed all that in a movie.”

Rylee wants to major in animation and character designs for animated films so that she can learn more about animating in the future. There are many majors in the art industry, but she chose this one because of the type of art that she wants to continue with.

Rylee wants to have her movies or her characters be well-known, and she has somewhat of a vision for the future. She wants to work for a very well-known company that will make sure her animations are famous—like Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks. But even though she loves animating, there have been times when she’s doubted her path.

“I thought, last year, I was going to go into American Sign Language as an interpreter,” Rylee said. “My parents were encouraging me to do it, but then I realized over the summertime [that] maybe ASL is not my thing because it just didn’t work out, and I realized when applying to my classes that I really want to go into art. It was one of [those] things that I just really couldn’t push away. I have thought for a while of just majoring because there is a stigma that artists can’t make a lot of money and that it’s kind of a deadbeat job, in a way.”

Having thought about other career paths, Rylee always finds herself back in the same place—with art once again. Being an artist has its ups and downs, and she acknowledges the stigma surrounding the profession; when someone says the word artist, people usually think of gallery artists.

Knowing that she wants to go into the animation field, Rylie doesn’t see herself changing her mind about her career path—just like she didn’t lose sight of her dream even in middle school. She has wanted to go into art since the sixth grade, which is very unique since most people don’t know what they want to do until they’re at least in high school.

“My parents bought me a really crappy sketchbook,” Rylee said. “You know, the cheap ones from Five Below—but I still have it, and even though the art is so bad in it, it just reminds me of how much I loved drawing such stupid things. I guess right there, drawing in that little sketchbook, is what took off.”

The sketchbook her parents gave her is what really started her entire journey and what introduced her to her future fondness for the creative department. That one small gift from her parents is what kickstarted her journey of self-discovery.

Rylee’s art has changed a lot since she first started. She used to love to create art in a much different way from now. She went from creating art simply because she loved it to creating art based on her emotions.

“[There’s] one artwork that really impacts me the most, and I can’t really look at it the same way,” Rylee said. “The drawing was for AP Art. During the middle of it, when I was drawing it in my room, my brother had a seizure. It brings back memories when I look at it and everything, so [I] can’t really look at it the same. I think that’s what kind of shaped me now with how I draw things. I draw a little bit more from emotion now.”

Rylee’s eleven-year-old brother is currently healthy and thriving, although he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Having gone through that terrifying experience on a random Tuesday night changed how she looked at her art entirely. Every time she looks at that AP Art project, she feels a little nauseous.

I think that’s what kind of shaped me now with how I draw things. I draw a little bit more from emotion now.”

— Rylee Veneklase

Now, she makes art more from her emotions than she did before. Art is a very special thing in general, but when you add the emotional aspect, it becomes a whole other universe. She plans to take that and apply it to her future.

After college, Rylee just wants to have a happy life; she doesn’t have anything specific planned, but, undoubtedly, she will live the serene life she wants.

“I just hope that I wake up every day and I’m happy where I am,” Rylee said. “I hope that I live in a nice area. I hope I live in a place where I want to live. I hope that I’m traveling here and there, and I’m not stuck in one place.”