All posts by Joan Chiverton

Volunteering and Internships Can Pay Off

Though you might think of it as someone is getting free labor, doing an internship and/or volunteering at a company you would eventually like to work for can be an investment in your future. You will be learning on the job, making valuable contacts and letting people you would like to work for someday know who you are, how organized you are and how talented you are. What you might even discover is that the company or the field is not what you thought it would be, and that maybe another area seems more exciting.

All your work experience looks good on your resume, and internships and volunteering often lead to a job offers. It’s a win, win situation.

Joan Chiverton teaches SXD 635: Quick Sketching for the Pet-Product Business and SXG 140: Storyboard Techniques Studio for Costume Design.

More about “giving back” by donating our talents

I’m writing this on Memorial Day, which seems fitting.

I volunteered to sketch patients and give them the sketches at our local VA Hospital about six years ago. It became my way to say thank you to these amazing men and women who fought in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Very few are from the present Iraq/Afghanistan war, these soldiers generally go to Walter Reed or a hospital in Texas. The hospital volunteer officers were a bit confused that someone would offer to do this and initially positioned me in the main lobby at a small table. It felt very awkward, but after doing my first sketch there was always a long line of people waiting to be drawn and I was fine.

I no longer sketch in the lobby. This materialized into me as a volunteer teaching art in their Out Patient Community Room. Art can be very therapeutic and healing. Some of my students have taken art very seriously and work on their own and at home and are now exhibiting and selling work in a Brooklyn gallery.

I do still sketch patients, but this I now do with a group of illustrators I’ve organized from the Society of Illustrators who sketch with me. A few of these talented volunteers are fellow teachers here at FIT. We go into the hospital wards a few times a year and are considered entertainment. We get to know these veterans briefly as they talk to us while we sketch them, and then we give them the sketches we’ve done. They hang them by their beds or usually send them home to family members. It makes us feel very grateful for what we have, and thankful that we can say thank you in some way, for everything they have done for all of us.

Joan Chiverton teaches SXD 635: Quick Sketching for the Pet-Product Business and SXG 140: Storyboard Techniques Studio for Costume Design.

Drawing Dog Portraits

Drawing Dog Portraits for the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life

There are hundreds of public service ads and commercials asking for donations to 9-11, Katrina, the tsunami and tornado victims, to orphaned children, abandoned pets, and more. Especially in this economy it’s difficult to always give cash, but many of us have special talents, so we can contribute in our own way.

Seven years ago I approached the American Cancer Society and offered to sketch pets at their Bark for Life, charging $20 a sketch and donating all the money collected to them. Each year since I’ve organized a group of illustrators and cartoonists associated with the Society of Illustrators to sketch with me. We’ve donated between $700 and $1600 a year, depending on how many artists participate. This past Sunday we drew 38 dog portraits in 3 hours, raising $760 for the ACS. It was a fun time… our models don’t hold very still, but it’s so much fun.

Joan Chiverton teaches SXD 635: Quick Sketching for the Pet-Product Business and SXG 140: Storyboard Techniques Studio for Costume Design.