His passion for drawing and design inspired Brodee Leonard to start his Bachelor of Digital Media with CQUniversity – and flexible study options are proving the key to him honing his skills.
Now 18-year-old Brodee’s progress has been recognised with a student award in The Next Level competition coordinated by global tech company Wacom, launching his work to an international audience.
Brodee began the degree in 2017, just after he moved to the remote Aboriginal community of Ali Curung in the Northern Territory.
“My mother and sister have been living there for a couple years, and I had a job lined up and a house with my family,” he explained.
“Studying remotely, I really appreciate the freedom to spread out my work load throughout the week.
“I like to be organised and have my day planned out so I am not wasting any time, and I can view lecture videos and watch tutorials whenever I feel like it.”
In September 2017, Wacom announced that Brodee was the 2017 student winner of its The Next Level competition, with his artwork entitled Locus.
“My lecturer had sent me the flyer for the Wacom competition and I was immediately interested – I hadn’t done much digital work before and wanted to give it a go, but I never thought I be one of the winners!” he said.
“I usually draw in pen and ink, and this style requires a lot of time and patience, which I have plenty of living where I do!”
“But I had a free weekend with no distractions and decided to start on my piece, on my touchscreen laptop.”
Brodee won a Wacom MobileStudio Pro, and CQUniversity’s Digital Media team received a Cintiq 27 QHD Touch as part of the prize.
“The prize came just a week before uni had started up for the second semester, which greatly helped and improved my level of work!” he said.
Brodee said he’s appreciated the support of his Digital Media lecturers as he’s got settled into his degree.
“CQUni has a very impressive teaching staff that have always been very helpful and understanding when things go awry in the community and I am unable to complete tasks,” he said.
The young illustrator hopes to freelance or find a design agency job after he graduates, as well as keeping up his personal art, which he shares on Instagram.
“I plan to continuing drawing and one day open a gallery and sell my pieces for top dollar!” he said.
In the meantime, Brodee’s work is on display at The Next Level exhibitions in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne, alongside renowned artists including David Milan, Rik Oostenbroek, Lauren Carney, Merda, Gemma Correll and Sha’an d’Anthes.