Milford's Hannah Geyer is just full of ideas about how to represent the world artistically. She draws, paints and sculpts and has proven a whiz at using a computer to bring her ideas to life.
Hannah is so good, in fact, that she'll be representing Delaware in the Advertising Design portion of the national Skills USA competition, to be held in June in Kansas City.
She won the right to go to the group's national convention by taking the gold medal in advertising design at the Delaware state competition, held in April in Dover.
"I'm a creative person," the 18-year-old Polytech High School senior said. "I like to create and I feel I'm good at it."
Skills USA traces its roots back to 1965, when the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America was formed as a means of providing leadership training for people in industrial career fields. Today it has chapters in 54 states and territories; locally it is represented at Polytech and six additional vocational schools in the state.
Born and raised in Milford, Hannah enrolled at Polytech to take advantage of its visual communications program. She wants to use the training to work as a graphics designer in advertising.
Hannah's ability to bring ideas to life on paper and in the computer is a skill that seems to run in the family. Her mother, Carrie Geyer, was an art teacher, her grandmother painted and her grandfather carved decoys. She also has two aunts, one who is an art teacher and another who makes a living as a jeweler.
"My mom always had me doing crafts, little things for personal use," she said. "I learned I kind of liked doing anything, just anything artsy."
"She's very creative," said Mrs. Geyer. "She gets an idea in her mind, she works with it and researches it and completes all sorts of beautiful projects."
At the age of 10, Hannah won a blue ribbon for a painting she entered into competition at the Delaware State Fair. She also submitted a colored pencil sketch as part of the Mispillion Art League's show. Although she didn't take home a prize in that competition, she feels it's an honor just to get an entry accepted.
To win her Skills USA gold medal, Hannah was given a project to simulate work at a national ad agency. Provided a set of graphic objects with which to work, she had to form those elements into a design that would sell coffee beans. In addition to a written test, she was judged on her ability to create a layout, provide a drawing and then create the final product using computer software.
The work was judged not just on Hannah's creativity, but on how well she complied with the contest instructions and her proficiency with computer programs that included Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, desktop publishing programs used widely in the advertising field.
Page 2 of 2 - It wasn't an easy job, noted Richard Clark, student activities director at Polytech and an adviser to the Delaware chapter of Skills USA.
"Hannah's very creative, but you have to be to be in that contest," Clark said. "All of your skills are used to create a vibrant and effective design on a computer."
"Things are really coming together for her," Mrs. Geyer said. "Before she didn't really realize her potential. She's very creative and very innovative, and she comes up with things that really catch your eye."
"She's got a lot of potential," Clark agreed. "She's a great kid with a good attitude and a good work ethic."
Hannah already has mapped out part of her future. After graduating from Polytech later this month, she'll start the advertising design program at Delaware Technical and Community College. She's also looked into attending the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design.
After that, who knows?
"I just want to be a good graphics designer," Hannah said. "As long as I'm somewhere doing that, I'll be happy."