Maine South grad wins sketchy prize
Adrian Adamiec, a 2012 graduate of Maine South High School, won a National Scholastic Press Association award for his editorial cartoon about the spring 2012 presidential primary. | Contributed photo
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:15AM
PARK RIDGE — What started out as doodling during class turned into an exciting extracurricular activity and later a national award for 2012 Maine South High School graduate Adrian Adamiec.
Adamiec’s editorial cartoon, depicting Mitt Romney in an Illinois-shaped boxing ring pummeling Republican rival Rick Santorum in the 2012 primary, appeared in an edition of Maine South’s student newspaper, Southwords, and went on to win 2nd Place in the 2012 National Scholastic Press Association Cartooning Awards.
Adamiec joined Southwords his sophomore year as a graphic designer and worked as head of production his junior and senior years. Today he is attending Loyola University Chicago, but looking ahead to transferring to the University of Illinois at Chicago next fall where he plans to study industrial design.
Q: How did you end up joining Southwords?
A: I pretty much doodle in every single one of my classes. To some teachers it seemed like I was not paying attention, but there was a (TV news) story about how doodling actually proves that there’s more brain activity and that students who doodle remember more from a class lecture. My English teacher saw that same story, so she was OK with me doodling in class. She asked if I was involved in any art program and I said no. She said, “I know Southwords is looking for a graphic designer, someone to work with the artistic side.” One way or another, I got an interview with Mr. (Alex) Stathakis (Southwords advisor), I brought in my drawings and he seemed to like them.
Q: What was your experience like with Southwords?
A: It was incredible. I loved it. I think everybody did. Mr. S has a great sense of humor. My senior year, when I started doing more comic strips, he was my go-to guy for getting a punchline right. It really seemed like everyone in the class was really smart, really funny to be around. It was really the highlight of most of my time in high school.
Q: What inspired your winning cartoon?
A: All of the graphics we made are created with a very discussion-based process. I think some of my friends and people on staff — who are also my friends — they threw around ideas. They said, “We need a graphic that talks about Mitt Romney and how he’s sweeping the polls in Illinois.” I don’t know where the boxing idea came from. I guess I just started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they were in a boxing ring shaped like Illinois? After I got that idea I drew in Obama, because in every single one of my graphics I try to cram in every single thing I can. I’ve been described as lacking restraint (laughs).
Q: What did you think about winning second place?
A: It was really cool to hear I was up for it. … (Southwords) had won a Golden Eagle Award, which Mr. S was super-excited about. He said he was going to send some of our stuff in for national awards. I was not expecting to even be in the running, but it turned out I was among the top five finalists.
Q: When did you start drawing?
A: It’s something I always did as a kid, since I was two or three. I think it was probably my mom who got me to try it. I would try to draw a circle on a piece of paper and I wouldn’t be happy unless it was a perfect circle. I would crumple the paper and throw it away.
The way I improved was by watching cartoons or reading comic books and trying to draw the characters from those stories. I’ve always been doing it during school. It’s been pretty much around my whole life.
Q: What do you like most to draw?
A: During the summer sometimes I get bored, especially if I’m not working. A couple of years back, using Facebook, I said, “I’m going to do a caricature of the person who is at the top of my friends’ list on Facebook.” Usually I knew something about them, so I’d try to use some inside jokes. If I was really lost I’d ask them what they wanted in their caricatures.
Anything I really care about I have drawings of. I love cartoons and animated movies. When I saw “Wreck it Ralph” all my college notes were littered with drawings of the main characters.
Q: Do you have a favorite animated series?
A: I really like the animated series “Avatar: the Last Airbender.” And “The Legend of Korra.” It’s by the same creators.
Q: What are some of your other interests?
A: I’m actually finishing up a novel right now. I gave a draft to one of my buddies I really trust because he’s into fantasy and I’m a science-fiction guy. I’m hoping to finish up in the next few weeks and send it to an editor once I get the green light from my friend.