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Press to hear me say "FML!"

Hello everybody! Who's in a relationship right now? And who's planning to break up? Before you do, carefully choose the way you're going to make the big announcement. It can be funny or smart, but be sure you select a way that can't be misconstrued. For example, buying a ring with "we should break up" written on it isn't such a good idea, because if you choose a horrible way to say "goodbye my lover", he or she might end up on FML and spill the beans. And it could end up as an illustration. Yep.

- And that's the story you choose Sara, but first, please present yourself to the world.
-I'm Sara Bloem I'm eighteen years old. I'm a whippersnapper! I'm nearly always the youngest person in my class because my birthday is at the end of November.

-Where do you pay your taxes, and, you know, live?
-Currently, because I attend the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), I live in one half of a dorm room in Providence, Rhode Island. But I'm from Olney, Maryland, and went to high school in Rockville. This is what Marylanders like to call the Washington, D.C. area, because most people out of state don't know much about Maryland. But then, if you say you're from D.C. and someone who actually lives in D.C. is around, they'll nail you on it.


- "Once upon a time..."?

-I think my mom almost had an aneurysm when I told her that I wanted to take life drawing classes. I was 13, which is when most girls are playing field lacrosse or something, and what I really, really wanted was to draw nude models in a poorly-lit classroom at the local community college. My background is also Mormon, so you know it was a huge leap of faith for my mom to fight to get me into the class, which was for age 16 and up, and then actually drive me there so I could watch and sketch a naked person for three hours in the evenings. After the first class, my mom asked me how it went, which I knew partly meant, "How did you feel about watching someone totally naked, possibly a man, for hours on end?" That night was, in fact, a man, but I don't think I mentioned that; I just remembering assuring her that it was fine and falling asleep in the car. That's how much my mom loves me.
I've lived most of my life in Olney, Maryland, which is a very small town that collectively mourned when its one cinema shut down in 2008. Then I went to high school in Rockville, Maryland, which is a slightly larger city known mostly for being the Rockville of R.E.M.'s "Don't Go Back To Rockville".
Joking aside, I enjoyed high school a lot and dabbled in art during my time there. I was a member of the drama sound tech crew who didn't actually know much about sound technology, but made cool T-shirts with spray paint and stencils that made all the other tech crews jealous. A lot of my summer experiences had to do with art; I volunteered at a lot of day camps and worked at the Hirshhorn for part of a school year. I also took classes with Ms. Ruth Fishman, who inspired me to think differently about art and not see it just as an artist-sits-hand-draws kind of thing.
I didn't take art very seriously until I competed with a team of my friends at the 2008 International Space Settlement Design Competition finals in Houston, Texas. I was on the automations team, but I ended up handling a lot of graphics during the competition. Modeling and illustrating robotics was a total blast for me, and it made me see illustration as a field with so many more possibilities than I had previously considered. I decided to attend the Rhode Island School of Design so that I could pursue that, and I'm reaching the end of my first year here.

-Do you have a job to pay for school?
-I'm lucky in that my parents are paying for my schooling right now. I love you guys!

-What do you enjoy the most about illustrating?
-What I really like about illustration is that it offers the opportunity to synthesize a lot of different ideas - often totally unrelated to art - and then requires that you communicate that synthesis in a way that's appealing, attractive, funny, or clarifying. I love the whole premise of it, making the world a little more interesting and fun and easy to understand. And I enjoy learning, and by translating your learning you can give something back to the world. I'd ultimately like to try art directing. Since there aren't a lot of spots open in that field, though, I'd also like working for any company that ultimately distributes art to a lot of people, like a magazine, a video game company, or an animation studio. I would like my art to be used and appreciated as part of an overall communication strategy, like the art on the packaging for video games. No one treats that art like it's a Da Vinci, but think how sad and empty the box would be without it!

-Can you tell us more about your current projects?
-Right now, I've got my hands full with my school work. On the side, I'm doing some art for a Chinese phone company - that's due in a week - and I'm also very slowly working on an animation with my friend. I'm very interested in two-dimensional animation lately - when the world is complete and whole, I think it's really seductive. There are so many more possibilities to the medium than we've ever seen from Disney. On the other hand, drawing over a thousand images by hand can be pretty much the anti-fun.

-What about your blog?
-I set up both my fun (digication) and "professional" (coroflot) websites this January, ever since RISD Career Services told me I needed to have some kind of website for resume purposes. (Speaking of resumes: will someone in the DC area offer me an internship this summer? Pretty please?), go ahead:
-I love reading and always read a little bit at night right before I go to sleep! My favorites are Dostoevsky and Nabokov, but I also enjoy Vonnegut, Kafka, and random hits from the New York Times bestseller list that I sneakily buy for myself as little presents. Right now I'm almost done with a book by Richard Dawkins; before that, I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot and reread "The Defense" by Nabokov. When I'm at home, I love pretending that I can play tennis and racquetball, when really I'm quite terrible at them. (So terrible, in fact, that I once hit myself in the face with my own tennis racquet.) I also like running with friends, which also usually turns into slowly jogging with friends, then walking, then sitting on a lawn and talking, then going to get frozen yogurt. Ha ha. As for little pleasures in life, I sometimes buy myself chocolate bars at CVS on rainy days and save them all the way home until I'm in my dorm room and can eat them without anyone judging me.

-Why did you choose this FML?
-A few months ago my first ex-boyfriend and I broke up! As with many first-time break-ups, I think, there was the usual silliness and I was quite sad. After a while, though, I started being able to see the humor in things again; I chose this FML because I felt ready to poke some fun at relationships. It could be either a boy or a girl being the selfish, silly one; ultimately, I think, the take-home lesson is to roll with life's punches and not take ourselves too seriously. (I also chose it because I think the boyfriend in the FML was a genius.) Unlike this FML, though, I can confidently say that my relationship was not that lopsided!

- Why did you decide to send an illustration to FML?
-A lot of the FMLs are pure epigrams of genius; I read the site every day looking for those. I also used to tutor someone in French and part of our warm-up exercises would be to translate some of the French VDMs. (Who now knows how to say "I'm 45 years old and still a virgin"? My fortunate tutee, that's who.) In short, we go way back. When I noticed that I could combine what I like - FML - with what I love - illustration - and then that I could apply for it and didn't have to be asked - I fired off an email within five minutes of making that observation! No hesitation.


"No hesitation" is a hot thing to say. Thanks for your illustration Sara, may your future boyfriend never give you a bear !


Sara's website :


If you want to be the next published artist, send an email to [email protected] including a link to your website/blog. If you don't have one, attach some of your drawings. But DON'T send your illustration right away! You need first to get in touch with anamorphosed Alice, who will tell you what you have to do!

#407 - Illustrated FML - On 04/09/2010 at 12:19pm by FML Team - 14 comments

Top comments

  • ex-boyfriend here, and this illustration is awesome

    #1 - On 04/10/2010 at 7:56am by timaster

    See in context

  • I have a friend who goes to RISD...

    Yes, that was a totally pointless thing to say.

    #9 - On 04/11/2010 at 4:19pm by Spastastic

    See in context



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