Twin sisters Arielle and Zoe Hernandez are 2020 Compton College graduates with a passion for designing characters like those that appear in video games or animated shows. They both earned associate degrees with an emphasis in arts and humanities and plan to transfer in spring 2021 to a university together to major in animation or art. They are interested in pursuing a career involving character design that will combine their artistic and technological skills.
While they received acceptance letters from the University of Southern California and Otis College of Art and Design, they plan to take the fall semester off to research and apply to more universities, especially those with character design programs.
The twins graduated from Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School in 2018 and currently reside in Carson. In addition to designing and drawing characters, the sisters enjoy other creative pursuits. Arielle enjoys crafting with her aunt and believes she inherited her creativity from her mother. Zoe enjoys working with clay and playing video games. They have three dogs and like to spend time taking them for walks every day.
Arielle has been interested in character design since elementary school. “It helped me overcome stress, kept my imagination fresh, and allowed me to understand people and personalities around me,” she said. During her senior year of high school, Arielle decided that she wanted to pursue character design as a career. Arielle and Zoe put a lot of thought into each character they create, and draw inspiration from many things. “When developing a new character, it’s important to think about the character’s reactions in all kinds of situations, and how that relates to how they look and how their outfit or clothing design may look,” said Zoe. Sometimes you can tell what a character is like by looking at their body language, their body shape, and their overall image.”
During their time at Compton College, Arielle and Zoe enrolled in the First Year Experience program and utilized all the services at the Student Success Center. The twins agreed that the instructors and the community on campus are what stood out most for them at Compton College. “The instructors are amazing and they encouraged us to pursue our career paths.” Zoe shared her sister’s opinion about the sense of community on campus. “Compton College is made up of a community of people like me,” said Zoe. “I found a community of like-minded individuals, with similar transfer goals, and that helped me feel safe and confident.”
With an unexpected shift to solely online learning due to the global pandemic, the twins were asked to share tips for other students on how to navigate all online courses. “First, don’t let it discourage you!” said Arielle. She suggests students treat an online class as if it were a regular class and take advantage of all the online student support services Compton College has to offer, such as counseling, tutoring and workshops. Zoe said that online classes challenge students to develop new skills and to think differently. “I challenged myself to work on my photography skills to take better pictures of my artwork to submit for my online art class.”
Arielle described Compton College as providing a solid foundation for her higher education experience, “It’s the first step to experiencing a bigger college.” She feels she would have been lost attending a university directly after high school and may not have received the one-on-one assistance she did at Compton College from instructors and staff alike. Her sister agrees with the benefits of first attending a community college. “Compton College is more accessible than a university and saves you lots of money while allowing you to complete your general education courses,” said Zoe.