A local teacher has won a prestigious contest for fantasy and science fiction illustrators, earning herself a trip to Hollywood and major recognition in the field.
Trophy Club resident Ashley Cassaday has always loved to draw and has been honing her skills from a very young age. She gained inspiration from books, cartoons, Disney movies, and video games. She was also influenced by Baroque-style oil paintings, such as those by Rembrandt.
After studying art in college, Cassaday turned to career technology education, teaching high school students graphic design and illustration. Although she found she had a love for helping other young artists to develop careers in art, it was still not enough to satisfy her creative itch.
So, after school hours, Cassaday works as an independent artist and freelancer, creating her own characters and stories in the science fiction and fantasy genre. Many of her creations are based on folklore and stories from Greek mythology and include scenes of nature, florals, and fairies. Her digital artwork can be seen on her website, ashleycassaday.com.
Besides doing contract work for publishing and video companies, she also sells prints of her work at art shows and Comic-Con events around the country.
Recently, Cassaday was selected as a winner for the second quarter in the international L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Contest. Each year, 12 winners are selected for the honor and are flown to Hollywood in April for a week-long artists’ workshop and awards ceremony.
The contest is funded by the estate of L. Ron Hubbard, the prolific science fiction and fantasy writer of the 1930s and 1940s who authored more than 300 novels, novelettes, and short stories during his 50-year career. He was also an accomplished artist, poet, and musician. Although Hubbard died in 1986, his works are still widely read today.
In 1984, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest was founded, and five years later, the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Contest was added to the mix. Each year, the winning works from the two contests are published in an anthology. Cassaday’s artwork will appear in Volume 40, which will be printed next year.
The two contests are intended to foster the next generation of writers and illustrators, helping boost their recognition and their careers. Past winners of the Illustrators of the Future Contest “have produced over 6,800 illustrations, 390 comic books, graced 700 books and albums with their art, and visually contributed to 68 television shows and 40 major movies,” according to a press release.