Rifle--check, ammo--check, drawing pad and pencils?
By Cpl. Ethan E. Rocke
| | October 25, 2002
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
Whoever thought artistic creativity would be a requirement for a Marine recruit? For the majority of recruits it's not. But for the tiny percentage of Marines who come in the Corps to be 4611s, the screening process is a bit more extensive. They have to be capable artists. 4611s are graphic illustrators. These "combat crayolamen" as they're sometimes affectionately called, are the Marines who are responsible for supporting the Marine Corps' mission all over the world through art. "Graphics Marines have to submit a portfolio of artwork in order to get into the graphics job field," said PFC Yuri Schneider, graphic illustrator, Combat Visual Information Center. "That portfolio gets sent to Quantico, Va., to be evaluated, and Headquarters Marine Corps decides whether or not we have what it takes to be Marine Corps graphic illustrators." There are currently four graphics Marines working at CVIC here who use their talent, creativity and training to support the mission at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego."Our mission here is to provide quality multi-media services in support of the recruitment and training of the highest quality basic U.S. Marine," said Gunnery Sgt. Sharon M. Wright, graphics chief, CVIC. "We support all units and permanent personnel here as long as it's training related." Lately, the Depot's graphics department has been working to support the Depot's upcoming Marine Corps ball."We design all the posters, seating charts and flyers for the ball," said Schneider. "We're constantly working up here doing this kind of stuff in support of Depot events," he said."I used to be a street artist painting graffiti pieces in Pittsburgh, Penn," said Schneider.Spending his time entertaining passers-by as a street artist in Philadelphia, Schneider was drawn by the opportunity to perfect his artistic talents and share them with a larger audience."When I heard the Marine Corps had graphic illustrators, I was drawn to the idea of doing what I love and serving as a Marine at the same time," he said.Schneider said he has traded his cans of spray paint for various computer software programs, since most of the work graphic illustrators do here is done with computers. "Ninety five percent of the time we use a computer," said Schneider. "But you still have to have that raw art skill to transfer your style and creativity to the screen."Graphics Marines learn how to sharpen "that raw art skill" at the Defense Information School at Fort George G. Meade, Md. There, they attend the Basic Multimedia Illustrator Course. The training focuses on three major functional areas. The first third of the 13-week course focuses on illustration and design. The second functional area is digital graphic design, and the final training block is multimedia design."We are taught how to use several different computer programs, so when it comes down to someone in the Marine Cops needing us to design something, we have a variety of tools to accomplish our mission," said Schneider. Although the majority of the assignments graphics Marines get are completed with the help of computers, there are certain opportunities for graphics Marines to create art the old fashioned way. Sgt. John M. Carrillo, graphic illustrator, CVIC, is currently on temporary additional duty orders to Quantico, Va., where he has been given the opportunity to do what he said he does best, draw and paint. Carrillo is currently creating the uniform plates for the Marine Corps' new combat utility uniform. He is the first enlisted Marine ever to paint the plates, which are poster-like diagrams of Marines in uniform. The plates show the proper wear of uniforms and have become a Marine Corps tradition. Carrillo's plates, when completed, will be the first to show the new uniforms in combat roles with weapons. Graphics Marines don't just work in offices with computers. Part of their job is making combat illustrations and sketches if the mission calls for it. They are capable of drawing images in a battlefield environment when necessary. This is a useful tool for the Marine Corps when a camera is not tactically efficient."We can draw hasty sketches of enemy objectives and equipment," said Schneider. "These sketches can be used later by intelligence in support of certain missions."Graphics Marines are capable of creating all kinds of artwork. They use the tools and resources at their disposal and their individual artistic talent to make sure Marine Corps artwork continues to support the overall mission of Marines."We love what we do," said Schneider. "Some assignments are more appealing than others but regardless of what we're working on we have fun doing what we love."