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Alumna at world-leading software developer Savage Interactive on the power of art

Lauren Yates-Jones

When alumna Lauren Yates-Jones (BA-BFA 2018) mentions to people that she studied Psychology and Fine Arts at university, she is often greeted with a confused expression.

But Lauren believes it’s the ideal combination of skills for her role as Learning Coordinator at Savage Interactive, the Tasmanian software development company behind Procreate, an art-based app used by global industry professionals and primary-school aged children alike.

“I pursued the two things I’m passionate about and it equips me perfectly,” Lauren said.

“From my psychology degree I developed critical thinking and an understanding of how people behave – how they think, feel and make decisions,” she said.

“I’m able to combine this understanding of how people behave and learn with the spark and joy and magic that comes from the creative process.”

Lauren, who has just returned from the United States where she has been discussing the potential uses of Procreate in classrooms, describes how the design app helps to bridge psychology and art to aid learning.

“We know that unlocking creativity across the whole curriculum helps students learn better,” she said.

“Rather than rote learning, why not use inquiry-based learning incorporating art-based principles?

“We need to think about how best to teach a young person in the twenty-first century.”

Many in the art world have certainly embraced the app, with artists from Disney, Pixar, MATTEL, Blizzard Entertainment and others all using it to sketch, paint and create, whether in two dimensions or three.

In June this year, the Savage Interactive team gathered remotely at their Hobart Headquarters for a presentation watched by millions, to hear that Procreate had won its second Apple Design Award, this time for inclusion.

The presentation was made on the opening day of the Worldwide Developers Conference, which celebrates the best of the best, celebrating excellence in innovation, design and technical achievement.

Alumna Claire d’Este (BAppComp 1998), Procreate’s Chief Product Officer, said of winning the prestigious Apple Design Award for Inclusivity, “We’re honoured to see our ongoing work and dedication to Procreate recognized by Apple.”

“It fires us up as we focus our attention on the next generation of Procreate products,” she said.

For Lauren, the impact that Procreate is having on education sectors worldwide through their focus on accessibility and inclusion is a huge driver.

“One of our internal mantras is 'Art is for Everyone', and seeing other people come to believe this for themselves is exciting every single time,” Lauren said.

“Seeing young people who haven't been able to use this kind of software before communicate their ideas in this medium for the first time is incredible.

“We’ve built these incredible creative tools that can be used by industry professionals and also picked up and used by a five-year-old … It’s a privilege and an absolute delight to get to do this in Hobart, to have studied here and now to work here.

“I used Procreate myself in Art school. The Fine Arts degree enabled me to develop creative skills as an illustrator and in painting and graphic design – a skill mix that is important when in a scale-up business that needs you to be creatively agile.

“I could try all different streams of creativity in my degree; I could flex my illustration skills, my 3D skills and come out a more robust creative as a result.”

Other alumni of the University working for Procreate include videographers and IT professionals.

This article featured in the monthly eNews Alumni and Friends. If you are a member of the University of Tasmania community and would like to receive this publication, please provide or update your email address.

Image: Lauren Yates-Jones

Published on: 07 Sep 2022 12:13pm