Monday, November 21, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Project 5: Memory

Make a list of 18 childhood memories: (6) from ages 1-6; (6) from ages 6-12; and (6) from ages 12-18. Try to come up with specific events, not general situations (so, not simply “Fishing with Grampa,” but “the time I went fishing with Grampa, and I fell out of the boat.”).

From this list, select the three memories that seem the most compelling and personal. Take some time and write about each memory. Consider: Why is this event significant enough that you have bothered to remember it? What led to this event? What were you feeling at the time? What do you think other people were feeling? How would you react differently to this situation if faced with it today? What kind of specifics and concrete imagery can you remember? Chronologically, how did this event transpire?

Type up and edit each memory. Print off 4 copies of each piece (12 total). In class on Monday, break into small groups, give one copy of each memory to each member in your group, and read your memories to one another. Note your peers’ reactions and associations with the stories you tell.

Edit your peers’ stories. Specifically: note what isn’t clear narratively, what kind of specifics could use more detail, what is effective and what is too vague. Highlight as much concrete imagery as possible.

Using the feedback you received from your group, choose one of these as the memory you want to work with for this project.

Prepare 15 thumbnails of your memory. Do not look at any photographs during this time. Create the compositions based solely on your memory. Consider the Molly Bang principles: structure your compositions to heighten the emotions conveyed in your stories. From these thumbnails, prepare (3) 7” x 9.5” refined sketches. These presentation sketches should be refinements of the thumbnails, advancing your understanding of the composition, and clearly communicating your content.

In class, prepare a 7” x 9.5” painted study of the best of the three compositions. Only after this sketch is completed can you look at any photo-reference for this piece. Shoot or construct your own reference as much as possible.

Based on your painted study, develop the full-size composition, and lightly transfer it to your painting surface. The final illustration will be 11”x15”, and will be executed in either black watercolor wash or black and white gouache. Take care to ensure that your final is clean and isn’t warping.

A sheet of good paper: watercolor paper or Bristol Board
Tracing paper
Black tube watercolor paint/Black and white gouache
Plastic mixing tray
Water container
Round watercolor brushes
Mop brush

11.9 - Assigned: Develop Memory List
11.14 - Memory stories due, peer editing. Begin thumbnails.
11.16 - Review thumbs, refined sketches due at end of class.
11.21 - Half-sized painted sketch due. Illustrator Paper DUE.
11.23 - Turkey Day Break!
11.30 – Illustrator Presentations DUE
12.5 - Memory DUE.
12.7, 12.12. – Illustration presentations, Last Day of Class.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some period dress

Found by Luke! Thanks Luke!

Keep researching and piecing together accurate reference for Monday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sinbad the Sailor

For the next assignment, you will illustrate a story from the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. This story will be executed in scratchboard. The size is 10”x15”, either landscape or portrait, and should be measured out in the middle of a larger sheet of scratchboard—do not work at the edge of your board.

List 3 events in the story of Sinbad that would be interesting to depict. Write a stream of consciousness statement of each, summarizing what is happening at the moment you wish to illustrate. Try to understand the back-story and motivation of each of the players involved, even if this means you need to invent this information. What is Sinbad feeling at that moment? What are the other people feeling? Why are they doing what they’re doing? How would you feel if placed in that situation/Has there ever been a time when you have encountered something analogous to this event, however tenuous the connection? Even though you are illustrating a pre-existing story, it can and should be informed by your personal experience, and even become a vehicle to tell your own story.

After writing the 3 statements, begin drawing thumbnails of the chosen moments. Prepare at least 15 thumbnails for each moment. Consider the overall emotional tone of each moment, and how you can communicate that with the composition, as you did with the Card Suit project. Consider the emotional state of the characters, and how that will inform their body language, as you did with the Pantomime project.

Research the history of the Arabian Nights, and Sir Richard Burton’s translation, in particular. Because they result from an oral tradition that circulated for centuries, there is timelessness to the stories. But, in order to illustrate them properly, you must root them in a specific time an place, so that you know what people will be dressed in, and what their environments will look like. Based on your research, determine a place and time for your depiction of the voyages of Sinbad. Research the culture that Sinbad comes from (is he Muslim, or Sikh? Arab or Persian? Or something else entirely?). Write a 500-word summary of your research and conclusions, and email these to me at Collect as much visual reference as you can for your chosen period. Collect at least 5 images of period-appropriate male clothing, 5 of female clothing (costume history books are a great resource), 5 of buildings, 5 landscapes of that part of the world, and images of ships, animals, weapons, furniture, and whatever else you might need for your illustration.

Take your 3 most successful thumbnails (these may or may not be from the same moment), and draw a 7.5”x11” compositional study for each. Your 35+ thumbnails, 500-word research summary, visual references, and 3 comps are due 10/19. Remember that complete and on-time research and sketches are a significant part of your final product grade.

Based on feedback in class, do a full-size, refined, 10” x 15” pencil sketch in preparation for transfer to your scratchboard.

During the next class, we will have a figure in costume for posed reference. Bring materials for drawing the figure, the larger the better. Also bring cameras if you choose. I will bring mine for use as well..

10/12- Mid-Term. Pantomime critiqued and turned in. In-class: Scratchboard studies.
10/19- Illustrator Research due. Story sketches and research due. In-class: figure drawing with costume
10/26- Full-sized pencil sketch
11.9- Finals due, critique

Large and small sheets of scratchboard
Scratching tools
Tracing paper
White chalk for transfer

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Remember to bring scratchboard to class next Monday, 10.10. We'll be experimenting with it on a still life.


In class, on 9/28, watch the selected materials from Martha Graham's A Dancer's World. Look for expressive body language, and sketch in your notebook. How much information can be expressed with nothing more than the human figure?

Select 4 of the emotions listed below:

Acceptance; Ambivalence; Apathy; Anxiety; Compassion; Confusion; Curiosity; Despair; Disgust; Doubt; Ecstasy; Envy; Embarrassment; Forgiveness; Frustration; Guilt; Gratitude; Grief; Hope; Horror; Homesickness; Loneliness; Love; Pity; Pride; Regret; Remorse; Shame; Suffering.

Your assignment is to convey these emotions solely through body language. This will require the assistance of one friend, peer, family member, class crush, or paid persons to act as a model for you. Working with your model, develop body language that clearly conveys your chosen emotional states. Refer to your in-class sketching for ideas. The poses you develop may or may not be wholly naturalistic; they may be exaggerated. You may costume your model however you wish, but the model must remain in the same outfit for all 4 emotions—no changing costumes to reflect the emotion being depicted. Draw your model from life. You may take photo-reference, as well, but only as secondary resource to your live-model drawings.

From these sketches, develop 4 images, each 7"x10", of the human figure, expressing your chosen emotions. You may use either litho crayon or ink on white paper. Choose either quality drawing paper or smooth Bristol board depending on your choice of media. The drawings should contain the figure only: no props, no background. Mount the four drawings 2 x 2 on mat board with 1” in between each drawing, and with a 2” border. Label the four emotions depicted on the back of your mat board.

The four drawings are due for critique on Wednesday, 10.12.

Dimensions of Final:

(4) 7” x 10” drawings.
Mounted on matte board with 1” in between drawings and a 2” border on each side (final mat size will be 19” x 25”)
Flapped, with an image tag on the back, as well as the corresponding emotions.


• Smooth Bristol board or quality drawing paper (like Rives BFK)
• Tracing paper, heavier stock paper for flap
• Litho Crayon or Ink, with brushes and nib pen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Improbable Event

For this illustration, depict an event that could occur, but is so incredibly improbable that it hasn’t and never will. This is not a fantasy piece, which would allow you to depict the impossible. It’s just really, really improbable.

To begin developing your ideas, make a list of ten objects you like, five objects you hate, and five objects you think are interesting. Then, list ten environments you like, five you hate, and five you find interesting. Finally, list ten activities you like, five you hate, and five you find interesting. Now, start matching up objects, locations, and actions. See if any of them make an interesting and improbable combination (for instance, “sailboat,” “stairwell,” and “surgery.”). Develop your ideas further in a series 40 thumbnail sketches. Consider the Molly Bang Principles of Composition when composing your thumbnails.

When you have completed the thumbnails, choose the piece you would most like to do, and collect photo reference for all the elements you will need to accurately draw your image. Do not collect reference until you have finished all of your thumbnails, as photographs have a tendency to overrule your own pictorial ideas. Collect multiple images of each object you need reference for. This may include images tangentially related to the objects/locations/activities you begin with. For the above example, one might collect pictures of sailboats, sail rigging, buoys, nautical flags, lighthouses, stairways, newel posts, rugs, interior decorating, surgeons, surgical implements, and roller skates.

The final piece will be executed in ink, using optical grays. “Optical Gray” refers to the use of hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, and scribbling to create apparent value tines, but without mixing or watering the ink to create actual washes of gray. It is recommended that you collect a wide variety of mark-making tools, including nibs, brushes, and even sharpened sticks or cotton swabs.

9.15 Still Life with Monster critiqued. In-class: Ink demo

9.19 In-Class: Ink still life

9.21 Improbable Event research and sketches due.

9.26 Full-sized pencil sketch of Improbable Event due. In-Class: begin ink finish of Improbable Event.

9.28 In-Class: Work day

10.5 Improbable Event due, critiqued.

Dimensions of Final:
- 11” x 15”
- Mounted on matte board, with a 2” border on each side (matte board will be 15” x 19”)
- Flapped, with an image tag on the back

A sheet of Bristol Board
Tracing paper, heavier stock paper for flap
Nib pens
Assortment of brushes: watercolor, sables, bamboo, etc.
Anything else you want to dip in ink and make marks with!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Illustrator Research Project

Image Research: Research each of the listed artists. Collect five of their images in your sketchbook and record who they were, when they worked, and what sort of work they did.

Aubrey Beardsley
Honore Daumier
Albrecht Durer
Gustav Dore
Charles Dana Gibson
William Hogarth
Winslow Homer
Rockwell Kent
Heinrich Kley
Kathe Kollwitz
Winsor McKay
J.C. Leyendecker
Thomas Nast
Rose O’Neil
Howard Pyle
T. S. Sullivant
John Tenniel
N.C. Wyeth

Image Research Due: 10.19

Research Paper: Choose the artist who interests you most and research them for your presentation. At least five sources must be cited in your bibliography. Use at least three non-internet sources. The oversized reference section at the Benjamin L Hooks Central Library is a good source. Write a 2000 word paper about the artist: who they were, who their influences were, what their art training was like, when they worked, what sort of work they did, what sort of techniques they used and lastly, describe their impact on their peers.

The final paper must be emailed to me at before the start of class on 11.21.

Presentation: Prepare a 10 to 15-minute PowerPoint presentation based on your paper. It should include at least twenty images of your artist’s work, and at least five of an artist who influenced your artist. You may also wish to include images that establish the time and place in which your artist worked.

A few tips:
Do not read directly from your paper during your presentation. Speak from your personal knowledge and rely less on reading cards. Speak clearly, slowly and with enough volume to carry your voice across the room. Maintain eye contact with your audience and try not to fidget. Most importantly, remember to breathe!

Paper due 11.21.

Presentation due 11.30

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Zoosday Part Deux

We'll be drawing at the zoo again tomorrow, Friday the 9th at 12:30. Weather should be much nicer. Meet out front of the main gate, near the big concrete animals.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Remember that we'll be sketching at the zoo tomorrow! Friday the 2nd, at 3pm til they kick us out. Let's meet right outside the front gate, near the giant concrete animals. It will be kind of hot, so it would be a good idea to bring some water. Bring whatever you're comfortable sketching with, but I'd suggest using your litho crayon or something analogous to it.

This drawing is from James Gurney's blog. Remember what we covered in class on Monday-- quickly put in forms, establish volume, and determine relationships between anchor points. Check and double check proportions! Block in general values and THEN start refining with detail.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Still Life with Monster

In class:
Take a good look at your googly monster. Get to know your googly monster. Tell the googly monster a little bit about yourself. Draw detailed studies of your googly monster in class. Do not eat your googly monster.

Take your googly monster home to meet your roommate, family or imaginary friends.

Out of class:
Using your monster, create a still life fitting one of the following titles:

1. Dances at a Gathering
2. Confessions of the Lovelorn
3. At the Mountains of Madness

Shoot at least 20 different photographs of your still life. Change the angle, lighting, and distance at which you take your shots (but do not change the still-life itself) to create different compositions. Use the Molly Bang Principles to guide your compositional decisions in order to capture a specific emotional effect appropriate to your images title. Pay attention to the play of light and shadow and how it reveals the volume of the forms in your photo references.

Keep in mind that the aspect ratio of the drawing is not proportionate to the aspect of a photograph (that is, your camera’s viewfinder is a different shape rectangle than your drawing will be). If you are shooting your pictures on film, be sure that you give yourself enough time to get the pictures developed, as you absolutely need to have your photos for reference the next time class meets.

Print out ten images for review in class.

Photographs are due 9/7.

Based on feedback from the class to your photographs, create a small, 8” x 10.9” compositional study with cut paper. You may use black, white, and up to two different grays in this study. Ignoring the specific detail of the images you are working with, play with the big graphic shapes, and see how they can be emphasized or pushed in order to enhance the emotional effect you want from your final image.

Compositional Study is due 9/12.

Using both your photograph and the compositional study, create an 11”x15” drawing with litho crayon on white paper. When drawing the images, pay more attention to the light and dark values of your forms than the specific contours. In other words, draw the light, not the outlines.

Litho drawing, mounted and flapped, is due 9/12.

A sheet of good drawing paper, at least 15”x19” with an 11”x15” drawing area measured out
Tracing paper
Pencils and erasers
Litho Crayons of various degrees of hardness (#00 being softest, #5 being hardest)
Colored paper: black, white, and up to two grays.
X-acto blades, scissors, or other cutting implement

James Gurney's books for those interested.

I realize these are easy to find, but I figured I could post links to them, as they really are amazing resources to have in your collection of books.

I have a physical copy of Color & Light that I can bring in if anyone's interested. It's probably my most valuable book as far as information goes that I have. I've been meaning to pick up a physical copy of Imaginative Realism as well; I have a digital copy, but it's not quite the same. These really are worth the money guys.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Playing Card Part Two

In Class
Select three of the emotional states listed below:
anxious; embarrassed; exhausted; distracted; slovenly; sensual; aggressive; awed; maternal

Do not let anyone know which states you have chosen!

Using the suit signs and the number of signs from the three cards you were given, design a card for each of the emotional states you have selected. So, if one of your cards is the 3 of clubs, and one of your emotions is “embarrassed,” then you will use the forms of three clubs to create a composition that visually expresses the feeling of being embarrassed.

Draw at least 10 sketches for each card. There may be no other visual elements in these compositions. Like with your 50 thumbnails, worry less about depicting recognizable objects and more on the emotional impact of the composition itself. Consider what makes one emotional state different from another. When you find a good visual effect, try to push it as far as you can, and see if that heightens the intended emotion. Try contrasting one effect with an example of its exact opposite. Get rid of anything that is not helping communicate, even if it looks great. Refer often to the Molly Bang Principles to guide you.

Out of Class

Execute these three images in cut paper. You may use black, red, and white paper. Use the opportunity cut-paper provides to move your shapes around before gluing, and see if you can further refine your composition. The three images should each be 5”x7” (twice playing card size), and mounted together on a piece of black mat board. The 3 images should be mounted side by side with 1 inch between and 3.5 inches on the outside edges. There should be a 3.5 inch border on the top and bottom. The final size of your black mat board should be 24” wide by 14” high. FLAP IT!

These cards will be graded on clarity of communication (we should be able to immediately recognize what emotion you are depicting) and craft (no globs of glue, no stray pencil marks, and change your X-acto blades often for nice, clean cuts). Oh…and DON’T write the emotion beneath the card. Your classmates must be able to discern the emotional state by the visual communication alone.

This project is due next week, 8.29.

For next week, bring a digital camera; borrowing and sharing is fine. I will bring mine for anyone who does not have one.