Monday, August 29, 2011

Illustration Master Class Round 3

Here is how my Illustration Master Class 2011 piece has developed.

"... and there it was -- an impossibly long serpent that had devoured the world around it. When it went for the rabbits she had a feeling it might eat her first if for no other reason than convenience"

This is my very belated post about my Illustration Master Class 2011 adventure back in June.

On Friday June 10th at approximately 4:17am I was off to IMC again for the third year in a row.

IMC 2011 sketchbook (cover artwork by Iain Mccaig)

For this blog I'll focus mostly on the development of my own IMC assignment. Considering everything else that happened that week my painting might have only accounted for less than half of what I experienced at the Master Class. There's no real way to portray the other stuff (the lectures, the faculty, the people) without just saying a bunch of times just how amazing everything was.

Each faculty member from the list below gave at least one lecture -- either an inspirational one about their art careers going all the way back to learning to draw as children or about something practical (like composition, photo reference, or book illustration in general)
There were also the demos. They worked in the same studios as us during the week and when they weren't going around and helping us with our pieces they were demonstrating the process of their own illustrations.

I had never been to summer camp, but I think the air of developing friendships with illustrators and artists from all over (as well as those who I've looked up to for a very long time) could be considered something of a an awesome-illustration-with-friends-art-camp-on steroids.

What is The Illustration Master Class?

IMC is a one week workshop where you complete an illustration assignment under the guidance of some illustration and art directing heroes such as...

Greg Manchess, Iain McCaig, Dan Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Rebecca Guay, Scott Fischer, Irene Gallo, Adam Rex, Jeff Mack, Scott Allie

--with guests throughout the week: James Gurney, Peter De Seve, Mo Willems

There were at least two times each day where a faculty member gave a lecture on a specific topic (like reference photography, colour theory, art direction) or told the story of their illustration career from the very beginning.

Assignment: There were a ton of great assignments to choose from (including a couple really tempting sci-fi ones -- Dune anyone?), but I chose the dragon themed cover. It's been quite some time since I painted any sort of a dragon despite how many fantasy-themed illustrations I've done the past couple years.

The assignment included completing a sketch and gathering reference before the first day of the workshop.

The Pre-workshop Process Show -- May 2011

The list of assignments were given out in May. I'm hoping to take some initial brainstorming I did back then and make more final paintings throughout the year.

Again I began with a scribbly thumbnail done while in a coffee shop over lunch. I refined the thumbnail with a loose pencil drawing which I completed as I gathered reference material.

As is the process of a lot of book-cover illustration this piece included a model shoot. Sometimes I'll photograph myself or friends as photo reference depending on the complexity or level of refinement in a painting. In the past I made small maquettes out of sculpey to test out lighting.

I had Alexis come to my studio and she brought her friend Miranda to do her make-up. While here she modeled for several other illustrations I'm working on as well that I'll probably be painting by the time this post goes up.
Alexis brought a lot of awesome energy to the piece and was great to work with. I had never worked with a make-up artist before and wound up being a really great experience. She knew tonnes about color and had a lot of great suggestions.

IMC Begins June 2011

My sketches for the critique wall

The campus

The studio

After some great input from the team of Iain McCaig, Greg Manchess, Julie Bell, Scott Fischer, and Rebecca Guay I was on my way to making my corrections and moving closer to final.

A personal photography/photo reference lesson from Dan Dos Santos, some drawing corrections, some reference gathering, and some more drawing corrections later and I was off to paint the dragon.

I recall some very uplifting words spoken by Iain McCaig as he looked at the latest rendition of my sketch before I dashed off to the photocopy place to get my 11x17" drawing enlarged to 22x30" for oils.

I applied some thinned acrylic on my drawing after transfering it to board. Once I had some washes down I sealed the whole thing in with a few layers of matte medium, sanded it, and then went on to oils.

I built some little sculpey bunnies to assist in getting the lighting right.

There's so much I'm not even covering. There were so many amazing lectures and demos by the faculty. I also met a ton of great people and continued friendships with a bunch of alumni IMCers.
It would of been really depressing to leave if it weren't for all the "see you next year"s on the last night.

Here's a sketch and a drawing I received from Greg Manchess and Iain Mccaig on the last night of workshop. Iain stayed up with us drawing until the sun came up. When I fell asleep he was still sketching for his students.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Latest Progress on "Circle"

Latest on the painting I've been working on:

Monday, August 15, 2011


I've been making some progress on one of my latest pieces. Here's a cropped shot of how it's coming along.

Reminder of what it's part of: (color drawing from a previous post)