Monday, August 5, 2013

Illustration Master Class 2013

 


I attended the Illustration Master Class in June. It's a week-long illustration, book-cover, concept art, art direction workshop with a group of amazing illustrators, art directors, and concept artists.

It wasn't my first year... I knew some of what to expect, and it was a great experience again (just like other years.) You can actually go backwards in blog and find my posts featuring other years of IMC.

The week of IMC is set-up like this... There are lectures by the faculty and featured guests during the day. In the evenings the students work on their assignments in the studios (as the teachers go around the studio and give their guidance)

IMC is awesome.... and I'll go into why...

Story time.... a tangent:
Before attending art school at Sheridan I was taking art lessons with a great painter by the name of Robert Wanka.
They were weekly classes in the evening to get a portfolio together for Sheridan's Illustration Program.
Every week my teacher would show me books of amazing artists I hadn't heard of before. One of those was Boris Vallejo. I did tons of copies from those art books.

Being introduced to artists like Boris led me down a path of being introduced to more artists like Dan Dos Santos (through conceptart.org), Iain McCaig, Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess, and more...

IMC is the artists I copied during my art lessons teaching a workshop together... and that's one of the big reasons why it's great. Imagine attending classes taught by the artists that influenced you before and during school.  Another reason is its like a sleep-away art camp for professionals and art students -- which brings in an extremely inspiring atmosphere.

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There's several assignment topics to choose from. This year one of the big ones was Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. I Couldn't pass it up. I had only recently finished reading the latest book in the series.

I decided to do two assignments this year. Here are my finals -- scroll down for more of the process behind them.


A scene based very loosely on the red wedding during Storm of Swords.


Bran and the Crow as he falls from the sky over the wall.

I decided to get in the Game of Thrones mood by doing some sketch-booking in Starbucks of some of the characters. The narrator of the audio book; Roy Dotrice is the one with the accordion.

Roy Dotrice and a rogue's gallery of the sillier characters he narrates during the audiobook.

I made a list of the scenes, situations, and stories I was interested in making images of.  These were the first four I scribbled down. Melisandre's manipulation of Stannis, the hostage taken at the red wedding, the iron throne, and Bran falling from the wall during a dream sequence.

My first ideas... quickly painted roughs of some of the scenes I was interested in illustrating.

We begin our roughs and research before the workshop starts and bring them to be posted for the Day 1 critique with various members of the faculty. The initial days of the workshop are spent adjusting or redoing the roughs and then proceeding to final when a rough is approved.

Back at the campus for another year, nostalgia overload.

... And the next day it began...

Critique group with Iain McCaig, Scott Fischer, and Scott Allie.
 
Iain McCaig, Scott Allie, and Scott Fischer go over the composition of our roughs

Action poses and reference.
A lesson on effective story-telling during dinner (Iain McCaig and Scott Fischer)



After getting notes on my initial roughs and narrowing one down to attempt first I began my drawing for my painting.

Graphite on 17x22" rag paper




Discovery during lunch-hour, the backs of our name-tags form a puzzle


There were tons of faculty demonstrations throughout the week. One of the highlights was when they brought in a model and did portrait paintings of her. It was intimidating so see how fast book-cover artists can thrown down paint and achieve a perfect likeness so quickly.

Portrait painting demo with Dan Dos Santos and James Gurney

Ink and watercolor demo with Iain McCaig

Drawing with Greg Manchess
Rebecca Guay's  demonstration
Beginning drawing for my second Game of Thrones piece

Here is a video from James Gurney's youtube channel about some scenes from IMC:


 Video of some sped up model demos of the faculty and students.

A List of a few awesome experiences from IMC this year (in no particular order):

1. Day 1 reference lectures -- shooting reference of models and how to get them to do the poses that feel dynamic.
2. A dinner spent with a handful of artists and Iain McCaig as he goes through the structure of story and breaks it down into something amazing and simple. I've never heard anything quite like it before.
3. Some really great encouragement from Rebecca Guay about what direction to take my work.
4.Working in a studio on my project right next to Renae Taylor , Aly Fell , and Ernesto Nave. It was great looking up from my work and peering over their shoulders while they worked.
5. Staying up all night drawing with everyone on the last night.
6. The best and fastest way to do concept art in the industry. I can't wait for an opportunity to apply it.
7. How to deal with clients.
8. Portfolio reviews with Irene Gallo, Scott Allie, and Lauren Panepinto.
9. Concept art assignment!
10. Return friends from previous years.
11. Faculty demos. Scott Fischer's tutorial in particular spoke to me this year.

The week absolutely sprinted by. Before long it was the very last evening.
There was a last dinner together, sketchbook signing, open house to show our finished (or in-progress pieces), a movie with the students and faculty, and followed by drinks and a sketchbook party lasting till dawn the next day.




Iain McCaig drawing in our sketchbooks

Maybe it is three or four in the morning by now... I'm not sure...

More drawing on the very last night... sketch party.

Iain's sketch of me as a Jedi.




It ends...

At sunrise most people finally headed to bed. Check-out from the dorms was in a matter of hours.


This year's work was featured on TOR.com in an article written by Irene Gallo. My piece is in the Game of Thrones section.


My "homework" phase during my post-IMC-blues begins with a concept art assignment based on a brief from one of the lectures. Maybe I'll post more of my sketches from this at some point in the future. Here is one of them:
Concept art sketch#1 assignment done from a brief given by Iain McCaig


I dived into working on my second piece.

Throwing down color flats based on my finished drawing.
Somewhere during the halfway point.

Almost finished?

A special thanks to Nathan Fowkes for giving me a really amazing in-depth critique when this was in its earlier stages. I think it helped it come together and solved a lot of the issues I was having with some of the figure-stuff.

Detail shot.

I'm waiting patiently for next year....

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