Saturday, October 28, 2017

Introduction into Children's Book Illustration

Storytelling has been critical sense the dawn of human existence. That sharing of stories from one generation to the next is how we have come to understand what we are now. While our lives are ever evolving we look to the stories of the past to understand the present. We tell our children fables, myths, and stories to protect them, and make them wiser. The hope is that the stories will inform our children's' choices so they will make better ones. 

An important reason children's books were so significant besides teaching important lessons, or being many children's first exposure to reading, is that they were a primary form of entertainment. There was a time when there was no Netflix. Read that Netflix. There was no TV, radio, iPhone, movies or video games. Books were a primary source of information (no Google back then sorry.) Furthermore, books were a primary source of entertainment. Arthur Rackham may be children's books most important illustrators whose influence is still felt to this day.

Children's books took children on journeys to places they couldn't travel to because of either cost or danger.

The special effects we crave in modern entertainment were found during those times in the amazing art of these wondrous books. 

These books explored danger like modern films do. Of course, the biggest differences is while modern film is limited to it's monetary budgets, the only budget of illustration is the imagination.

Personal reflection and lifestyle beyond what the reader was accustomed to was explored.

The realm of magic and fairies came to life in these books.

Personification of the creatures the authors described would come to life in the art so the reader could relate to what was occurring in the story.

The art was beautiful.

Rackham would illustrate such important stories such as Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as well countless other famous tales.

His work would go on to influence famous modern movie directors such as Guillermo Del Toro who directed Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim.  Other modern film franchises such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit would be heavily influenced by Rackham too. 

Harry Potter's Goblins from Gringotts's Bank.

The Lord of the Rings...

So we will journey through these books to understand the root of commercial arts as a form of entertainment and enlightenment.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fear Factor

In order to gain success we have to push through our fears of failure. As an extended jumpstart we are to draw something we are afraid of. The reason is that as artists, we are creators, who are in control. Your fears can't harm you if you are creating a controlled environment for them. You can even make them silly. 

The point is that students are being taught that many of the things we feared when we were small we no longer fear because we learned to gain control of those things in our lives. Such as, if you fear the dark, when you get older you simply turn on the light switch. The light switch we are using in our classes is our minds.

In addition, art is communication. Communication tied to emotion can be more powerful. So we are also exploring how to tie emotion to our images. Please draw your image to be at least 5 by 7 inches.

These are due October 27th.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Composition Part 2: Hierarchies!

Amazing stories have a purpose. There is a reason for telling them. Someone shouldn't describe to their doctor why the Xbox One X is a vastly superior to the Nintendo Switch after she asks how you broke your arm. What would be the purpose of that? You want people to care about what you have to say. You want your audience to appreciate the story you have to tell be it spoken or visual.

A key part of telling a great story is picking what is important. You need to select a hierarchy. A hierarchy is an order of what you want to focus on and what your audience should pay attention to. In order to tell a great visual story you need to prioritize the key details or else your image becomes a confusing mess.

Hierarchies help your audience understand what you are trying to say. If you clearly establish a hierarchy then your audience can focus. So a prioritized order of ideas can make even complex ideas simple to understand.

The cool thing about being an artists is the power we can have to captivate our audience. We can even use certain techniques to make them look where we want! How cool is that? The average person looks at an image for less than 4 seconds and determines if they like it or not. Anytime you have a person looking  beyond that you are winning as a communicator and artist.

There are several tricks that we use to help us prioritize. The journalistic questions are questions we ask everyday to understand what is going on. For example, when Sally broke up Stephen we want to know: who they are, what was the reason they broke up, where were they when they broke up, when did they break up, why did they break up now, and how did it all go down? Every news story establishes the answers to these questions very quickly so the audience will understand what is going on. This is called creating context.

Establishing context makes your audience care. It's why your pet "Fluffy" is more than just a dog to you. You have a history or a connection to Fluffy. The answers to the journalistic questions give us a connections to explaining why you are connected to Fluffy. Your audience needs connections so they will care about it. 

Ok so we know we need to answer the journalistic questions in order to create context. Part of determining the answers to the:  who, what, when, where, why, and how is establishing the actor or actors, stage, and action. What this does is simplify how to be establish context very quickly. 

The actor in the above Howard Pyle's painting Marooned is a pirate. The stage is an abandoned beach, and the action is being marooned. The pirate is who is in the picture. What is happening is our pirate friend is being marooned, and when is during dusk. The where appears to be a beach. The body language of the pirate gives a clue to the why the pirate was left there, and the how is the revealed by there not being a pirate ship there anymore. 

We clearly know what is going on because these questions are answered. Therefore, we have the context to understand what is going on the picture. It effectively communicates. Since art is communication, this is good art.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Think of composition like a map. A beautiful glorious map that allows the viewer to have a sense of direction of what you are trying to communicate.

Above is a definition of composition. You want to think of it as how you lay objects and ideas on your page for your audience.

Composing an image can be a confusing struggle for the artist. Where you place things and how you emphasize them has meaning. While your audience will always drawn on their own experiences to interpret your ideas, you really want them to get what you are trying to say. 

The map above while wondrous is a confusing mess. There is no order, or emphasis of importance.

Viewers that are confused will not spend time on you work. They won't like it. So this week we will explore how to create an image. We will learn how to map our ideas so that we clearly communicate to our audience and they can appreciate what we are trying to say.

Crazy whale monster loves this!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Final Logo Due October 5th

Final Logo is due Thursday October 5th.

No exceptions... failure to turn in will result in being fired.

Scan and Let's paint!

  1. Type Scan into the "Type here to search"
  2. Windows opens the Windows Fax and Scan window.

  1. Windows Fax and Scan.

  2. Click the Scan button in the Navigation pane, then click the New Scan button on the toolbar.
    The New Scan dialog box for your scanner opens.

  3. Use the settings on the right to describe your scan.
    By letting the computer know what you’re scanning, its color profile, and the type of file you plan to create, you enable Windows Fax and Scan to create the highest quality scan.

  1. 1. Always make sure you have 300 DPI.... 
  2. DPI stands for Dots per inch
  3. 2. Always click off the scan image as separate documents button

  1. Click the Preview button to see what your document will look like.
    Make any last minute changes.
  2. If you’re happy with the preview, click the Scan button.
    Windows scans the document and presents you with an image of your document.
  3. Click the Save As button and complete the necessary information.
    Enter the filename, the type of graphics file you want saved, and then click the Save button.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Thesaurus is your friend!

You need to define your words that you selected and then use a thesaurus.

Find all the similar words that mean something like the words you have selected.

The reason we do this is because our brains work like internet browsers. Our brains search for pictures that associate with each word we find. This forces us to be instantly creative because each word acts as a different visual clue to a final solution.

The job is to take the best ideas to finalize a concept.