Preparation and preliminary work for first term

I have been given my syllabus for the Summer session. I have three lecture classes and two studio classes. One studio class deals with Children’s Book illustration. For that I have the assignment of choosing a ‘public domain’ story or one of my own creation. Then I am to design page layouts and ultimately build a mock up book with sketches and verbiage, with no final finished artwork. This is to build skills in being able to repeat character designs, and build a well designed, consistent flow throughout a body of work. The story I have chosen is one that my dear Mother In Law Ann retold to me from her youth. I have attempted on two separate occasions to visually capture her story with varying degrees of success. Sometimes Concepts and technique are not equal tools to the task at hand. In those instances, I had high concepts but was still learning techniques, what to do and more importantly what not to do in order to achieve visual success. The Story is Why Are Cardinals Red. More to come on that as I get started with that project.

The second lab assignment is called “Dream Assignment”. This is an opportunity to abandon topics and methods chosen for career advancement in favor of subjects that are personally meaningful. For this one I had three possible projects outlined but in the end chose one that I am curious on how I will provide solutions. It is called Cryptic Strays. A collection of unusual events told to me by the individuals that experienced them first hand. I have attempted to work this project in the past with some degrees of success and admittedly some degrees of failure. But that is where learning come from. I must show up with a ten minute powerpoint presentation on my assignment and a one page summery for the faculty to keep. As of this writing I believe I have both the powerpoint and one page summery designed and created. If I needed to turn both on today, I would do so without fear. Given that i have a couple of weeks left, I may go back and tweak things as I review with fresh eyes. We shall see what comes forward. I am confident with what I have built so far. I am curious how others are progressing and am excited to see their proposals.

As always, thanks tor stopping by. -db

Pre preparation for my MFA in Illustration

Thirty Years after my undergraduate degree, I decided to go back to school. A series of events alined, some by my design, others completely beyond my control. After retiring from my former position and day job, I decided to take the opportunity to devote my time to bettering my artwork. A ten month exploration in self education began in May of 2018. I began working in earnest, mostly through research of Master Illustrators and Artists, studying compositions, color, visual story telling styles, and technique; what I liked, why I liked it. If I couldn’t understand and intelligently explain or express my thoughts on a particular image, they went into a folder for future discovery. (Note: I learned to do that with my own artwork. If I got totally stuck and couldn’t figure out how to solve a problem, It went into the closet until I had learned how to provide a solution.)

That time spent in self study also included a trip to the east coast to visit some amazing museums and study the works of Charles Dana Gibson, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Howard Pyle, the works of Leo and Diane Dillon, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, and many others as I and a dear friend toured the Delaware Art Museum, the Brandywine River Museum, The Eric Carle Children’s Book Illustration Museum, R.Michelson Gallery, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and the National Museum of American Illustration. This research trip drove my inspiration to new levels, providing fuel for a body of work that I am proud to call my own.

At the end of 2018, I started to research MFA degree programs. I was searching for a program that would allow me to continue to work and maintain my home base. I found that the University of Hartford met my needs quite nicely. The driving decision was however the faculty, led by Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame member Christopher Fox Payne.

So I am now three weeks away from beginning a two year journey of exploration, study, and drawing on a level that i have not experienced for quite some time. I am excited, hopeful, and nervous. I remind myself to just keep moving forward and do my best. Some days my best will be good enough, some days my best will present me with opportunities to learn what not to do next time. So I invite you to stop back, and follow my adventures as I begin this new path in my career and my life. I hope that you find this enjoyable, and as always, I thank you for stopping by.

Sincerely,

-db