Watercolor Workshop Class at RISD-CE, 2017Read More
Every time I teach The Book Dummy, I am amazed to find another group of creative, talented, and driven students ready to put their ideas into words and art, and create a prototype for a children's book. This year we had stories from a classic Thumbelina, re-written, through a non-fiction book about the moon, and it's importance to earth.
Each student took their story from written word (edited more times than you can imagine) through storyboarding, character development, one finished spread (sketch, color studies, finish), full size sketches, cover letter, client search, and all the way to constructing a finished dummy.
I was blessed to share this creation process with these talented women.
We had a lovely break between snowstorms at RISD for a Weekend Watercolor Intensive Workshop. I had my first class in the newly renovated ISB (Illustration Studies Building), and found the quarters to be quite nice.
Eleven students gathered for two full days to learn about and practice using watercolor paints. Their experience ranged from "haven't touched watercolors since 3rd grade" to an illustration major who graduated from Savannah College of Art.
On Saturday we did hands-on exercises to learn to handle different brushes, talked about properties of different colors and papers, watched presentations of step by step techniques for layering and laying washes, and more. On Sunday, each student brought in a personal project (or 2 or 3) to work on.
As always, it was an absolute pleasure to spend the weekend with these talented and motivated students!
"The Book Dummy" is a RISD continuing education class where students prepare a rough mock-up for a picture book, known in the trade as a "book dummy." They spend 12 weeks creating words and images that work together to tell stories. In order to do this, students:
Last Tuesday, we celebrated a semester of hard work with food, music, and readings, and guests. Each student read their book, which they had created and honed during the previous 12 weeks.
The process begins with the words. Texts are read, reviewed, edited and refined. This process continues throughout the entire class. Each word counts!
Storyboarding is a huge part of the process, with much work to be done on pacing, design, and text integration.
- write and hone the text (some folks bring in texts written by other authors)
- learn how to design the page and integrate text through a storyboard
- do character development, color planning, more detailed sketches, and one finished illustration
- compile their sketches and finished art into a book form
They do full size sketches for one completed finish, and color studies. Marketing skills are covered as well.
Next, students spend time developing their characters.
Roya and her husband worked together on a traditional Asian folktale, "The Dragon's Daughter." Roya did almost all of the finished art, well beyond the requirements of the class. This piece, which she had completed before the class began, has already won several awards, including the Los Angeles Society of Illustrator's Gold Award.
Manette's book was based on a song by Cheryl Wheeler, a singer-songwriter of contemporary folk music who has recorded over 13 albums and tours extensively. We had quite the treat when Cheryl brought her ukulele and sang her song, "My Inflatable Plane."
Thanks so much, Cheryl!!!!
And thanks to all of my students for working so hard, and bringing so much creative juice to class each week!
It's hard to think of something that's more fun than spending a weekend with motivated, talented students who want to learn new stuff!
Last weekend was one of those good times, with a roomful of folks ready to learn watercolor techniques, beginning on Saturday morning with simple exercises, like using a round or a flat brush, and spending the afternoon doing more complex techniques, such as laying washes and using frisket.
On Sunday, each participant put their new skills to use and did a painting or two of their own choice.
Thanks to all of you for making my weekend so much fun! (I invited student to send me jpegs of paintings that they finish up out of class, so maybe I'll have more to post later!)
I had a grand time with 13 fabulous students last weekend. They were all ready to spend a weekend learning more about watercolor. After a full day of exercises on Saturday, they painted their own pieces on Sunday. Here is one of the student paintings, a class portrait.
Below are pictures of most of the students, with their work in progress.
Susan and Whitney came for some artistic mom-daughter together time.
The students had a wide range of backgrounds... from total beginners, to people who had some experience with watercolor but wanted to learn more, to experienced artists who were looking to learn another media.
Ben (how did I miss getting a picture of Ben!) drove up from DC for the weekend. He experimented with wet-on-wet and Yupo paper, and Miyoung created textured backgrounds with salt. Anne did a floral still life from a blooming kalanchoe. Lois worked on letterforms with delicate colors that she later planned to layer, overpaint, and even stitch into art pieces.
Several of the students enjoyed Waterfires after class on Saturday evening.
We had a photographer spend a few hours with us, so pictures of the class will probably show up in future RISD CE catalogs.
Thanks to all of the students for your creativity and enthusiasm! It was an exciting and fun weekend for me!