Saturday, September 26, 2009

Check out Joel!

Our lovely illustration professor was recently featured in Memphis Crossroads Magazine's arts issue as one of Memphis's Top Twenty Untapped Artists. You can check out the magazine online in PDF format by clicking here. Also featured are MCA Professor Cynthia Thompson and student Tommy Kha.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quentin Blake

Here's a swell video of Quentin Blake talking about his process and the purpose of children's picture books. It's always nice to hear a master of a craft discussing their own work, and it's even better when you can see them working.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ben Shahn's Allegory

I should have posted this a couple weeks ago, when I asked the Illustration 5 & 6 students to read "Biography of a Painting" from Shahn's excellent book, The Shape of Content. Here's an image of the painting that is the subject of that article:
Nice, eh?

While I'm on the subject, here's an interesting page that shows Shahn's use of photo-references, which might be of interest to the Illustration 1 classes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Portfolio Day

NPDA Broadside Competition groups are out! They are as follows: (designer / photographer / illustrator)

Alison Castle / Rumi Schultz / Matt Ryan & Josh Duncan
Gina Davis / Megan Snider & Khalifa West / Kayla Cline
Andrew Lebowitz / Michael Peery & Trinity Poole / Michael Vinson
Juliana Lynch / Katie Massey / Devin Taylor
Madison McElroy / Melinda Topilko / Lauren Rae Holtermann & Marie Lauver
Kassey Pass / Natalie Hoffmann / Paul Holiday
Kevin Reuter / Brian Wittmus / Alex Barton
Meredith Shields / Tommy Kha / Marie Provence
Ryan Stewart / Alecia Walls & Maggie Russell / Elliot Boyette
Samantha Taggart / Anna Hollis & Jordan Hood / Rory Ann Austin

In the Mail

For all the glories of electronic communication, there's still nothing like a great postcard to bring your work to the attention of an art director or client. Illustration Promotions is a site that collects these postcards for your enjoyment and edification. There will probably be a lot of promotional postcards in your future, so it's worth developing ideas for them, now.

Wild Things, Influenced

Given the affectionate interest expressed in a certain forthcoming movie, I thought this blog might be of interest.
In October 2009 Spike Jonze’s feature film rendition of Maurice Sendak’s classic story Where The Wild Things Are will hit movie theaters worldwide. The film represents years of work from hundreds of different artists, writers, photographers, musicians, actors, and creators of all degrees. This place has been established to help shed some light on many of the small influences that have converged to make this massive project a reality.

We Love You So via Drawn!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vintage Tooncast

Source of inspiration or procrastination? You make the call. Lots and lots of great old cartoons ripe for the viewing at Vintage Tooncast.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Illustration Annual 2010!

Well, kids, it's that time again. Time for the ol' 2010 Communication Arts Illustration Competition submissions! Just what does this sharky image have to do with Communication Arts magazine? Furthermore, what does it have to do with me? (By "me" I mean "you") This sharky image happens to be the work of Frank Stockton, a fantastic illustrator living and working in New York. He created the illustration on the cover of the 2009 Illustratin Annual. He's so good he'll make you want to quit. Just don't. There's an interesting interview here at Check him out! And check out as well! They have lots of great guest illustrators/writers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Berke Breathed on Comics

I was recently reading my copy of Bloom County 1986-1989 and found this-- Thought it might be appropriate to post.

[ click to embiggen ]

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rhonda Forever

This is a pretty cool video demonstration Rhonda Forever, a 3D Drawing software developed by Amir Pitaru in 2003.

Amir PitaruPitaru is a classically trained musician but makes really badass digital art with his own custom programs. The coolest part is, he has no formal computer programming training; he's completely self-taught. The Design Museum website says he strives to create interactive animations with the same fluency as music, which is pretty obvious once you take a look at his stuff. This one is call "Geisha", also made with another custom software. You can check out more of his work at

James PatersonThe hands & drawings in the video belong to James Paterson (no, not the guy that writes those paperback novels my mom reads), another self-taught software geek. So the interwebz say, the two of them met at a conference in London, then realizing they lived on the same street in Brooklyn, and started collaborating. His stuff is a little more my taste than Pitaru's; kindof purposely rough figural line drawings. He likes to use the computer "like a sketchbook". He's has a few creative outlets on the web but I like most.

BONUS: If you visit the site, there is a field at the bottom of the page to sign up to be a tester. They'll e-mail you a password to download the prototype to play around with. I already got mine!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Speaking of Tibet...

While we have the amazing privilege of seeing the Drepung Loseling monks create a sand mandala in the middle of our gallery, here's some related eye and brain candy:

Peter Sis
Sis is a creator of brilliant children's books, including Tibet: Through The Red Box. This guy won a MacArthur Fellowship—the so-called "Genius Grants"—and it's pretty clear why. He combines media in amazing ways, and takes very complex subjects and crafts brief, clear narratives from them without losing that complexity.

Amazon has a nice blurb on Tibet: Through The Red Box:
As a child in 1950s Czechoslovakia, Caldecott Honor-winning artist Peter Sís would listen to mysterious tales of Tibet, "the roof of the world." The narrator, oddly enough, was his father--a documentary filmmaker who had been separated from his crew, caught in a blizzard, and (according to him, anyway) nursed back to health by gentle Yetis. Young Sís learned of a beautiful land of miracles and monks beset by a hostile China; of the 14th Dalai Lama, a "Boy-God-King"; and of "a magic palace with a thousand rooms--a room for every emotion and heart's desire." Hearing these accounts--some extravagant but all moving--helped the boy recover from an accident. The stories also allowed Sís's father to relate an odyssey other adults didn't seem to want to know about in cold war Czechoslovakia. "He told me, over and over again, his magical stories of Tibet, for that is where he had been. And I believed everything he said," Sís recalls. Still, after some time he too seemed to become immune, and the stories "faded to a hazy dream." With Tibet: Through the Red Box Sís finally pays tribute to this fantastical experience, illustrating key pages from his father's diary with complex, color-rich images of mazes, mountains, and mandalas. He also produces pictures of his family at home--simple, monochromatic images that are just as haunting as their Himalayan counterparts. In one, a wistful mother and two children gather around a Christmas tree, the absent father appearing as a featureless silhouette. Tibet is a treasure for the eyes and heart. Some will ask: Is it for children or adults? Others will wonder: Is it a work of art or a storybook? One of the many things that this book makes us realize is that such classifications are entirely (and happily) unnecessary.
--Kerry Fried

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Concession Safari Queen

Need a little randomization to kick start the creative process? Try the Brainstormer.

You can read about the creation of this nifty little web gadget here, on Andrew Bosley's blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jillian Tamaki on Generating Ideas

Jillian Tamaki posted on her sketchblog some thoughts on developing Illustration concepts. It's worth a read.
Plunking yourself down in front of a pad of paper and scraping the inside of your brain is probably not the most effective way of generating ideas. If we only draw upon the images that already exist within our heads, or our own memories and experiences, we are actually quite limited.