Monday, January 20, 2014

Developing a style

I am taking an on-line class called "Year of the Fairy Tale" with Carla Sondheim.  (There is a link to click to on to learn more about it over there on the right.)
I just finished the first lesson, and already I am so inspired and motivated, realizing that my drawing process can be much stronger and intentional.
I often sketch in my journal, and am almost never happy with what I draw.
I usually just start drawing right in my book, expecting my brain to pop out something perfect, then I am sad when I ruin the page with a drawing I don't like.  

Carla is taking us step by step through a process of how you develop an illustration style.  Her very first lesson already showed me things I never considered doing (and I have years of drawing training as part of my art degree): using sketching from photos on the internet to discover a face style, drawing first with your non-dominant hand to loosen up, doodling the face over and over to sort of crystallize what about that face is interesting, repeating that style until your inner eye knows what details it wants to focus on.  Her process helped me find a face I love to draw.  Repeating something over and over helps solidify what is important about the face.  Using throw away sketch paper, also, helps to not be so precious about results.  Something I had sort of forgotten in my journaling process.

Here are the three phases of finding a face to draw:
and in the same lesson, we worked finding a frog style - first just by sketching, and then exaggerating a feature we like.  In just a few sketches, I came up with a frog.  I couldn't resist adding some collage texture to my favorite sketch (Sorry, Carla, I am getting ahead of myself but I couldn't resist):
Her teaching style is so calming, and encouraging.
and did you guess that the first fairy tale she is using to teach us is "The Frog Princess"?

Another assignment is for us to go to the library and look at great illustrations, make notes of what we love.  Such a simple thing, yet something I don't ever do.

I am so happy to be in this class, as a teacher I rarely take classes these days.  I think that needs to change.  Inspiring teachers are such gifts, I am so looking forward to this year of learning from Carla.

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”  
-- Bertolt Brecht

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