Life as an illustrator is about juggling numerous assignments and having excellent time management. There will be both large and small assignments for this class, but I expect the same amount of rigor to be applied to both. Absolutely everything you present to me in this class should be your very best work. Sketches, when submitted, should be coherent, neat, and professionally presented.
Unlike the professional world, you will be limited to black and white mediums in this class. Each smaller assignment that I give out is an opportunity for personal innovation and growth. I expect your very best work each week – professional presentation is key. Much like any professional simulation, you will receive each smaller assignment the week it is assigned rather than in advance. It is imperative that you do not miss any deadlines. In this class, any assignment with a missed deadline will drop a letter grade. In the real world, the consequences are far worse – you can torpedo your own career. Each assignment you receive is a chance to foster a good relationship with a client, and thus eat and keep a roof over your head.
There will essentially be two major assignments:
Drawing Vocabulary: Our largest assignment, as we will be working on this throughout the semester. Each week, you will be issued a specific challenge to be completed for the following class, a total of ten times. These will always in some way relate to what we’re doing in class – working with a specific type of line, or value, and so on. Subjects will vary, from simple studies of people, animals, objects or places to conceptual problems. The goal is to push you to figure out not only how to draw all of them better, but to figure out how to draw them for yourself at all. Don’t just draw me, say, a fox – draw me a fox YOUR way. What I want most is for you to play and experiment and try to think outside of the box. As such, presentation is key. No matter how small the drawing is, think carefully of the materials you use, and pay attention to specific materials requirements each week. I want you to play, but your grade will suffer if you bring in tiny smudgy drawings on computer paper. I want to be able to look at each drawing and understand that you were thinking carefully about all of your marks.
Narrative Environment/World Building: Illustration has the power to communicate using people and places that don’t exist in real life. Environments in particular can be created out of thin air that stretch the boundaries of the viewer’s imagination. That said, one of the most frequently issued complaints I’ve heard art directors issue about student illustration work is that they see many young illustrators with portfolios full of stiff figures without notable environments. I want you to make a drawing where you tell a story without using any figures at all. You can tell some pretty amazing stories using subtler narrative devices. This is a great opportunity to show your understanding of space, detail, and perspective. Further, I want you to take me somewhere that does not exist in the real world. I want you to use all the rendering powers at your disposal – all of your powers as a draftsman – to make me believe that this place exists. This will be a large drawing, on 20 x 30 paper, and you will have a good deal of the semester to complete it in.