Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Black & White Illustration

IL 4X0-01 Black and White Illustration, Wednesdays 9am-1pm in Room 912
Mister Reusch, office T625
Office Hours:
Tuesdays 5:30pm-6pm, and during class break (7:30pm-8pm)
Wednesdays 8:30-9am, and during class break (10:30-11am)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Welcome to Black & White Illustration! In this class students will experiment with methods and materials used to create striking black and white illustrations (ink with brush, dip pen, washes, and eye-dropper; stipple with technical pen; acrylic and gouache painting; blockprints; scratchboard). Each week will feature live tutorial of new media and techniques, followed by student participation in class; homework will be illustration assignments designed to showcase each new technique’s specific strengths with classroom critiques of homework beginning each class. I will present examples by successful working illustrators, have guest lecturers show the class their work, and will offer advice to better prepare students for successful careers in the illustration world.

PLEASE REMEMBER: The point of this class is to demonstrate unique qualities of several black and white media. Homework assignments are limited to the medium we're covering that week ONLY. For example, if we're doing an acrylic paint assignment, students may use ONLY acrylics, NOT acrylic paint with pen and ink detail. Homework assignments that are completed using mixed-media get no credit and must be re-done. NO EXCEPTIONS! If, for example, you really want to add pen and ink detail to an acrylic piece, wait until all work has been completed and graded at the end of semester before doing so.

ABSENCE POLICY: Students can miss no more than 2 classes or they get no credit for the class. Students are required to arrive for class no later than 9:15. 2 late arrivals equal one absence. Students must email instructor ahead of time if they know they’ll be absent, or immediately after an absence:

Mark.Reusch@massart.edu

Grading Policy: Professionalism in the Illustration business is an absolute MUST, so make sure you are on time and ready for class every week! Attendance, completion of classwork and homework that shows progressive skill-building, and class participation all count towards your grade. Homework turned in late will be penalized one full-grade each week it is late. Students in the Communication Design department must maintain a C+ or better average for each of the department's classes, and end of semester reviews determine whether or not students are allowed to continue within the department.

*GRADING: A=Very Good Work, B=Good Work, C=Average Work, D=Below Average Work, F=Fail



MATERIALS:
Pencils: Range of lead weights, from soft 6B to hard H
Erasers: Magic Rub white eraser
Pad of 2-ply Bristol board no smaller than 11” x 14”
Ink: Waterproof Black India; I recommend Speedball Super Black, though the Black Magic brand is good
Pens: Crowquill Pen holder with various tips; sets for Sketching or Comics are fine
Brushes: A range of Sable or synthetic rounds, from size 00 to size 6; a large Wash brush
One tube of White Gouache
Masking Fluid: Grumbacher "Miskit" 1.2 fluid ounce bottle is good
Sponges
Technical Pens: re-fillable Rapidograph Pens, a range from .000 to 6, or Micron pens
One tube of Mars Black Acrylic paint
One tube of Titanium White Acrylic paint
One bottle of Matte or Gloss Medium
Gesso
At least one pre-stretched canvas, 16" x 20" or bigger
Chips of cardboard or old credit cards
One linoleum block
Cutting tools for linoleum
One tube of black blockprinting ink
One small printmaking roller
Brayer or large wooden spoon
One piece of scratchboard
Scratch tools
Roll of paper towels or napkins: cheaper brands without strong pattern/ texture are best
Plastic tupperware containers for water
Sketchbook: 100-page, preferably 9" x 12" minimum size
Metal ruler, 18" minimum

PROCESS:
Students are required to adhere to this illustration process for the class.

1. Concept phase: When given an idea, begin to brainstorm, doodle, make mind-maps, make lists. Search your memory for similar images you’ve already seen so that you don’t imitate them, and strive to avoid clich├ęs. Often your 20th idea will be much stronger than your first few ideas.

2. Thumbnail sketch phase: make loose, messy, gestural, drawings about 2” square, and begin to figure out your composition, lights, darks, and middle values. Make at least 10 thumbnail sketches per project.

3. Sketch phase: enlarge your chosen thumbnail sketches to the size your final piece will be with a copier or scanner and printer. If there’s something in the thumbnails you really want to maintain, DON’T try to redraw it by eye and hand alone. You will be frustrated, so just use the technology available and make your life easier. If reference is needed, now’s the time to find it to make your drawing stronger/ more believable. Use reference as a useful tool but don’t rely on it. Clarify, erase unnecessary lines, tighten up composition, correct anatomy and perspective that looks off. Make sure both of your final sketch ideas are equally strong so you’re not disappointed if your favorite one isn’t picked! It happens all the time.

4. Revised sketch phase- almost there! Often a client will request slight changes at this phase.

5. Color comp: Sometimes requested by clients, it’s a smart move to do for yourself even if they don’t ask for it. With Photoshop or watercolors on Xerox copies, drop in the colors you plan on using to see how they look. A color wheel is very useful in helping determine what looks good together. Sometimes illustrators do 3 or 4 color comps before deciding on the colors.

6. Final art phase: You’ve done all the necessary steps, so now this is the easy part. Again, DON’T try to redraw your approved sketch by eye and hand alone. You will be frustrated (and so will be the art director!) so just use the technology available and make your life easier. Use a lightbox to trace your approved sketch onto final piece of paper, or use the light from a window to trace. Carbon paper is also useful, especially for transferring your linework onto canvas.

SYLLABUS for IL 4X0-01 Black and White Illustration:

*Wednesday January 20: Class will begin with simple black ink with brush techniques; the work of artists Ben Shahn, Mike Mignola, Bruce Timm, Bill Watterson, Al Columbia, and Frank Miller will be presented to the class as examples of stark, powerful, elegant black and white brushwork to illustrate movement and energy. Illustration process will be introduced as effective, time-saving method: quick thumbnail sketches for ideas, composition, and placement of darks and lights; enlarging desired rough sketches to scale via scanner or Xerox machine; final sketches for client approval; transfer of approved sketch onto 2-ply Bristol; final art inked.

Homework will be to create at least 10 thumbnails and 2 finished pencil sketches of a minimalist illustration showing an example of "ASCENT". The illustration should show strong, energetic movement involving at least one person or animal ascending, using only solid black India ink and brush on Bristol board. This picture can be humorous, or serious, as long as the viewer clearly sees "Ascent" in the final art. Less is more here; this is an exercise to see what you can get away with using minimal brushstrokes of solid black (no grays, no washes, no detailed backgrounds, no cross-hatching/ bracelet shading/ stipple, etc.) to show movement. Have fun!

*Wednesday January 27(Add/ Drop Deadline): Critique of homework sketches. Class will next study the addition of washes and grays to create illustrations with more subtlety, mood, and depth, as well as the technique of drawing with the eye-dropper tool and blotting. Class will be shown the work of Arnold Lobel, Charles Addams, Lynd Ward, Yoshisuke Kurosaki, as well as the instructor’s series of ink wash drawings for Burton Snowboards. Homework will be to finish the “Ascent” ink and brush assignment, and create 10 thumbnails and 2 finished sketches for a 7” x 10” ink and gouache editorial illustration. The editorial assignment will be based on a January 28th newspaper story.

*Wednesday February 3rd: Critique of “Ascent” homework assignment, and editorial sketches. Class will next study pen and ink and shading techniques (feathering, crosshatching, bracelet shading, etc.) to create depth without use of washes or painted grays. Instructor will present examples of artists Edward Gorey, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Nino, Nestor Redondo, Maurice Sendak, Virgil Finlay, Trina Schart Hyman, Richard Sala, Matt Smith, and more. Possible live lecture by Matt Smith. Homework will be to finish the 7” x 10” ink and gouache editorial illustration, and create 10 thumbnails and 2 finished sketch for a 9” x 12” children’s book pen and ink illustration including a child AND an animal, with a clear light source. Students should build up a full range of value using pen and ink shading techniques, with attention to cast shadows. The subject matter can be from an existing children's book story or an original idea.

*Wednesday February 10th: Critique of “Editorial” ink and gouache assignment, and kids’ book sketches. Homework will be to complete as much of the kids’ book illustration as possible by next class.

*Wednesday February 17th: Critique of pen and ink children’s book illustration-in-progress homework. Class will move on to technical pen illustration, with examples of stipple technique by Virgil Finlay, Pushead, Mike Sutfin, Drew Friedman, Jeff Grader, and more, with demo by instructor. Homework: Students will finish the pen and ink children’s book illustration, and create at least 3 thumbnails and 1 finished sketch of a portrait of someone important to them, using solid blacks and stipple for shading, and incorporate 3 small drawings of people/ places/ events/ animals associated with the portrait subject’s life as design elements. Students should build up a full range of value using stipple with technical pen in the final illustration, but as always, the thumbnails and sketches should be done with pencil.

*Wednesday February 24th: Critique of finished children’s book illustrations, and “Stipple Portrait”- reference photos, thumbnails, and sketches. In-class work: transfer sketch to Bristol and begin to stipple. Homework: keep stippling.

*Wednesday March 3rd: Critique of stipple portraits in progress. In-class work and homework: finish the stipple portrait.

*Wednesday March 10th: NO SCHOOL SPRING BREAK

*Wednesday March 17th: NO SCHOOL

*Wednesday March 24th: Critique of stipple portrait. Class will study acrylics to create looser, more painterly approaches to creating black and white illustrations. Newspaper and magazine illustration will be covered, with work by Jordin Isip, Matt Mahurin, Ashley Wood, and more. Homework: Create at least 10 thumbnails and 2 finished sketches for a “Childhood Memory” painting that will utilize paint’s ability to create hazy, blurry imagery as opposed to hard lines. Students are instructed to vary what will be in focus and what will appear indistinct in their homework illustration to convey the feeling of memory. The most memorable part of the painting will be in the sharpest focus while the less important details will be blurry and indistinct. Final size of painting should be 16" x 20" minimum on canvas or board.

*Wednesday March 31st: Critique of “Childhood Memory” sketches. In class, students will begin brainstorming and creating thumbnail sketches for "Gorilla Unexpected", an illustration for a situation where a gorilla suddenly appears to at least 2 people in a specific setting. In the final illustration, students are free to use any single or mixed media we've covered this semester EXCEPT for the rendering of the actual gorilla, who will be created via linoleum block-print. Total illustration size is 11" x 14" maximum, and maximum size of the block students will carve for the gorilla is 8" x 10" (minimum size for the block is 5" x 7"). Homework: Complete the “Childhood Memory” painting within 4 hours, and do at least 10 thumbnails and two final sketches for "Gorilla Unexpected".

*Wednesday April 7th: Critique of “Gorilla Unexpected” sketches. In-class work will be to keep working on Gorilla.

*Wednesday April 14th: Critique of "Gorilla Unexpected” works-in-progress. Class will study scratchboard techniques, with examples shown by Mark Summers, Dan Blakeslee, and more. (Possible) Live lecture and demonstration by Dan Blakeslee, local black and white scratchboard artist. Homework: continue working on the “Gorilla Unexpected” assignment, and bring in thumbnails and sketches for the scratchboard assignment. Maximum size for scratchboard piece will be 8" x 10", minimum size is 5" x 7".

*Wednesday April 21st: Critique of “Gorilla Unexpected” works-in-progress and scratchboard sketches. In-class work and homework: finish the Gorilla project.

*Wednesday April 28th: Critique of “Gorilla Unexpected”. Homework: finish the scratchboard project.

*Wednesday May 5th: Critique of final projects.

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