bugs and birds over and over

Posted by on Feb 23, 2009 in Maine College of Art, Nest Nook & Cranny | 4 comments

Funny how my radar seems to pick up coincidental stuff. As I wrap up my project for Charlesbridge, I keep coming across parallels to my assignment. Just as I was drawing the egg for the jacket, Elena brought us fresh ones from her backyard chickens.

I had to revise a beehive for one of the interior spreads. I made this one by inverting a single drawing, distorting it and repeating it.

Then I went to the Gem Gallery exhibit, Think Pink, Give Love, and saw this assemblage by Carol Cartier.

I also love this contraption by Tim Nihoff, a collector of broken tail-lights and consummate recycler.

Then I got ready to substitute in Illustration 2 at MECA for Mary Anne Lloyd. During the recent valentine fest at my house, she made this ditty.

And so what’s the assignment they are working on? Bugs and Birds!!! Each student has chosen a bug or bird and must create 8 versions in various media, such as a black cut-paper silhouette, a collage, a portrait, in habitat, in scale, as a mechanism, etc. All of them done in a limited palette of 4 colors. It’s a great exercise in getting to know a subject while exploring different approaches. True to form, not all students were crazy about the assignment, or into each of the requirements. Perfect! This is precisely the kind of resistance that illustrators so often face with client demands. And it’s an opportunity to find a way around, or through, the specification that can be a turn on. Easier said than done.

Since this is mostly the same group I had in Illustration 1 last semester, I brought in the deck of cards I had printed from their final assignment. Each student crafted a 3D character and provided character info for the back. The collection of cards is a way for students to see their work published, as part of a larger context, as an example of promotion, visibility, and communication.

There were 24 cards to sort.

Coincidentally, wings on the cover. The cover drawings came from a drawing session in which students posed for each other. I had brought in some black wings. These three are Sheridan, always willing to model. I love the variety. Top right: Alysa Avery, on left, Olli Percival, bottom right, Liz Hardy.

And here’s a winged creature by Elaine Smart.

Her name: Francesca. She is “the stupidest demon the devil ever made. Gender is questionable.”

Most of the students used Super Sculpey, some used cardboard, felt, or broken Barbie dolls. Never a dull moment with illustration students. After handing out the cards in Mary Anne’s class, I circulated among the students and saw their progress on the bugs and birds project. Again, I love the surprising variety.

Lori Stebbins chose a praying mantis, with exquisite results.

Sheridan Cudworth was ambivalent about the whole thing. Her choice says it all: an albatross. There is a deadpan nature to her drawings that is oddly humorous.

Abbeth Russell is a new student who chose an unlikely subject: the mosquito! I loved her quirky line and palette choice. Every piece made me itch.

Nate Plourde wants to be a sculpture major, but with illustrative tendencies.
He began crafting a powerful cardinal from cardboard.

I’m happy the 3 dimensional impulse is alive and well. I saw more evidence when I dropped into the majors studio. This is Dani Evans’ signature creature.

I encountered a bit of profane levity in the studio, perhaps a symptom of senior slump, same day as the exhibit forms for the thesis show were due.

And then it was back to my assignment: revising the egg. A little pastel shading and voila.

So, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

4 Comments

  1. Hope you’re feeling better. I really enjoy your musings; makes me bend my mind around the corner to see things differently.

    Rob

  2. It’s fun to see what the sophomores are doing, especially since they’ll be joining me and the other three juniors next year! I’m glad there’s a bigger lot of them and that they all use different media! Exciting!

    It’s funny how coincidental your week and work has been! Nature is all around us after all.

    Since you sent me that e-mail about Jenny Hart, I have tested a sample piece using her style of embroidery [she does more of a chain, whereas I do the x’s], and I like it! So thank you again, for the website and inspiration!

  3. Jamie,

    This egg is stunning. You are so talented. And I so enjoyed my tour of the King bus through your eyes.

    Kirby

  4. Jamie, I love you and looking at the blog this morning was such a great way to start my day and charge the creative batteries!! Visiting you, Daisy and Marty (Posey too) was such a wonderful, amazing visit that it didn’t matter what happened next. It was all good ’cause some of the fairy dust is still stuck to me (haven’t showered in 2 weeks!).

    xo Kathy

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