Friday, July 24, 2009

07/24/09 - July CCG Meeting/Workshop and Sal Villagran

Just in case some of you don't know the CCG has monthly meeting/workshops. These are typically the last Sunday of each month and usually are held at a Lexington Public Library Branch between 1:30 and 4:30pm. The link in the right navigation bar for the CCG Calendar has the most current information about where, when and who will be at the next meeting.

This coming Sunday, I am excited to tell, we will host a guest speaker: Sal Villagran. Following is brief listing of his accomplishments as an artist:
Sal will give a brief talk about his working process for commercial illustration art, specifically his recent pieces for Wizards of the Coast Magic Cards. I am sure many of you will find this of particular interest and value.

A little more about our meeting/workshop format.
  • The first segment - the meeting - has the usual announcements of upcoming events, guest speakers, recent events of interest that someone attended and reports on, group business and planning.
  • Then we have a break (sometimes with some light refreshments) and next we are on to - the workshop portion. Here we can do round table reviews of new work that has been brought in. Constructive criticism is the goal here - input that is of benefit for the cartoonist. This is one of the primary benefits of meeting with other comic creators and is a good way to promote learning and growth. We will often have some creative exercises and or a jam comic. Jam comics are a group effort with one person starting the page with a title or the opening panel and passing it on to someone else in the exercise. This continues until the page is full and hopefully comes to some sort of (usually humorous) ending. We are currently reviewing two "structured curriculum" to include either as a regular part of the monthly CCG meeting/workshop or possibly as break off meetings. The two programs we are looking at are the Famous Artists Cartooning Course (FAS CC) and Drawing Words & Writing Pictures (DW&WP) by Matt Madden and Jessica Abel. Both are excellent resources (and I know I will continue to use both to advance my personal learning).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

07/23/09 - Mazza Conference and James Gurney

Last week I was able to attend the Mazza Museum's Summer Conference last week for one day. The Mazza Museum is a teaching museum for picture books located in Findlay, OH on the campus of Findlay University. The five-day event was their 17th annual summer conference with a mixture of professional authors, illustrators, teachers and librarians in attendance. This is is a similar institution in purpose to the Cartoon Library & Musuem at OSU.

The way I discovered this event was through reading James Gurney's excellent blog GurneyJourney and seeing that he was going to be making a speaking engagement fairly close to home (about 4.5 hours away).

If I appear dazed in the picture below, it may be from lack of sleep from the night before! That week my family and I were on the way home from a summer trip to the northeast so we were coming from CT the day before. We arrived at our hotel in Findlay around 2:30AM but I was able to arise and attend the 9:00 AM keynote speech on Wednesday July 15th. James gave an excellent presentation detailing his growth as an artist, researcher and author (the Dinotopia series being the most notable). Come October look for his new art instruction book: "Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist".

Later he led a pull out session where he showed his sketchbooks and demonstrated the use of water soluble pencils for field sketching. He closed with a short question and answer session.

It was a pleasure to meet this kind and gracious man and his lovely wife Jeanette. James is a truly gifted and skilled artist. But I think he is just as significant as an arts educator. He shares an incredible amount of knowledge he has learned over the years on his aforementioned blog. He is able to show the nexus of science and art: through his work biology, history, anthropology, optics, are integrated with architecture, illustration, oil painting and sculpture. Please let me know if you would like to help advocate for James Gurney to come and visit our area. He makes numerous appearances each year, around the nation and internationally, speaking primarily at private art colleges.