We spent our first day at Illustration Master Class yesterday. It's a week-long workshop in Amherst, Massachusetts, where about 85 students work with a small group of instructors as they create a fantasy painting or sculpture.
Among the featured guests this year are Brian and Wendy Froud from England. The book Faeries that Brian did with Alan Lee in 1978 was a huge inspiration for Dinotopia, so it was a treat to meet him. Photo courtesy of Renae Taylor.
He designed the Jim Henson movie "The Dark Crystal," where he met his wife Wendy, a puppet/doll maker. She brought along some of her art dolls, including the one I'm holding, which is an affectionate caricature of Brian.
Brian and Wendy recently collaborated on a new book about Trolls, which features the sculpts. They're made from a polymer clay called Fimo Puppen over an aluminum wire armature wrapped in masking tape. They're very delicately painted with transparent colors to achieve depth to the skin tones.
In their focus group, the Frouds are working with a small group of students. Those working with Brian painted washes of watercolor tone into a sketchbook, and then magically pulled out the faces and figures suggested by the chance arrangements. Other students worked primarily with Wendy, building small figures under her guidance.