Thursday, April 9, 2009

Columbus College of Art and Design

Columbus College of Art and Design, better known as CCAD, occupies several quiet blocks behind the city art museum in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Jeanette and I pulled up in Trusty Rusty, right beneath the famous “ART” arch.

The school offers four-year major programs in many art and design fields, but we visited mainly with people from the illustration department.

The school has a world-famous faculty. Chris (C. F.) Payne, who heads the illustration department is one of America’s most celebrated contemporary illustrators, known for his gentle humor and dead-on characterization.

He recently painted the portrait of Barack Obama for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue.

He posed while I did a quick portrait demo in water-soluble colored pencils.

Mark Hazelrig teaches three dimensional illustration. He showed us his latex bust of a female satyr, which he described as a cross between Uma Thurman, LeAnne Rimes, and a sheep. She has cast resin horns, glass eyes, and a light beard, applied one hair at a time.

If male satyrs knew about her, they would never have bothered with nymphs!

CCAD has all the classes you’d expect on color theory, figure drawing, composition, digital techniques and concepts in illustration. Some courses allow them to draw from costumed models, sketch at the zoo, and design comics.

Mark Sullivan
(second from right below) is a multitalented alumnus of CCAD and visiting lecturer. He is an Oscar-nominated matte painter for Lucasfilm and Imagemovers who made the transition from his traditionally painted mattes (Bugsy) to digital work on Polar Express and the upcoming Christmas Carol.

He also has a love for traditional stop motion effects. He is in the process of creating this Dimetrodon model out of foam-rubber over a jointed metal armature.

Stewart McKissick (at right in the photo above) also teaches illustration. He’s constantly updating the curriculum to make it relevant to the changing market, and to reflect the growing interest in CG animation, visual effects, character design, and conceptual design for movies and video games.

“Kids want to swim in the pop culture soup they grew up in,” he said.

What struck me about CCAD was that the whole school seems serious about keeping up with the evolving art world as well as staying rooted in the basic skills of drawing and painting—all the while having fun doing it.
Home Website for CCAD, link.
Thanks, Stewart for a bunch of those photos, since my camera died!


Kristi Valiant said...

I graduated from CCAD in 2000 and so I recognize some of the teachers in your pics. It was a wonderful education.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great program -- with the best of old and new. I'm jealous of the students!

Definitely sounds like a school I'd recommend.

Erik Bongers said...

Funny. The first thing I thought when looking at this post was : hey, C. F. Payne lost some weight...

Honest! I have a picture of him in an issue of Illustration'05.

I bought that issue solely for the article on Payne, of whom I'd never heard before.
I still frequently look at his portrait of Andrew Wyeth that is printed full page in the magazine. In fact, it's right beside me as I'm writing this comment.

Erik Bongers said...

Just saw the Obama portrait.
If C.F. Payne would happen to read this blog, I have a question for him.

So, the art director for Time magazine called you to ask you if you could do the Obama portrait. As this happened, you were sitting outdoors enjoying a cup of coffee in the gentle winter sun.
After the conversation you put down the phone and calmly picked up your cup of coffee again. In a tree nearby a winter bird was singing his song.

My question. Did the coffee tremble a bit?

Daroo said...

Hey Jim it was great meeting in person again.

Thanks for the entertaining lecture/ slide show and for signing my books (my kids were impressed and loved the drawings).

The demo was great -- I couldn't stay for all of it but it was really fun to see you draw -- and talk at the same time -- that's really impressive. (If I'm drawing well I can't string two words together verbally -- must be some corpus callosum deficiency.)

And speaking of drawing well, I assumed you just picked the most choice drawings from your sketchbook to post on the blog -- but I was amazed as you flipped through the sketchbook -- page after page of well observed gems (the pages even had their own inherently interesting layout design)!

The Derwent sketchbook is not a watercolor book correct? The pages didn't seem to buckle so it must be heavier stock?

Did you ever get to stop by the Butler in Youngstown?

Anonymous said...

My School too. back in the 90's:)
Payne had a course you could take there while I attended. I had many fun years practicing his technique.

Super Villain said...

wow, one of your best portraits yet! i dont know how you do it. making a portrait of a great artist while being infront of a class full of proably a lot of other really good young artists. i would be so intimidated by the entire situation i wouldnt be able to function....the force is strong with you mr gurney....

James Gurney said...

Daroo, it was great to see you in Ohio and to meet Joe S. and other blog readers. Thanks for the nice words.

Eric, the only reason I wasn't nervous or intimidated was that everyone was very understanding and patient with my efforts. I didn't get a very good likeness because I rushed the layin a bit. Chris P. was an incredibly nice host and very down-to-earth.

Daroo, the Derwent sketchbook is a very smooth white drawing paper. It is quite heavy weight and will take washes pretty well. As Joe pointed out earlier, the Moleskine drawing books are an off-white yellowish ivory tone, and there's some surface that makes washes bead up.

Yes, we did make it to the Butler Museum in Youngstown. Besides their great permanent collection we were impressed by a special Andrew Wyeth show, plus a lot of fine head studies of Native Americans by Elber Burbank.

Unknown said...

There is a moleskine with watercolor paper in it, though, right?

James Gurney said...

Yes, if you want to do watercolor, the Moleskine watercolor book is the way to go.

Raluca said...

And to add:HAPPY EASTER for you and all dear to you and thanks for all the inspiration you give!!

Jennifer G. Oliver said...

Mark Hazlerig's class was one of my favorites at CCAD! I attended in the late '80's, before CG was a factor in film making. I wish that Chris Payne had been there back then; his work is amazing! And how we would have loved to have had a lecturer like you! It was a great education regardless. I would highly recommend CCAD to any aspiring illustrator, animator or designer.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

scott said...

My wife went to CCAD. We visited a couple of years ago for an animation symposium and I was awed by the quality of the work just hanging on the walls. Incredible stuff!