Saturday, April 30, 2016

Maquettes and Imagination at Millburn High

Yesterday I visited the advanced-placement art students in Millburn, New Jersey. Under the guidance of teacher and artist Kathleen Harte-Gilsenan, they built maquettes of a variety of creatures. 

When I got there, they lit and shot them and used them to inspire sketches in black and white gouache.

I did a demo in gouache, painting from a dinosaur maquette. I showed them lots of originals, and took them through some case histories of paleoart jobs, all the way from first thumbnail sketches to maquettes and comps to finished oil paintings.

We were lucky to have a surprise guest: Michael Mrak, gouache painter and Design Director for Scientific American. He brought in some originals from his collection, and he talked about visual communication from the perspective of magazine publishing. 

You can watch a brief video clip of these scenes on my Instagram page, Twitter feed, or Facebook page. While you're there, please subscribe to follow my feed.


Celia said...

What an amazing thing to do for these students!

Clara Lieu said...

This looks like an incredible workshop! What I greatly admire about your teaching and artwork is the way that you demonstrate the robust preparatory process that you have before beginning the final artwork. Too often, my college students (I teach at RISD) I teach are quick to bypass the preliminary sketching/research process and jump into the final artwork prematurely. It takes an entire semester for me to convince students that preliminary sketching is not a waste of time, and that in fact, if preliminary sketching is done well, will make the process of creating the final artwork much more efficient and smooth. Not only are your approaches with the maquettes very innovative, but I love that it is so concrete, and really gets an artist to take initiative to make the reference that they need. Thank you you for your generosity, I've been teaching and working as a professional artist for over 15 years now, and I feel that I gain tremendously from all of your online resources.

James Gurney said...

Hi, Clara,
Good to hear from someone on the front lines of teaching. I'm glad to hear of your experience with your classes. The person who inspired me most about the planning stages was Rockwell, and his book "Rockwell on Rockwell," which shows how he did it.