Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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CASH Music (@cashmusic)
Musician @johnroderick on the inherent and important value that art brings to our world…

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Maria Popova (@brainpicker)
Where the Wild Things really are – Maurice Sendak illustrates the Brothers Grimm fairy tales

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Deux Crayon & Trois Crayon assignment 11/24/15

Paul and Gaetan Brizzi

Nate Marcel: Aux Duex Crayon & Trios Crayon Demonstrations

Nate Marcel: Aux Duex Crayon & Trios Crayon Demonstrations

Final Project: Fall Term 2015

DUE DECEMBER 7th & 8th (for respective classes)
1. Use your 18 x 24 paper
2. Use whatever materials that you wish that we have explored in class but be aware not to use this drawing as a platform for too much experimentation, use a media that you feel somewhat confident in.
3. Use one of the methods that we have gone over in class.
4. The drawing should use a foreground, middle-ground and background with an appropriate light source.
5. Base the drawing off of one you have already done in your sketchbook.

This is your opportunity to really put some time into a drawing, making it sing but be conscious that there can also be a tendency to overwork a drawing. Make sure you are communicating the subject well, that you are maintaining contrast and objectivity.

Have FUN!

Aux Deux Crayon & Trois Crayon Drawings

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Teaching: It’s Not the Critic Who Counts [feedly]

Teaching: It's Not the Critic Who Counts
// Picture It


The Critics, 1862, by Honore Daumier

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

– Theodore Roosevelt


Every day of teaching, for me, is a risky day – a careful day. That's probably true of all teachers.

As for me, I lead critiques, which can be so helpful, yet so dangerous. Students put their homework on the wall – their personal creations – their own ideas- and face public scutiny.  My job is to take it from there.

I've said many times that "crit" is not short for "criticism" – it's short for "critique". A crit should always be a learning excercise -a practice through which students learn how their work is seen through discussion with others. It's where they learn of the infinite possibilities through observation of what everyone else created. And it's where they learn how to improve through instruction and suggestion.

But, day after day, I'm reminded that critiques can be risky. Students can feel judged – and can take things personaly – no matter how many times we're advised otherwise. It's human nature.

It's a tightrope we walk in critiques. Which leads me back to the quotation above, which is new to me, and very instructive for instructors.

Always remember that what matters is the doer – the maker. They have faced the blank page. They have faced their limits. They are the ones being discussed.

It's easy to criticize, but it's trickier to critique. And the difference is everything. It's education.


Further Observation


The Experts, 1837, by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps


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The Quest Belief System | Quest Nutrition

This is a code of ethics designed for/by a foodstuffs company but I think that most of them could be easily disguised as powerful thoughts on drawing and making things.

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Blind Contour Drawings 11/18/15

Nate Marcel: Blind Contour Drawings 11/18/15: Keys Angel  Hand Violin head

We did Blind Contour studies. Here are some of mine for examples.

Class Assignment 11/17/15

Class Assignment 11/16/15

A Conversation with Glenn Vilppu

Check out this video on YouTube:

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

William Kentridge

Wim Delvoye Stuff

Thumbnail Homework 11/11/15 - 11/16/15

 Make 3 Pages each with 20 Thumbnails. Just generate basic shapes into tiny compositions. Get an eye for composing each little frame quickly, without effort and as little thought as possible. Start by using the basic shapes of Circle, Square, Triangle etc and branch out if you need more variety. Ask yourself the questions afterword "did I go too slow?" "Which ones do I like the best?" "Do I have a tendency to do more of one type over another?" 

If this goes to fast do more. Like hundreds more.

If it takes you an hour it is taking you too long.

Use whatever materials you want, mix them up if you want.

For Inspiration Check out

Richard Keeling’s abstract compositions of shapes and shadows [feedly]

Richard Keeling's abstract compositions of shapes and shadows
// It's Nice That


Experimenting with plain shapes and shadows is illustrator and designer Richard Keeling, in his series of experimental posters. Richard was previously head of creative for All Star Lanes, the London-based chain of American-style bowling alleys. Finding his feet as a freelancer, Shadows Shapes is just one of many self-initiated projects the creative is working on to find his style and interests. Simple and playfully put together, these compositions are full of delicious-looking colours and feel as though I'm walking through an abstract version of the Sesame Street pinball countdown.

Read more


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gonzo-sci-fi: Barry Windsor [feedly]

gonzo-sci-fi: Barry Windsor
// Hyperwave


Barry Windsor


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"It is possible to make a career in comics. It’s not likely, but it doesn’t make you a bad cartoonist..." [feedly]

"It is possible to make a career in comics. It's not likely, but it doesn't make you a bad cartoonist..."
// Quotes About Comics

"It is possible to make a career in comics. It's not likely, but it doesn't make you a bad cartoonist if you don't. So make comics.

The trick is to find a way to finance the making of those comics if you're not making a living at comics.

Not being a full-time pro artist does not mean you're not an artist. It doesn't mean you're not good. You can be a fine amateur. You can be a fine semi-pro.

Keep making art because it is what you need to do. And if the money comes, great. Because making a good living (and I do) at what you love is pretty awesome.

And I hope it happens for you, too."

- Colleen Doran, "Can You Make a Living in Comics?"

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PaintBerri now in Open Beta! [feedly]

PaintBerri now in Open Beta!
// (ノ◥▶◀◤)ノ*:・゚✧



The PaintBerri team is excited to officially announce that the site is now in open beta! During our 4 month closed beta, we added a ton of new features and fixes, including a lite painter for older computers & mobile devices, fun games for socializing, and a block feature for avoiding drama and having a nicer time!

PaintBerri is a free oekaki-style social art site where users communicate via drawings created on the spot with the built-in browser painter.

Join us!

Some feature highlights:

The Full Painter: This painter is packed full of features including pen pressure support, a highly customizable brush, and hotkeys!

The Lite Painter: This simple painter is usable on mobile devices! Draw on the go from your phone or tablet, and then finish up your piece at home with the Full Painter!

Games: Art games are a fun thing to do when hanging out with artist buds - now you can play them online, too! PaintBerri's first game "MixUp" allows you and two other users to create a fun and weird creature together by blindly drawing the top, middle, and bottom sections separately before releasing your fused monstrosity on the world! 

Join the community!

oh that explains that

hee my bird (head) is featured there


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An Art Material Addicts Guide to becoming a Minimalist Sketcher [feedly]

An Art Material Addicts Guide to becoming a Minimalist Sketcher
// will kemp art school

Hi, my name is Will and I am an art material addict. When the new season art catalogue arrives, I prepare a large cafetiere of coffee, find a comfy chair and indulge in a little bit of window shopping. If I spot a new 'innovative ink system', it's hard to imagine how my drawings can exist […]

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Pay attention [feedly]

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jim Lee talks about George Bridgman

Tweet by Comics Alliance on Twitter

Comics Alliance (@comicsalliance)
From Layouts to the Final Page: Eryk Donovan's Art Process for 'Cognetic'

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Golden Ratio Calipers

Golden Ratio Calipers

Pencil Kings Interview with Pixar Art Director

Pencil Kings Interview with Pixar Art Director

Light Source Examples

Famous Artists Course on Water

Vincent van Gogh on Fear, Taking Risks, and How Making Inspired Mistakes Moves Us Forward [feedly]

Vincent van Gogh on Fear, Taking Risks, and How Making Inspired Mistakes Moves Us Forward
// Brain Pickings

"However meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth … steps in and does something."

During our recent conversation at the Boston Book Festival, the wise and wonderful Amanda Palmer spoke about the harrowing experience of watching her best friend die and reflected: "Everyone in this room is going to be gone pretty quickly — and we will have either made something or not made something. The artists that inspire me are the ones that I look at and go, 'Oh my god — you didn't have to go there. It would'v been safer not to — but, for whatever reason, you did.' And every time death happens, I'm reminded that it's stupid to be safe… Usually, whatever that is — wherever you don't want to go, whatever that risk is, wherever the unsafe place is — that really is the gift that you have to give."

As the words poured out of Amanda's mouth, I saw a kindred hand reach across space and time to catch them. A century and a half earlier, Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890) had articulated the same sentiment in a beautiful letter to his brother Theo, found in Ever Yours: The Essential Letters (public library) — the same treasure trove that gave us the beloved artist on talking vs. doing and the story of how he found his purpose.

'Self-Portrait with Straw Hat' by Vincent van Gogh

In a particularly impassioned letter to Theo from October 2, 1884, Van Gogh writes:

If one wants to be active, one mustn't be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they'll achieve it by doing no harm — and that's a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

You don't know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can't do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of "you can't."

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn't let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, "violates"…

Ever Yours is an infinitely enlivening read in its totality. Complement it with Van Gogh on art and the power of love, depression, and his little-known sketchbooks, then revisit the great social science writer John W. Gardner on what children can teach us about taking risks.

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Charles M. Schulz, Civil Rights, and the Previously Unseen Art of Peanuts [feedly]

Charles M. Schulz, Civil Rights, and the Previously Unseen Art of Peanuts
// Brain Pickings

"My husband and I keep pertinent Peanuts cartoons on desks and bulletin boards as guards against pomposity."

For half a century, Charles M. Schulz (November 26, 1922–February 12, 2000) made an art of difficult emotions while delighting the world with his enormously influential Peanuts. The 17,897 comic strips he published between 1950 and 2000 are considered, in the words of cultural historian Robert Thompson, "the longest story ever told by one human being."

In Only What's Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts (public library), beloved graphic designer Chip Kidd offers a guided behind-the-scenes tour of Schulz's genius. With tremendous reverence and unprecedented access to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Kidd delves into the raw material of Schulz's creative process — his sketches, his correspondence, rare early editions of his comics, a wealth of previously unpublished artwork, and various never-before-seen ephemera that emanate the singular spirit of this irreplaceable creative force.

Kidd writes in the preface:

If bringing joy to other people is proof of a meaningful existence, then Charles M. Schulz led one of the most meaningful lives of the twentieth century.

From the heartening origin story of how teenage Charles Monroe "Sparky" Schulz had his first drawing of the family dog published in the popular Believe It or Not! in 1936, to the evolution of his pre-Peanuts characters, to the stratospheric success of Peanuts, this glorious tome is equal parts museum and monument, a masterwork of curatorial rigor and an affectionate homage.

Jeff Kinney writes in the introduction:

In creating Macbeth, William Shakespeare embodied a single character with a full and often contradictory range of human traits — ambition, weakness, gullibility, bravery, fearfulness, tyranny, kindness. A character as complex as Macbeth could only be created by someone with a complete understanding of what it means to be a human being, and suggests that Shakespeare himself shared many traits with his most famous literary character.

In the same way, the characters in Peanuts reflect the multiple dimensions of their creator. Interviewers asked Schulz if he was really Charlie Brown, expecting, perhaps, an uncomplicated confirmation. But Schulz was all the characters in Peanuts — Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Pig-Pen, Franklin, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, even Snoopy. Each character represented a different aspect of Schulz, making Peanuts perhaps the most richly layered autobiography of all time.

But Peanuts was in many ways a cultural biography as well, speaking in ways both subtle and profound not only to the abiding complexities of our inner lives but also to the singular concerns of the era. Nowhere is this osmosis of timelessness and timeliness more pronounced than in the story of how Schulz's Franklin character was born.

In April of 1968, exactly two weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and on the cusp of the era that would beget such cultural milestones as Margaret Mead and James Baldwin's spectacular conversation about race, Schulz received an immensely thoughtful letter from a woman named Harriet Glickman, urging him to consider incorporating characters of color into the Peanuts strip. It was the kind of sympathetic suggestion offered not as an act of criticism aimed at tearing something down but as an act of construction aimed at building up an important new direction of growth.

Mrs. Glickman writes:

Dear Mr. Schulz,

Since the death of Martin Luther King, I've been asking myself what I can do to help change those conditions in our society which led to the assassination and which contribute to the vast sea of misunderstanding, fear, hate and violence.

As a suburban housewife; the mother of three children and a deeply concerned and active citizen, I am well aware of the very long and tortuous road ahead. I believe that it will be another generation before the kind of open friendship, trust and mobility will be an accepted part of our lives.

In thinking over the areas of the mass media which are of tremendous importance in shaping the unconscious attitudes of our kids, I felt that something could be done through our comic strips, and even in that violent jungle of horrors known as Children's Television.

You need no reassurances from me that Peanuts is one of the most adored, well-read and quoted parts of our literate society. In our family, teen-age Kathy has posters and sweat shirts … pencil holders and autograph books. Paul, who's ten and our Charlie Brown Little Leaguer … has memorized every paper back book … has stationery, calendars, wall hangings and a Snoopy pillow. Three and a half year old Simon has his own Snoopy which lives, loves, eats, paints, digs, bathes and sleeps with him. My husband and I keep pertinent Peanuts cartoons on desks and bulletin boards as guards against pomposity. You see … we are a totally Peanuts-oriented family.

It occurred to me today that the introduction of Negro children into the group of Schulz characters could happen with a minimum of impact. The gentleness of the kids … even Lucy, is a perfect setting. The baseball games, kite-flying … yea, even the Psychiatric Service cum Lemonade Stand would accommodate the idea smoothly.

Sitting alone in California suburbia makes it all seem so easy and logical. I'm sure one doesn't make radical changes in so important an institution without a lot of shock waves from syndicates, clients, etc. You have, however, a stature and reputation which can withstand a great deal.

Lastly; should you consider this suggestion, I hope that the result will be more than one black child… Let them be as adorable as the others … but please … allow them a Lucy!


Harriet Glickman

Although Schulz was barraged by ideas from readers, which he dismissed in the service of his own creative integrity, Mrs. Glickman's point spoke to him and a correspondence ensued. He wrote back the following week:

In a handwritten letter penned the following day, Mrs. Glickman responded:

Dear Mr. Schulz,

I appreciate your taking the time to answer my letter about Negro children in Peanuts.

You present an interesting dilemma. I would like your permission to use your letter to show some Negro friends. Their responses as parents may prove useful to you in your thinking on this subject.


Harriet Glickman

Schulz wrote back reiterating his concern about appearing patronizing. But permission was apparently granted, for he soon received a letter from a man named Kenneth C. Kelly, one of Mrs. Glickman's black friends, who wrote:

Dear Mr. Schulz:

With regards to your correspondence with Mrs. Glickman on the subject of including Negro kids in the fabric of Peanuts, I'd like to express an opinion as a Negro father of two young boys. You mention a fear of being patronizing. Though I doubt that any Negro would view your efforts that way, I'd like to suggest that an accusation of being patronizing would be a small price to pay for the positive results that would accrue!

We have a situation in America in which racial enmity is constantly portrayed. The inclusion of a Negro supernumerary in some of the group scenes in Peanuts would do two important things. Firstly, it would ease my problem of having my kids seeing themselves pictured in the overall American scene. Secondly, it would suggest racial amity in a casual day-to-day sense.

I deliberately suggest a supernumerary role for a Negro character. The inclusion of a Negro in your occasional group scenes would quietly and unobtrusively set the stage for a principal character at a later date, should the basis for such a principal develop.

We have too long used Negro supernumeraries in such unhappy situations as a movie prison scene, while excluding Negro supernumeraries in quiet and normal scenes of people just living, loving, worrying, entering a hotel, the lobby of an office building, a downtown New York City street scene. There are insidious negative effects in these practices of the movie industry, TV industry, magazine publishing, and syndicated cartoons.



Schulz skipped the black supernumerary but on July 31, Franklin — Charlie Brown's African American friend — made his debut. A month before the publication of the first Franklin comic strip, Schulz sent Mrs. Glickman a personal note:

But Mrs. Glickman's prediction of pushback was correct. Two decades later, Schulz recalled in an interview that United Feature Syndicate didn't like scenes in which Franklin plays with the other children. One editor even complained that Franklin shouldn't be seen sharing a desk with Peppermint Patty, telling Schulz: "We have enough trouble here in the South without you showing the kids together in school." Schulz recounts:

I never paid any attention to those things, and I remember telling Larry [Rutman, president of United Feature] at the time about Franklin — he wanted me to change it, and we talked about it for a long while on the phone, and I finally sighed and said, "Well, Larry, let's put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How's that?" So that's the way that ended.

Schulz's strip penetrated culture so powerfully that its influence transcended Earth and reached for space. In 1968, as the Apollo 10 mission was about to launch, NASA commander Thomas Stafford named the command module "Charlie Brown" and the lunar reentry module "Snoopy." To mark the occasion, Schulz created a series of Snoopy posters for the Apollo program and was paid $25 each.

Complement the marvelous Only What's Necessary with the story of how Schulz made a space for the quiet pain of childhood, then revisit this wonderful vintage children's book from the same era, which envisions a female African American astronaut decades before the first black woman launched into orbit.

All images © 2015 Peanuts Worldwide LLC courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California

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