Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Big Draw Chicago Art Program for Chicago Public Library

I fell into a unique and interesting opportunity last week for Big Draw Chicago. The Big Draw is a month long festival celebrating drawing (uhhh, love it!). This October was the inaugural month for this amazing series of lectures, events, and activities.

Anyway, I ended up leading the art portion for two of the Big Draw's teen programs affiliated with the Chicago Public Library and the One Book, One Chicago initiative. Based on the book The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, I created a curriculum that both educated the teen participants on the power of visual imagery in storytelling, and also highlighted the delicateness of perspective. The narrator in the book interestingly enough is Death itself, so by highlighting the wide variety of visual interpretations of an excerpt in the book, I hoped to generate discussion with the teens about the bias of a narrator and why Zusak might have pinned Death with the responsibility of telling his tale--Dark for teen literature, I know.

I stupidly rejected the staff's offer to take home some of the teens' excellent drawings, realizing only now they would have been great to post here in the blogosphere. You can, however, read a short blurb about the event and view yet another over-enthusiastic-art-event photo of myself on The Big Draw Chicago's Facebook Page 

The experience was really fun and it was rewarding to teach and talk with other people about what I internally grapple with and think about every day. We talked about how style of a drawing (aka line quality, shape--no color in this exercise) can impact the message of an image, along with what "moment" in a story to visually represent, and how that moment can also impact the message of a story. Here is a worksheet that I created to help convey the ideas of how one might choose an image to accompany text. 

Viva la revolucion (of visual storytelling)!

Wonderful parties involved in this event:
Big Draw Chicago - headed up by Elory Rozner of Uncommon Classrooms
Chicago Public Library
Ursula Gruber - book discussion facilitator/my co-presenter

Monday, October 22, 2012

On-Site Sketching Series: Part II

My pal and former classmate Sarah Richardson and I have started making a point of doing some on-site sketching once a month, or "visual reh-por-TAJ", if you will. There are many reasons why getting into the habit of on-site sketching is helpful (see: Jazzfest post). We think it's relaxing, fun, and ultimately will help us to become better artists. In fact, we are formalizing this outing by organizing an official group of on-site drawing enthusiasts. More details to follow on that as the plot develops.

Sketches below are from a recent outing to the park at the corner of Rush & State in Old Town.

One remarkable thing about this particular outing is that for the first time in a long time, I felt like a was fully prepared in terms of bringing the right materials. The bag I carried with me contained a wide range of Microns with varying tip sizes, brush pens, Prismacolor markers, and a few pencils. I cannot emphasize how much easier and more fun this made the whole drawing experience. I used to think the cool/convenient part about on-site sketching was that you could basically walk out your front door and do it--like running for exercise. I am now realizing that it IS that convenient, but even with the little extra effort to make sure you are armed with the right drawing tools and the right paper/sketchbook, the activity is made that much better and you also get a more solid product (analogous to making sure you have the right pair of running shoes for an outdoor jog). The last thing causing a struggle between an artist and his or her palette should be lack of correct/high quality media. Think about it; there are already enough challenges in visual communication, that to be held up by something that can be so easily accommodated seems silly. Right?...

PS I never jog outside, so not sure how I drew that comparison (from deep, deep in my sub-conscious)....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On-site Sketching Series: Part I

Hey blog,
Long time no post. Please accept this scanned on-site sketch I completed at the recent AIGA lecture "Font Detective" with Thomas Phinney. Phinney, who by day works for Adobe, is essentially a type nerd turned legal consultant. He has been called onto several court cases in various capacities to help in the analysis of allegedly forged documents. Turns out, a broad knowledge of type really helps in many of these cases. He had some pretty crazy stories to tell, spanning from a forged will to a forged rabbi certificate. 

I am not particularly proud of this sketch, but it signifies a re-boot in my journey of on-site visual-truth-seeking. Also, the man taking photos at the lecture seemed to dig it, so the sketch (as well as an extremely over-enthusiastic photo of myself) ended up on the AIGA Flickr page! That's right, my friend! This is what fame is like .

Link to AIGA Photo Page
Link to Thomas Phinney Blog

Don't worry, ye neglected blog--I have more in store for you yet. Yours, Jenny G