The day to day routine can play havoc with the fluidity of creation. In the past I have explored numerous illustration events to learn how to interpret my position in the world of illustration. I've taken workshops, attended conferences and exhibited at conventions. Every situation informed my work in a positive way. Each experience shook the stagnant fog out of my head. Education, no matter how you get it, is the cornerstone of every new skill and technique. It is the foundation to a stronger body of work.
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One year ago I had a great opportunity to create The Nutcracker, a children's book. That experience opened up new doors that challenged my skill set and preliminary processes. After the completion of the project I started researching classes. I needed to be a student again and be immersed in the learning process. I needed answers to the questions I had recently discovered.
Listening to Paper Wings, Stories Unbound and Escape from Art Jail podcasts by the Oatley Academy introduced me to new learning possibilities. There were a slew of classes available through the site so I dug in and found Painting Drama. Painting narrative scenes while focusing on creating drama in visual storytelling. Perfect!
During the summer the class met on Thursdays at Noon EST in a digital classroom. Chris Oatley guided the class with the assistance of the effervescent Erika Casab. As determined as I thought I was there were some mighty impressive dedication from my classmates. Several people were taking this class at 2am in Australia and a sprinkling of other times in Iceland, Israel, Mexico, Hungary, the UK and the list goes on. I was immediately impressed and humbled by my new colleagues and thier undying dedication.
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The prompts were open and flexible and the studies were invaluable to the development of strong compositional skills. Abstract solutions to fine tuned values were part of the experience. Opening the doors between representational art and abstract art was one small sliver of the whole process.
|Abstract studies to build exciting unexpected compositions. These were some of the 150 studies my partner, Rachel and I shared.|
Chris offered refreshing approaches to shaking up the excitement of a composition while focusing on analytical compositional decisions. How revitalizing this was to me as both an artist and an instructor.
|Black and White Master copies helped identify important compositional decisions|
There were numerous things about this course that I found invaluable. I'm not going to give their secrets away so I'll leave it at this.... If your interested in learning the visual language of creating a strong narrative piece in a clear and concise manner with informed and analytical methods then this is the class you should consider. It's intense. It's inspiring. It's super fun.
Thanks to Chris and The Oatley Academy for the opportunity to learn from your expertise and thanks to my fellow classmates for the constant inspiration and dedication you all have. Being part of a like minded group striving to be the best they can be is a satisfaction that in incomparable.