Sketching Scenes with Maquettes

maquetteIn Concept Illustration, we have an assignment to design an illustration based on the broad theme of conflict (character vs character, character vs. environment etc). I’ve thought about doing illustrations from the original Snow Queen so on our thumbnail assignment, which was limited to black and white and approximately 1 x 2 inches.

I’ve always been inspired with James Gurney’s maquette work (here is his Skybax maquette made out of armature wire, sculpey, floral wire, and stockings covered with latex among other ingredients.

gurney-skybax-maquetteI liked being able to walk around the scene and vary the perspective – vertically and horizontally. I used armature wire and chavant clay which doesn’t harden.

I also had to have 2 color comps and three 3-color value sketches. My instructor picked thumbnail 3 so that’s the one I’m working on, but with more background added.



Our discussion this past week was to collect illustrations that could be used as inspiration for creating your scene. I picked these great works by Sendak, Lathrop, and Dulac.












Veggie Circus – Scene Diorama to Pencil

Krister-Veggie-Circus-drawingMy teacher in Mastering the Pencil this quarter is children’s book illustrator Karen Windness. We had a fun assignment this past week creating a veggie or fruit circus using the real items in a diorama that would serve as a model for a pencil scene. I went to a Chinese market (lots of things looked like they could be characters in a circus) and picked out a sweet potato that looked like an elephant.

It was good to have a physical model to work Diorama-maquettes-drawingwith to work out the placement of characters, lighting, and background elements. Here’s my sweet potato with ginger arms and legs. Here’s my drawing that I’ll submit today. I used some graphite powder for shading (Creatacolor better than General’s).

Composition with Nathan Fowkes on Schoolism

schoolismJust a quick post for those of you who might be interested in great composition / concept art courses. Schoolism only offers a lower priced yearly subscription every September – it caps after the 1st 2000 signups. There are 18 courses that you can take all together.

I’m starting with Nathan Fowke’s Pictoral Composition course (LACAD, LA Figurative Arts Academy) it’s really helpful – for both traditional as well as digital artists. It’s a 9 week course, but self-paced – each week has about eight 10-minute videos. There is weekly homework and videos of other student’s work. The cheapest option is $144 which doesn’t come with video feedback and redraws from Nathan – but it can help people like me who are attending school full time or working full time. Even if you’re on the cheaper plan, you can look at his critiques and redraws of other students who are taking the premium course – at $1000-1500 per course, so there’s plenty to learn from just watching. Whenever you’re finished, you can switch to another class.

composition-piet-mondrianI’ll show one of my exercises in a following post, but here’s an example from Piet Mondrian that I liked. I had seen Mondrian’s geometric work, but I had never seen his early work and how his art evolved. The point Nathan was making with the Mondrian example was that he was exploring the internal structure underneath what was being seen – so he was continually abstracting and simplifying – but also keeping connections and relationships, balance, harmony etc. I appreciate all the thought and time that has gone into Nathan’s course.

School at RMCAD starts back officially tomorrow. My classes this term are Mastering the Pencil and 3D Design.