I was invited to be part of a professional panel to review the progress of students in MECA's Illustration Department. It's always gratifying to see what students are up to, and this year's crop of majors has such a variety of directions up their sleeves. Senior Leonora Dechtiar is working on a children's book with puppets of Persian characters.
She got great feedback on the potential of 3D imagery in the book, along with hands-on puppet activities that could accompany readings.
Junior Katie Long is experimenting with book ideas, collaging, goauche, pop-up mock-ups, and the physicality of page-turning and visual drama.
Junior Stephan showed early pages from a graphic novel idea about a boxer. He has great drawing agility that makes for sequences with good punch.
Senior Amie Miklovich has zeroed in on her heart's desire: fashion drawing. In league with classmate, Dani Evans, who is sewing doll-sized versions of her clothing designs, Amie is having a blast and it shows.
This caused a flashback for me, since I spent my adolescent years drawing girls and fashion. Here's a typical one, from when I was 16.
I thought I would major in apparel design when I went to RISD in, ahem, 1976, until I noticed all the sewing machines. I hated Home Ec, and sewing was a nightmarish endeavor I hoped never to repeat. So I majored in Illustration, but without a single fashion illustration course in the curriculum. Turns out, it's not really necessary, as every illustration department is about broadening skills and stretching one's repertoire. I got my share of drawing discipline then and have done fashion illustration assignments here and there during my career. I make a point even now to trot out my Melissa Sweet colored pencils to document people and their fashions, just for kicks.
It's nice when somebody sits for a bit, like my daughter doing her homework on magma.
It's also fun to challenge my visual recall and draw sights seen from memory,
like the girl across the street, an eighth grader with a style all her own.
And the girl down the street who flies by.
When I picked up my daughter at middle school, I glimpsed a new batch of poses.
Here's the super skinny boy with two-tone hair and the ubiquitous tight hoodie.
This was a girl walking into Deering Oaks, pairing her practical red flannel jacket with a blooming skirt above red rainboots ready for mud.
I saw this girl sitting on the curb waiting for the school bus, but when I drew her she became older, and resembles more a MECA student desperate for a cigarette.
So I've maintained my eye for people, their gestures and personas. It's a good observational practice to follow-up later what the mind retains. Comes in handy with writing, too. It's like eavesdropping.
Spy now, sketch later!