Things are busy in my junior illustration majors studio course at Maine College of Art. Students recently completed illustrating a rituals theme, with solutions ranging from an annual naked bike ride in Philadelphia, to Burning Man, to the piece below by Kiah Gardner, which fits today's mood in a fetching way.
Kiah's interest in fiber relief was renewed by a recent visit from Salley Mavor, who gave a fantastic lecture about her professional journey and working methods in early October. She brought original pieces of her unique fiber relief illustrations.
While students are working up ideas on any given project, we also do in-class studies. I borrowed a stash of interesting objects from my neighbor and fellow illustrator Doug Smith. Kiah drew some, and then started felting.
Doug's father, Dick Smith, is a legend in the make-up world. Doug loaned this life mask of his mother, which Maria Antuna painted.
I'm an advocate of working from life, more to sharpen observation skills than to render realistically. Each student brought their own signature to their studies. This gouache painting below is by Chris Vales.
An earlier project, "Flannel, Fiber, Fur" involved fashion illustration, in which students were called to interpret the Maine fashion scene. To get into the mood, Julie Smith, a MECA staffer in academic advising, modeled with her agreeable dog, Dexter.
It's a terrific challenge to draw animals, and the class captured Dexter's personality in quick sketches, as in this drawing by Liz Long.
Several of the final illustrations highlighted not dogs but lobsters. This lobster lass by Chelsea Canny shows a keen sense of style.
David Snider designed upscale fashions for lobstermen.
Molly Steinmetz created a frisky lobster claw bustier with fishnet leggings for her curvy model.
Declan McCarthy went for the fur, with his parody of fashion, in which a Maine black bear sports a fishy knit while eating out.
Miles Cook emphasized the flannel in his illustration.
Earlier in the semester, students tackled the campaign, creating posters for display as part of MECA's Public Engagement project, Provoke the Vote.
Maria Antuna merged two originals and added a graphic slogan.
Liz Long illustrated Mitt Romney wearing a dunce cap made of money.
Molly Steinmetz illustrated a young voter with in-your-face attitude.