Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Illustration Academy 2010

Wow, so much has happened since my last blog post! I have attended my second summer of Illustration Academy. This year was a shorter (only 4 weeks) version of the program in 2009 but just as intense and eye opening. I met so many amazing artist and am so excited to have them as friends and creative resources for years to come. The work I got out of Academy this year was great to add to my portfolio and a wonderful learning tool, but I maintain that the most important tool one gets from a program such as this is the vast network of supportive peers who are struggling with the same trials and nuances of the business that is freelance illustration.

So now to show my work from Academy. Last year's program was seven weeks and we came out with 6 pieces. This year's program was 4 weeks and we came out with 4 pieces. One assignment a week, given by a professional illustrator as if for a professional job.

First week's Assignment: "A Slice of Richmond, VA"

This one I did in Cut paper tinted with pastel. We were supposed to keep to flat shapes of value, so no gradients and no rendering. The carnation on the feet were a last minute addition thanks to John English's pop of color suggestion. I think it makes the piece.

Next Assignment: "Celebrity Portrait," given by illustrator Anita Kunz

I did a portrait of Ira Glass, talented host of the radio show "This American Life." I didn't think it was so necessary to worry about his exact likeness as he is a radio host and his face is not necessarily recognizable to most of his fans. Instead I focused on giving the viewer hints as to who they might be looking at. I used gouache and acrylic on illustration board for this one.

Assignment #3: Young adult novel cover, assignment given by illustrator Jon Foster.

I chose to illustrate "The Giver." If you haven't read it yet, you should. It is a young adult novel but as an adult who has recently gone back and reread it I can say it does hold up to my memory of it. It looks at the flaws behind a futuristic Utopian society through the eyes of a 12 year old boy. This one was done in graphite and acrylic on illustration board.

Final Week's Assignment: "A Conversation," assignment given by illustrator C.F. Payne

I chose the conversation of story time. The young girl has fallen asleep and the father continues reading, consumed by the story. I did this in acrylic and colored pencil on illustration board.

Well that's all folks! If you are debating whether or not to attend Illustration Academy next summer you should probably just bite the bullet and go. It will motivate you, it will push you to your full potential and it will put you in touch with other people trying to do the same!


  1. Hey,
    Ira's portrait is really good conceptually and very funny. His personality shows through big time in this image.

  2. Hi Katia! Thanks, I had so much fun with that image. I actually sent it to Ira Glass yesterday, thought he might like to see it!

  3. I love the Ira portrait and that you chose to illustrate the giver...we just read that at mw last year and the kids were into it and i was too:)

  4. I love your Ira Glass piece. Would I be able to use it for a Glass blog post I'm working on? I will of course credit and link the image back to your blog.