Ah, September. The number of back-to-school photos on my friends' Facebook pages really drives home the fact: it's back-to-school time. Classes started this week at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where I am teaching an illustration course in the BFA program this fall. The class is called Design + Image, and it's a hybrid design/illustration class. Here are the "ice breaker" images I wanted to use on the first day, but my husband wouldn't let me because he said they were too jokey-jokey and unprofessional. So I shall put them here, on my "professional" blog for the whole world to see.
I was worried about teaching a design class because I generally define the word "designer" as "someone cooler than me". This is how I picture myself, a non-designer:
Sloppy, blurry- maybe not so fat and hairy, but on a day-to-day basis, I think "hot mess" is a fair description.
DESIGNERS, on the other hand, look like this:
Sleek haircut, sparse Nordic workspace, chunky glasses.
In this class, the point I want to make is this: Design is for ALL illustrators, not just those of us who have cool glasses & have our lives in order. To make the point about design playing a part in all illustrations, I showed the following images. I took the design principles from a book called PICTURE THIS, by Molly Bang- a fabulous book on composition that I highly recommend.
For an example, here's a spread from the Caldecott-award-winning A SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE, illustrated by Erin Stead. This book is a veritable study in horizontal compositions. I think the flat, steady, calming compositions are part of what makes this book feel instantly timeless and classic.
...whereas Marla Frazee adds a feeling of tension and motion, just by tilting that ground up. Gosh, I love her work.
(illustration by Oliver Jeffers)
(illustration by Lane Smith)
(Mike Yamada, in a concept piece for Dreamworks)
(illustration by Gracia Lam)
I'll keep posting some of the lessons I'm learning as I'm teaching the class. Or, you could always sign up for my children's book illustration class, offered through the Continuing Ed department- that one starts at the end of the month!