When I was in art school at CCA(C), I never quite fit in, artistically speaking. I had lots of friends, but since the classes I was taking were all fine art classes, I was sort of out of place. My work was always being called “illustrative” — a grave insult in the world of the fine art academy!
That's me in my art school days, looking scared of my own work.
Now I’m back in the academic world, doing a little teaching at the SF Art Institute, and just finished my first class, an introduction to illustration using digital tools. And I guess it’s appropriate that most of my students were people just like me — born illustrators working in an almost exclusively fine art-oriented school. Which, it turns out, is not such a bad place to be if you’re an illustrator!
To give them a sense of the “real world” of the working illustrator, I made each assignment a “job” from an art director — and for extra realism I attached an imaginary dollar amount tagged to each assignment. The students did a total of five jobs, ranging from editorial illustration to fashion illustration to my favorite assignment, the gig poster, which I saved for their final. They did some great work!
Read on to see some examples of their work… Click here to read more »
I’ve done the poster for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Winterfest party a few years in a row. It’s a fundraiser/party/art auction with great people, great beer, and great art.
It’s always really important to get a wintery feel for the poster. Here’s the sketch I started with:
The SFBC gave this the green light right away, with the caveat that they preferred a modern font, since we had done a more retro-look in a previous year. This reminded me that I have always loved the hand-drawn type from my favorite film of all time, Dr. Strangelove, created by the film’s designer, Pablo Ferro. Here’s an example:
There is a nice computer typeface inspired by this lettering, but when I posted a link to this font on my Facebook page, my friend Alastair Johnston made an interesting comment. Why not draw the type yourself? Who needs a computer font for this effect?
So for this poster, I hand drew the type, inspired by Ferro’s Strangelove font, but with my own added elements — a few choice curlyques and such — and I think it came out much better than it would have otherwise!
I also created the artwork for the pint glass that will be available. Pay $20, get a pint glass and all the beer you can drink.
And then, since I felt I hadn’t done enough work already for Winterfest, I also created a painting that will be part of the art auction:
It’s called “Return of the Scorcher,” which of course is the name of a fantastic documentary by Ted White. This film, about the rise of global bicycling culture was made in the late eighties or early nineties, and featured a brief story about bicyclists in China who pile up at intersections until they have enough bikes to achieve a “critical mass,” and thus gain right of way. This little anecdote gave the name to a social bike ride that was at that time brand new, and has now been going strong in San Francisco and hundreds of other cities around the world for 18 years!
Drop by Winterfest tonight — get a beer, and maybe bid on some fantastic art!