Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

Please click on my page to see my personal artwork and artist statement: http://thehelpfulartteacher.blogspot.com/p/the-art-of-rachel-wintembe.html

Please contact me at thehelpfulartteacher@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Advanced Design: How to get started

Advanced Design

Prerequisite: Students must have taken the class 'Visual Design' as a junior and 
'Foundations of Production and Design' as a sophomore.

Students are expected to be proficient using Photoshop and digital art and comfortable with digital photography prior to taking this class. Students are expected to also have some experience with computer animation.

Interested students will have the option of 
pursuing AP Studio Art credit. 

If you are planning on taking Advanced Design next year, 
you will need to get started developing your portfolio right now.

Start out by exploring art that fascinates you. Collect interesting images, websites and videos. 

This collection is a reflection of your personal tastes. 

 Experiment in your sketchbook with the ideas you find.

Many high school students are used to copying pictures they like but have trouble coming up with something original. While there is nothing at all wrong with creating fan art, it cannot be used in a college portfolio, submitted for AP credit or even legally sold. 

How do I start creating original art that is uniquely mine?

 If you ever find yourself stuck, try selecting three completely different examples of  the same subject matter from your collection. These can be photographs, links or videos from the internet, examples of images by other artists, or pictures you took yourself. 

 If you are inventing a landscape, pick three completely different landscapes that you love. If you are doing an underwater fantasy scene, select three completely different underwater images. An outer space scene? Find some cool pictures of planets, rocket ships and stars. You get the idea.  

Do not pick more than one image by the same artist. Do not select images that are too similar in style. For instance, if you love manga, you may only select one manga image. 
Since the manga style originated  in Japan, you could try exploring Japanese printmaking or brush painting.  You could find a photograph of a Japanese landscape or examples of Japanese clothing design. 

Better yet, find an image that is the same type of subject but in a completely different style, from a completely different source.

A high school student who plays Dungeons and Dragons or watches Game of Thrones may pick a single image from their beloved game or TV show. After that, they should start looking at real castles and historic armor from around the world.

Do some research into what inspired the designers who created your favorite TV shows and games. Find out what your favorite artists looked at before they started creating their art. It is very likely that whatever inspired them, will also inspire you.

Next, figure out what drew you to each image in the first place. Find something in each of your three pictures that you want to learn how to draw.

Create a new image that contains elements of all three pictures. Maybe you like the dramatic lighting in one image, the colors in another image and the textures in a third. There really is no wrong way to do this assignment. The simple act of finding out why art appeals to you and combining ideas from three different sources will result in something completely new and uniquely yours. Have fun. Play with your ideas.

To show you how artists do this, I have decided to share my own artistic process:

 I happen to currently be exploring Steampunk. 

My goal is to create drawings, paintings and animations of mechanical animals. 

My first inspiration is the castle from Howl's Moving Castle:

Because this movie is an example of Japanese Anime, I am now not allowed to pick any other examples from the Japanese Anime genre. I can have more anime in my complete collection, but for the purpose of this assignment, I need to pick two other things, and they better not be anime.

My second inspiration comes from the Russian artist, Vladimir Gvozdev. 

Here are two links to his website and an article about his artwork:

I was first attracted to his paintings during a Google Image search. After exploring his website, I was hooked. 

I also found a few more interesting contemporary sculptors creating steampunk animals. 

I am not interested in building sculptures right now, but I liked learning about their art:

However, all these artists, Gvozdev, Verniy and Vitanovsky, are Russian or Eastern European, alive today and building clockwork animals out of discarded old machines from junk yards. They are too similar to each other, so I am only allowed to pick one of them. I have to pick a third image and the artist better not be Russian, contemporary or a sculptor that builds animals from junk.

Could I find a third resource? One that was not Japanese or Russian or contemporary?  

The answer was yes. After more research, I found some cool early European clockwork machines, with surviving examples dating back as far as the 1700's.

I was also reminded of my love for MC Escher and was able to find these images of his 'Curl Ups', imaginary insects with human like legs and armored bodies.

Curl Up, 1951, by MC Escher

In summary, I found out what I was interested in, I looked at art, gathered a collection of art and I created some art. 

It wasn't necessary for me to start out creating great art,  finished art or polished art. My goal was to experiment and try new things. 

Below are my first experiments.

Don't ignore your loves and interests, just dig a little deeper. 

The more time you put into a piece of artwork, the more time your audience will spend looking at it.

The more fun you have exploring and developing  your ideas the more your audience will enjoy looking at them.

High school students get so caught up in showing colleges how technically talented they are that they forget how to take personal and creative risks. Artists need to give themselves permission to experiment and fail.

When we sit down to do our own artwork, we  need to learn to let go of whatever it is we have been taught and just give ourselves permission to create.

We have to get away from ‘what does the teacher want’ and shift to ‘what do I want? 

While commercial artists also have to consider what their clients want, ignoring the question "What do I want?" and "What type of art do I want to create?" is always huge mistake in any genre of art. 

After all, your client is not hiring you to simply follow orders. They are hiring you for your creative ideas, for your unique artistic style and vision. They are hoping you will take their ideas and make them better. You can't really do that if you don't know what you like.

The child who loves Manga, cartoons, video games and spending all night painting D&D figures is at some point told it’s ’not real art’. High school has a way of teaching all of us to forget who we are and what we like. 

I propose instead that we acknowledge what we like, but also acknowledge that we need to do more research and sketching if we are to create art that is both authentic and original. 

I invented and painted this fun mechanical dragon using instant coffee, graphite, and Dr. Ph Martin’s White liquid paint. 

 Instead of copying another artist’s product, consider their process. Ask questions and give yourself a problem to solve.

What's next? Clearly I am not done exploring Steampunk animals yet. I still have sketching to do!

In preparation, I curated a collection of Steampunk clipart that inspires me, from around the web:

I curated a collection of  gears and clockwork 
that inspired me:

I found a collection online of 150,000 free botanical and animal downloads: 

Now I think I am going to go through them, download a few animals and create some drawings in my sketchbook showing how they might be mechanized if they were clockwork robots.

 Maybe I will draw exploded views of my mechanical animals and attempt to reassemble and animate them. Or maybe, as I sketch, I will come across a different idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment