Go ahead... click that link up there in the title. It's a movie you'll like.

Fits in with our current project- as so many things do!

Here is another animation you'll like in a lot of ways, and not just for the ships and the pirate-like name of the creative group that has made this absolute gem of wonder, either!:

The Tale of How

You guys need to DRAW more! We all do!  ;-)

Oh, yeah. That "Pyrats" film- made by STUDENTS. For real.

Grad Finals

Hey All,

Some of you have asked about observing graduate student critiques. The crits are open and you can attend a couple. The schedule is below. Faculty and grad students will be there all day but other interested parties come and go.

So, if you want to see what happens at a grad crit, stop in.

Final Critiques

for 1st & 2nd Year MFA Grads will take place on

Saturday December from 9am 6pm at the VARC

Crits last 35 minutes each, with 10 minutes in between for grading and
transition, and a lunch break between 2nd and 1st years' presentations.

Refreshments will be served.

The schedule of presentation is as follows:

Second Year Students:

- Lunchbreak-

First Year Students:



I can't. Too fast! But, that being said, here is the finals schedule for ART 3210, Fall 2008:

ART 3210-001, 12/12/2008 F, 10:30 AM~12:30 PM ARTB 108
ART 3210-002, 12/12/2008 F, 08:00 AM~10:00 AM ARTB 108

Section 001 is the lucky duck this time around. For section 002, that 8 am start time is brutal- just remember it's brutal for all of us! We'll have special holiday fare at our finals, though, so don't be late (we have to crit right away 'cause we only have two hours). You're very sad about the time limit, I know.

We'll be holding critique on "Pirates" that day, and you'll turn in your Free Text Friday notebooks as well, so the forthcoming two weeks are your opportunity to catch up on those!



There's a page at the wiki for you to read- tells you to upload your sketches by Friday, November 21st. I'll look at them then. In the meantime, you'all should comment on each other's work as well.

Here's the link:  fabulous pirates page



Hey Folks,

If you haven't yet uploaded your piece to our wiki, please do that right away:  here is the link

Also, would each of you please go there and post your e-mail address (on the page that says "e-mail addresses" so that jurors in the competition have contact information.


Wow! How Great Was THAT?!

Hey Contestants! Are we so lucky or what?! All of this illustration firepower in our midst for a true in-depth experience! This was a crazy-good way for us to learn about the creative inner (and outer) workings of four top author-illustrators.

We really put them to work (as evidenced by their weary countenances upon leaving UConn, Husky Water bottles in hand), but they happily obliged. There was a little (a lotta, actually) something for everyone as we learned about the client-artist working relationship, how to get started professionally, how to generate ideas and your own creative space, how to conceptualize an entire book before finalizing the art, and on and on and on. I wish they could've stayed a week! I'll bet they did too, seeing as how food magically appeared every few hours (courtesy of our very own Dodd Center) and the hotel has a pool.

But seriously, wouldn't you love to have these guys and gal back sometime soon? You betcha! Don't forget, you can always send a postcard (of your work, silly) to your new illustration BFF's to say "hey" now and then.

Coming soon... a link to more photos on Flickr...


New Entry in "Field of Opportunity"

Hi Gang,

There's  new entry in the "Field of Opportunity" so check it out. You should enter, so check it out!


Visiting Rock Stars!!

Be at the Dodd Center tomorrow, Thursday the 9th, for a "Mocktail Party" featuring our four FAB-ooo-lous visiting author-illustrators: Rudy Gutierrez, Alison Paul, Chris Raschka and Javaka Steptoe! Yes! Can you believe how lucky you are?! Me neither! It starts at 5 pm.

Check out their work, remember to comb your hair and brush your teeth and you'll be ready. See you there.

On Friday the 10th we'll see you in the Class of 1947 Room at the Babbidge Library for a presentation by all four that begins at 11:30 am (be there at 11:15- bring questions and a sketchbook!). That lasts until 1 -pm.

Then, as though it could get any better than that, Seniors return for a 2-4 pm Master Class session. Bring a few samples of work!

W  W  W  W  O  O  O  O  O  O-  H  H  H  H  O  O  O  O  O  !  !  !  !  !


Tips & Tricks: Add Yours!

Hey All,

Some of you have logged into the class WIKI to share your ideas/concerns/frustrations with the current assignment. Click on the title of this post to go directly to these pearls of wisdom- you won't be sorry!


A lot of our alums (your predecessors) attend ComicCON in San Diego each year. It is, as I once heard a much smarter person say, the largest visual culture event in North America. No foolin'! And folks like us RULE that place!

How great is that?!

Here is a camera-hungry Shawn McCauley, on the SUPER-SECRET alumni website, showing off his activities. I'm gonna make him come talk with us this semester. Even if he says, "no."

He'll do it. He owes me.

Let's Think A Little Bit More About Images That Communicate

As promised, here is a paper-free article for you to read. This article, "Ode To Illustration," by Steven Heller, appeared in AIGA magazine in 2004. AIGA, if you don't already know, is a professional organization and AIGA magazine is one of their publications (hard copy and web). It is centered on visual communication and the issues and developments therein.

In short, they write about visual stuff you'll find interesting.

But (and here's the bad news), you do have to read. Yes, read. Terrifically old-fashioned, I know, but still one of the best ways to engage information in a participatory (not passive) way. That's important.

Do it. And feel free to peruse related links that come up on the right hand side. You won't be sorry! Sign up for a "web account" (free) for some expanded access.


We're Back! Welcome to Our Newest Contestants!

Hi Folks!

First, welcome.

No,... for real.

It's good to be back.

Well, it's been a helluva summer with a lot of illustration activity and news. I'll try to recount some of that here so you can share in the EXCITEMENT!! I know you want to! We've also got some good stuff coming up, so check back here regularly to see what's happening.

Here's a special shout-out to the two new ART 272 sections (now known as ART 3210). Your trial-by-fire is about to begin! The old guard will help pull you through. Of course, you'll have to pay them off, but they'll help you for a very reasonable fee.

Speaking of FIRE, don't miss Rudy Gutierrez and DK Dyson this Friday (29th) at Convocation!! It's free (which is a lot of the same letters as "fire" but much, much better!), and will change your life.


Dig Our Current Student!

Ok, I know I miss out on LOTS of accomplishments, but sometimes I'm able to catch something and put it up for posterity.

"Posterity" is a big $10 word that means "forever." Only it sounds smarter. Feel free to use that.

Here is the article on Laura Byrne's book, of which we are all jealous but happy at the same time.

There will be a lot of that happy/jealous dichotomy in your life (if you're lucky) so be of good cheer and offer congrats to Laura. Laura, keep pursuing projects like this one!


TRIPLE-B* Countdown, Spring 2008!

Spring semester is about to mercifully slide into eternal oblivion and your blogs still S*CK! Can that be any clearer? Yes, probably so, but then  your parents would take me to court and I'd end up in jail. Hmmm... then I'd have lots of sketchbook time and plenty of source material, eh? It'd be like a 5 (to 10) year artist's residency.

By the final (May 10th- 8 am) your blogs MUST:

  1. Link successfully from the class blog
  2. Include images of all your finished work from the semester
  3. Include brief but scintillating text along with your finished work
  4. Include some process/sketchbook work (if you want to really look good)
  5. Link successfully to your CafePress store (make the link obvious to us. Don't let it fall below the browser window)
  6. Link successfully to your Flickr space (make the link obvious to us. Don't let it fall below the browser window and don't overwhelm your work with your family vacation pictures)

In turn, your CafePress store must have:
  • Multiple items featuring your great artwork (and not just two)

In double-turn, your Flickr account must hold:
  • Multiple images (not just two) of great work from your other classes or personal projects

In addition:
  • Get more selective with the "look" of the blog. If your blog is still the default design selection that Blogger provides to you, well, change it! Look around, make some choices about layout, color, type and more.

This is not hard to do but you do have to make some time to do it. Now is the time. The blog counts as a project (which you already know. I'm just sayin'...). You need this in more ways than one:  Why you need this blog


Free and Faboolous Events!!

Want to see something interesting, fun and F R E E  (yes, F R E E) this Sunday?!

Go to the Co-Op at 3 pm. Author/illustrator Anna Dewdney will be there to talk about her work. While you're there...

Stick around and attend a reception for your friend and UConn IllustratioNation alum, Bonnie Sullivan, at 4:30 pm. She's done a mural for the Co-Op's Children's Section and they're celebrating! Go. After all, you're family!


R+E+A+D For This Week

Greetings, Studio Survivors,

Please do some research on Shepard Fairey and his work (conveniently, two great links are provided in the post from 4/18). In addition, you can add this gallery archive of work:  This is the gallery archive

A helpful hint: explore different areas of the Obey Giant website. Don't just land on one page and only look at that. You won't get a sense of his work that way and you have to be able to discuss this in class.

How is he making his work? What is he using for content? Why? How/why is this controversial?


From My Deathbed...

4/24/08: "Birds" studio time
Come with 8.5 x 11 piece as a dummy with values (gray marker set). Bring as many cards as you have done. Prepare to go forward great guns with both! More! More! MORE!

InDesign demo (if enough of our computers are working- all bets are off, as you know)
Scan your calendar pieces!
Calendar wrap-up information: where we can print and how

5/1/08: "Birds" due: critique on final art (we will pop into layouts during studio)
Calendars, continue; InDesign continues
Appropriation vs Plagiarism: "Obey Giant" or "Obey Plagiarist"

Final: You are online moguls! Everything will be online!
Individual blogs up and complete: all work from the semester with some genius text!
CafePress stores stocked!
Calendar specs for ordering!

This is AMAZING!!

I still feel lousy.
In the immortal words of one Dan Clowes, comic genius and author of "Art School Confidential,"   "Hope I die soon."

But, if not, I'll see you Thursday (that's actually my preference).


Birds and More Birds

I'm about to put some further directions on the blog along with a quick calendar of how our year is wrapping up (gasp!!). For this week you'll proceed to work in class on the 9 card series/set of images as well as produce the sketch/comp for the single, large piece. This might be tough, because you are working with mixed media. Do the best you can to indicate to me (the Art Director) what/how you are thinking.

If you want to branch out and have more blanks to work with buy some cards. There is not a limit on these small, immediate pieces. The flavor you get going in those will help inform your larger piece and vice-versa.

Here are the links we explored in class (among others):

Example #1
Example #2

These need to be mixed-media pieces, so mix it up! See you in studio this week- work day!


This Week- Big BIRD Doin's! And Who is Ustad Mansur?

Ok, campers, bring to class this week the following items, 'cause we're working up a STORM of visual BIRDNESS on the heels of our total immersion in "Ornithology" last week! Here goes:

Those markers we talked about last week (set of cold or warm grays, not mixed, and a black sharpie).

Bring your regular art kit with stuff to make color (pencils, paints, markers, and/or pastels, etc.), cut things (scissors, or X-acto knife), adhere things (masking tape, glue stick, or acrylic medium) and your notes from last week's activities.

Your genius text (you're writing this, remember? 1-2 paragraphs of intelligence, wit and/or profound musings on birds, birding, or another bird-related avenue you've been led down through your research).

For more inspiration, click here: CLICK HERE, or HERE, or HERE , or HERE, and so on. I mean, stretch your (bird)brain!


Class This Week...

Bring your sketchbooks and stuff to work in them with (pens, pencils, markers, etc.). You'll have to be "portable."

Also, preview the show in the Contemporary Art Gallery, "Ornithology." Click here for a show preview.

Don't forget to think about the work as you look at it. We are going to have this in our memory banks so that when we go to the screening of Michael Gitlin's "The Birdpeople"and "Ornithology" panel discussion at the Dodd Center during our class time we will have context:

We're Going To This

So block it out on your calendar.
Click on this picture for details.


FREE Conference Upcoming- Also, Nearby

The Connecticut Art Directors Club is local AND not expensive for you to join as a student. You should! Never underestimate how important it is to get out and connect with other professional people. PLUS, they sponsor a conference in April that is FREE for students to attend. They get some great pro's coming in to speak, so go. Here is a handy link to the conference:

Conference you should NOT MISS!

They also have a $500 scholarship opportunity for students currently enrolled in an accredited program (UConn is). Check it out!

Special Guest Star!!

Hi Folks!

We're having a visitor on Thursday (afternoon) that will provide us with an up-close-and-personal view into the current state of children's books in the US. So, come prepared to dialogue and ask questions (yes, I'm watching). Here is her bio:

"Susannah Richards is an Assistant Professor of Reading/Language Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on language arts methods, children's and young adult literature, and reading and writing strategies for elementary and secondary teachers. She reads, collects, reviews and presents on books for youth at state and national conferences. She currently writes a column on books, reviews picture books for School Library Journal and is on the ballot for the 2010 Caldecott Committee."

And just in case you don't know, the Caldecott Medal is THE award for illustration in children's picture books. So, that makes Dr. Richards a total expert AND genius, and we are lucky to have her visit.

Go here:  Guess I should learn about the Caldecott Medal

She'll join us at 12:30 pm in #108.


A-L-M-O-S-T Break... But Not Quite

Ok, as you careen into the Spring Break week please keep these things in mind with regard to ART 271-02:

Our blogs need an infusion of creativity. I'm checking them out over the break. So far you have added a CafePress Store link and added a Flickr link. Now, put stuff in both of those places so that we have something to see when we follow your links, instead of feeling like idiots for blindly following your "links-to-nowhere."

You're working on assignment #3, "Calendar." Don't lose sight of this completely in the mists of inebriation that will cloud your vision as you laze about Cancun, Ibiza, or wherever else you are celebrating Spring Bacchanal. We continue on our work full speed ahead the following week. Think of the return as your ART Bacchanal! Come back with thumbnails, 3 roughs, 1 color comp. Show value decisions. Decide on a major palette. Don't overcomplicate the color! Use reference! LOOK at other illustration work! LOOK at other ways of making work!

Invest in the process and the great product will evolve from that.


CafePress Stores!

Hey, remember your stores?! What's there? Do you have it linked to your blog? If not, do that this week. Or else! Just so you know I'm playing along, here is mine: Prof. D's cool stuff


The "Free Lessons" Department

Check out this pair of demos from Gary Kelley. You'll be glad you did. Especially around 2 am next Wednesday night when you're down to that one, last piece of paper:

The Only Thing Better Than Making Art Is...

... Looking at other really tasty work! To that end we have on today's menu a selection of main courses that are so appealing, so fulfilling, so beautifully presented that you will want to stay forever and never go hungry again!

Ok, all I'm really hoping for is that you've read this far and you'll click on the following links and educate yourselves:

So, that mess you made with pastels? Guess what- it doesn't have to be a mess! These folks don't make a mess and there's no reason you should either!


Entirely Free Gift Waiting For YOU!!

Yes! Free! A genius bit o' comic wit and wisdom is YOURS merely for going to the second floor and plucking (from the envelope on the wall next to my office) a copy of something that will change your life.

"What can this be?!" you ask. Just remember to thank me later...


Remember Cathie Bleck? Scratchboard Wonder Woman? She's HERE!!

You saw her work when you couldn't get enough of it at her own website! Now see her LIVE and IN PERSON at the New Britain Museum of Art:   Sunday, February 24th, 3-5 pm.

It's a great opportunity for you to see a show of this quality without lots of travel time. Who could ask for more? You'll be back on Sunday in plenty of time to ignore what you need to do for Monday. I'm planning the same!

Really. Go. After struggling through your own recent scratchboard pieces you'll have a new appreciation for the work of this woman who tames the clayboard like no other!

Get directions to the museum here:   Go HERE, then click on "General Information"


This Week's Top Secret Instructions

This week I'm unable to be in studio on the 21st. Remember that there are Office Hours (and hours, and hours) on Wednesday the 20th from 11 am - 1 pm.

We're working on "Forks" and you've got the text. Invest in the process up front (that means do lots of research and thumbnails along with it. These will be turned in at the end, along with your final illustration).

Remember, you can make a decent comp by copying or scanning your pencil drawing (at a small size, not 11" x 17"!) and going at it with colored pencil (for the comp, not the finished piece- we're using larger materials for that, remember).

The color-scheme parameters: monochromatic, analogous or a complementary pair.

Don't whine- you can make magic within those parameters!


It All Started Like This, See...

Yesterday (Valentine's Day) we were the lucky recipients of a presentation by Mr. Michael Sloan, DGI (Damn Good Illustrator). That's an official professional term that you folks will be expected to know. There are a few snaps here showing us a) Digging his work, b) digging his work some more, c) really digging his work, and d) digging it, and then some!

Thanks, Michael Sloan, for taking time out of your busy studio day to be with us, and for the great (illustrated) dog and pony show. I guess it's really more of a "Professor Nimbus Show." There are not enough "Conversation Hearts" in all of CVS to do you justice!



Michael Sloan's Super-Great Poster Art

Michael Sloan sent this great image in advance of his talk this week. Be in the Pit at 12:30 pm on Thursday the 14th to see his amazing display of technological skills (slide show- digital), some original work (that you cannot even THINK of touching with your dirty lunchtime hands) and other wonderful things.

Go HERE, look, and think. You'll need to formulate some questions so there is not that embarrassing SILENCE when our guest asks if there are any questions.

Don't make me open the can of whup-ass you've seen on my  little classroom cart, eh?!


The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis

Another great illustrated book you should know about and desire to possess! The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis, is an outstanding autobiographical effort. Plus he mentions the Beatles. More than once. Since we were groovin' to a "reasonable facsimile" of the Beatles last week in studio (the "Across the Universe" soundtrack, courtesy of Kat H.) you might dig this image? Click the link on the right to check out the book.


Last Minute Scratchboard Slump? Check Out Cathie Bleck's Work!

Oh, Art 271-2ers! I see you have all been working feverishly day and night, night and day, then night again, on your bookplate designs, stopping only occasionally for beer and cigarettes, unable to divert your focus to anything else, it's bookplates, bookplates, bookplates,... and then I woke up!
But seriously, here is some more work by an accomplished illustrator that is right up our Ex Libris Alley in the "materials" sense as well as the "strong compositions in black and white" sense. Check out Cathie Bleck's scratchboard and printmaking work here (along with some drawings, and so on): work I'd better look at before Thursday!


Namaste, Student Human Rights Journal, Wants YOUR Artwork

One of our on-campus literary endeavors, Namaste, has contacted me seeking submissions of artwork. The link to the right gets you to the journal and you can check it out. The submission info there is for 2006. So, use the e-mail there to contact them and get:

Current theme
Current deadline
Current specs for artwork, if there are any

You need to think about publishing and there's no time like the present! Believe me, if you're waiting for a time when everything feels like it's in place to submit or show your work, that day NEVER arrives.

Sometimes you gotta jump!


Michael Sloan, Please Be Our Valentine!

On February 14th, illustrator Michael Sloan will be our guest in ART 271! Get a sneak preview by visiting his smart and groovy website. He's done all sorts of work for clients like the New Yorker, New York Times and Wall Street Journal (to name just a few). His "Professor Nimbus" comic series is sure to please. He'll be here to talk about it all, and then some, after which we'll shower him with gratitude and eat liberally from a giant bowl of conversation hearts. Don't miss out- BE THERE!

Super-Exciting Project Part II! (Bookplates, Remember?)

Ok, I know most of you have put aside the Super Bowl to work on your bookplate assignment, which is entirely normal and also very collegiate. Good for you! It's time to be reminded, though, of what is due for this coming week.

Yes, Sunday evening is a downer for all of us, and if I'm going to suffer, then so are you.

#1: Remember that linocut and scratchboard are BOTH "reductive" processes. That means think about this as you cut or scratch. If this is confusing be sure to look at the (really good) scratchboard demo that's been posted. There are visuals there of what you should NOT do (i.e. "a common mistake," and "it's not a negative"). That's in red. Red equals NOT.

#2: Come into class on Thursday the 7th with your work far enough along that you can finish it by noon. Those of you with blocks will then print. Those of you with scratchboard will scan. I'll help you do this, so watch the in-class demo if you've not scanned anything before. The equipment may suck but you don't have to!
(If you are printing a linocut, print on a variety of papers; the texture of the paper you print on can be used in the final digital image).

#3: Store your image on ArtSpace.

#4: Then we'll have a workshop on making a sticker sheet in InDesign- all you have to do is pay attention and follow along. Harder than it sounds!

By Thursday, February 14th, you should have the
completed image in a digital file, a sheet of stickers in an InDesign document, and a printout of the sticker sheet.

Also, be prepared at that time to present your project in critique. Let us know what became the focus of your project. Think about whether or not your image is effective at the smaller size.


The "Free Lesson" Department

Clicking on the title above will lead you to a really good online tutorial about the basics of using scratchboard. This fella, Russ McMullan,  is also very good and works differently from Mark Summers. See? A little somethin' for everyone. Feel the (scratchboard) love!

Mark Summers, Scratchboard GOD!

Hi Folks. Those of you working in scratchboard will be knocked out by Mark Summers' awesome skills. Click on the title above to be magically transported to the site of his rep, Richard Solomon, and see his work. And if that's not enough, here's another link. Most of his original work is very small size stuff. If you'd like to try this type of work do it now, while your youthful eyes can still see things at that size!


Joe Sacco: You'll Like His Work. And It's Important Work, Too!

Hi All, here's a general-purpose-we-love-graphic-storytelling link to check out. Joe Sacco's book, Palestine, was ground-breaking fifteen years ago. As time goes by it is still a powerful work and, as he notes in this interview, still sadly relevant.

This interview is a quick read, and previews a new anniversary release of Palestine that will include some of his process work, amongst other things.


ART 271, Your Lives Just Got Even BETTER!

Hey You'all,

Here is a link sent by bookplate fan Lewis Jaffe. He maintains a site that you'll find interesting and informative. Trust a bookplate fan!

Be sure to scroll down and find the genesis of this featured bookplate.


ART 271, Ex Libris: Just Another Name For a Super-Exciting Project!

Ex Libris

You will be designing a bookplate. What is a bookplate? Why are they important? What is interesting about them historically? What do you notice is done with them in contemporary times?

Also look up “Ex Libris” in Google, under “Images” and take note of the great variety that is included in terms of style and approach in this art form. Pay attention to what you see- what do these images say? What do they reflect?

Your image will be reproduced no larger than 3” x 3” in the end. You may work larger but you will all be scanning in your line art (the black and white art you are creating for this project) in order to make a sheet of stickers. You can add a single color to the bookplate digitally, but just one!

You will work either in linocut (linoleum, rubber or plastic block cut) or scratchboard. This is your choice. Materials for either can be purchased at the Lily Pad, Utrecht, Pearl Paint, Dick Blick, Jerry’s Artarama, etc.

Your theme is: “Who I am.” How does that relate to what you’ve already seen and learned about bookplates or “Ex Libris” so far?

You will:

Draw 20-30 thumbnail images documenting your early thoughts and ideas. These are very small (about 1” x 1”) and do not have to be detailed. In fact, if you are going right to the details of ANYTHING you are cutting off your brain and focusing on one thing too soon. Fight the urge to jump into developing details. You want to generate ideas, one after another, first. A good way to do thumbnails is with a pen or marker on copier paper, tracing paper, or in a sketchbook. These are not precious but they ARE very, very important.

Choose three thumbnails that you think have possibilities- rough them up larger (again, using only black). We will pin these up to look at them. These can be to size. NOW you can think in a more detailed fashion and draw accordingly- these are still not “finished” drawings but are close. These are called “comps” which is short for “comprehensive.”

After these three comps, you will choose one to refine and take forward. You'll go into your linocut or scratchboard piece during studio time this coming Thursday, the 31st.


January 22, 2008! Best Day of Your Life!

What it says! All the best info for your classes will be found here. No foolin'!