Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Illustration Master Class

I spent the last week in Amherst, Mass, for the Illustration Master Class. It's an intensive weeklong illustration boot camp focusing on fantasy, sci-fi, and children's illustration. I was one of fifteen faculty members and guest speakers. Follow the link above to see more about it, and look at pictures from previous years. It's really kind of an amazing program. Faculty assistant Julia Griffin called it "Hogwarts for Illustrators," which couldn't be more right.

I don't have any of my own photos from the week, but here are shots of me working on an assignment at the IMC courtesy of Kim Kincaid. Note that in the background there is original art by Dan Dos Santos, Rebecca Guay, Gregory Manchess, and Jeff Mack.

Anyway, during my lecture I tried something a little risky. I put up the cover to my next novel, COLD CEREAL, and asked the hundred-odd students to critique it. Here's what they saw:

They had a lot to say. It was unfocused. It was like "visual hopscotch," as one woman put it. The row of windows cut the composition in half in kind of an unappealing way. The door should be bigger. The hero should be bigger. They were right about everything.

That's what I ended up with after I'd processed their suggestions. It's a much stronger cover now, in my opinion.

I wouldn't normally show this cover so early, since the book doesn't come out until February, but I want the IMC alumni to see what I've done. Thanks again to the students, and to Rebecca Guay for putting the whole program together.


Anonymous said...

The IMC is on my to-do list for 2012. Now to just have the money and time available.

Vinod Rams said...

Yeah I was sorry I couldn't go when I saw the faculty list. Ian McCaig!
Good changes on that painting too.

rachel said...

Help! Is it just me or are those Cold Cereal images the same? Is it a joke I'm not getting?

Adam Rex said...

I think it's worth every penny, Wendy.

Hey Vinod! I have never met a person so enthusiastic about life as Iain McCaig.

rachel–The most significant differences: 1. The doorway area with it's cartoonish characters and hero are larger. Note the way they break the line of the building. 2. There is no longer a row of yellow windows in the second version. 3. My name is larger. 4. A water tower has been moved. 5. The graffiti on this same water tower is missing.

There are a number of other changes to color and texture, but they're small and hard to see at this size. Thanks for playing. There will be no parting gifts.

rachel said...

Thanks for the pointers, but I opened both images in separate tabs in my browser and flipped rapidly back and forth between them and nothing changed, down to the pixels. I think it was a linking problem, rather than me being unobservant, especially since I still have those tabs open and... they're exactly the same. I guess it was just the same image posted twice and I was looking for differences between the two?

I do think it's an improvement from the one we saw at the IMC, though! Can't wait to read it :)

Joy said...

I'm glad you posted the cover early. Now I can't wait for the book!

Carolyn said...

Very cool, I want to do a workshop like that in the future. I think the only thing ok to put in front of boot camp is 'illustration.'

Steven Belledin said...

I was really excited to see that you were going to be there this year as I now live in Massachusetts and figured I could swing by and meet you in person on visitor's day or some such. 'Course as luck would have it I ended up being invited to Japan the same week. Naturally I chose to go to Japan, but I do regret missing the opportunity to say hello.


Adam Rex said...

Well, that's a pretty good excuse, Steven.

Kiana said...

I didn't know where to put his, but your story on Poptropica was soooo funny!!!
You should put more of those hilarious stories on your blog!
Do you still have that plastic fish?

Adam Rex said...

Thanks, Kiana! I'm glad you took the time to let me know you liked it.

I kept that fish for years, but I don't have it anymore. I don't know what happened to it.

Anonymous said...

It looks almost exactly the same.