L.A. SCBWI Conference Illustrator Intensive Highlights PART 2

CONTINUED from Monday...
This is a continuation of the last post I put up featuring highlights from the 2011 L.A. SCBWI Conference Illustrator Intensive. If you missed PART 1, please read that first. 
 The fourth presentation:
 -He said growing as an artist helps him grow spiritually. Without that, life feels kind of empty. He said art is a window to one's spirit -- the hope is that others will feel what he feels when he makes it.
 - If you put love into your art, love will come out of it.

- A good painting is feeling the spirit when you make it, a great painting is when you transfer that to the viewer.

-His talk inspired me on a spiritual level. After watching and listening to him I felt a little window open in my head for how I can be braver in my own work. Amen for that.
The fifth presentation:

-She did a demonstration of her pulp painting technique, which I was especially happy to see in person being that I'm a paper maker too (I don't do pulp painting, but I make a lot of the paper in my collages). For those interested, Denise has a detailed youtube video about how she works here (skip ahead to about the 10 minute mark to see her working in her studio).

-She uses a series of cut-out foam stencils that she fills with pulp using squeeze bottles.

-She buys ready-beaten pulp from twinrocker paper-making suppliers (I use the same company to buy my pigments but I beat my own pulp -- but not in the technically proper fashion as the twinrocker folks do. I use the low-tech approach: a kitchen blender, which has pluses and minuses I'm well aware of).

 - When she makes paper with kids in schools she uses embroidery hoops as the moulds and deckles and sometimes has them use cookie cutters for the stencils.

-Denise is a funny and spirited artist. I will forever be in the Denise Fleming fan club after she generously offered all-night critiques complete with loads of laughs and insight at the Weekend in The Woods Retreat in Washington State several years ago. So it was especially fun to get to see her creating her work in person at the illustrator intensive.
 The sixth presentation:

-One of my favorite things he said was: "The artist's duty is not to surprise the viewer but to surprise himself."

-David demonstrated drawing loosly and fast and encouraged artists to practice drawing fast and from life, often. Try 1 minute, 2 minute and 5 minute timed drawings, just like you may have done in art school -- only keep up the practice.

-He learned to keep things lively by copying famous works of people who he admires.
 -Many of the picture books he has illustrated are written by his wife, Sarah Stewart. He said his philosophy of life can be the opposite of Sarah's and there's something beautiful about melding the two opposite philosophies of life into the same works.

-Prefers drawing in a really classical sense. 

-Another favorite quote: "Drawing is like breathing."
 The seventh presentation:

-He draws from photos and keeps a large library of favorite nature pictures for reference.

-He said that if his personal life feels rocky, he sometimes uses the drawing as a security blanket and a place to go.
 -He never spends more than 3 days on an image (but it could be 10-hour-days if he's working really intensely).

-If he gets stuck he tries changing around his palette, changing around his subject, or sometimes it's a deadline that gets him unstuck.

-When he draws he doesn't worry about a light source, he just worries about where he wants your eye to go.


Yes! It was a day of WOW! I gained many personal insights that I started to write into this post but decided were better saved for their own post (maybe next week? Can I stretch things out that long?).

Thank you to all the illustrators and those who organized the event. It was a truly remarkable day.

If you're interested check back next week and I'll post my personal take-aways. Cheers!