Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Last Saturday I attended the SketchCrawl session in Cambridge. SketchCrawl happens on the same day (once in 3 months or so) all over the world. It’s a pretty interesting event. I met some nice people and we had a fun time sketching at the cafes and bars, talking and laughing.
Our last destination was a bar in Cambridge. I was pleasantly surprised that people really respond and appreciate you doing your fast doodles. I was asked by some guys to sketch them and while doing that I met some more fun people who were curious to see me draw. We talked about drawing and painting, writing and all that artistic stuff.
Anyway, it was fun to see how excited people are to see you draw and I think my husband Ben and I made some new friends at that bar. How strange…
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Many times, I started sketchbooks and abandoned them after just a few pages because I didn’t know what to draw and, frankly, I don’t like drawing with a pencil on a white paper.
Then I came to the Academy. Students were sketching constantly, at the demos, lectures, studios, outside, inside, even in a bar or at the beach. I saw the most beautiful sketchbooks of our instructors and students. NONE of them were pencil drawings on white paper. People were so creative with the materials they used, the way they drew or painted, what and why they sketched what they sketched. And for the first time I was completely convinced that keeping a sketchbook does matter for all sorts of reasons: to keep improving your skills, put your ideas on paper, experiment with the media, find your personal voice, find out what you like and don’t like to draw. One book that I found very useful and inspirational in this whole sketchbook business is “An Illustrated Life” by Danny Gregory. The tipping point for me was the fact that you can PAINT in you sketchbook, you can experiment with COLOR, and you can even cover up a sketch with paint if you really don’t like it. That changed everything.
After I came back from the Academy my husband and I were in the process of moving to a new place and my life revolved around packing and unpacking for a while. I didn’t have a proper studio, so I decided to spend some time just drawing and painting anything that I came across and that interested me. For weeks I did nothing but drew in my sketchbook with no particular goal or assignment in mind. What a change!
My sketchbook images are all over the place. I haven’t figured out yet what should be in a sketchbook, how finished it should look, how realistic/unrealistic/doodly stuff should be. I’ll get there, though!
I consider “Big Fish” a break through to a different level of picture making for me. In my opinion, it is better than my previous work in terms of composition, color, level of finish, etc. It’s done on a watercolor paper with a brown pencil value drawing + watercolor + antique white watercolor (which makes it gouache). The best part is that every instructor brought a bit of his or her own knowledge and advice to this piece and helped me to get to this next level. Thank you my Academy instructors!!!
While at MassArt, I tried to experiment with different media as much as possible: watercolor, gouache, acrylic, scratchboard and even 3-D (sculptural) illustration.
3-D illustration was very experimental and time consuming. There were a lot of things I had to learn and research on my own about sculpting, building the sets for the backgrounds, lighting and photography. 3-D illustration doesn’t exist until you get a really good photograph. It might take hours and hours to get that perfect (or almost perfect) shot. Even though people seem to respond to 3-D illustration, I don’t think this is for me. Yes, I agree that the results are interesting and unusual, but there are so many things that are not there.
With 2-D illustration (paintings) I can have more dynamic compositions, more mature and sophisticated color and the incomparable experience of painting, creating the world on a flat piece of paper. There is something about painting that gives me the biggest satisfaction. While working a project, when I finally get to the color studies and painting (after spending hours on thumbnails and sketches), I feel the most engaged and fulfilled.
At MassArt I settled on gouache as my medium of choice, though I was not completely happy with the results.
My name is Katia Wish. I'm originally from Belarus and moved to the USA at the age of 19. 19 is a curious age to move to a foreign country, because you are old enough to already have your views, values, outlook on the work and, obviously, an accent. At the same time, you are young enough to get used to a new culture and way of life, and to form new views and opinions.
I received an Illustration degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in May 2009. Before coming to MassArt I had a vague understanding of what illustration is, which is probably the case for the majority of the population. As soon as I started my degree and learned about different opportunities in illustration and looked at the work of various illustrators, I fell in love with illustration and everything that has to do with it. I am grateful to my instructors for believing in me and pushing me to work hard.
A week after graduating MassArt I headed to Sarasota, Florida to attend the Illustration Academy. It was an excellent time to immerse myself in this absolutely intense and beautiful seven-week program. Thanks to my instructors at MassArt I had enough knowledge and experience not to be completely shocked and overwhelmed at the Academy. Nevertheless, the Illustration Academy was one of the most intense, rewarding, soul-crushing and soul-saving experiences of my illustration life. The instructors and the students I met there are extremely inspiring and hardworking group of people.
Whoever you are, thank you for checking out my blog and going on this sketchblog journey with me. I’ll try to post new stuff on a regular basis.