Ha, I knew it. Filthy. Every last one of you. But as long as you’re here, let me tell you about the NUDITY FREE workshop I attended Saturday.
The AZ chapter of SCBWI did indeed bring in Dan Santat www.dantat.com for an all day art intensive. Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking, “Laura, sitting still for an entire DAY?” I will admit, and the folks sitting next to and behind me will attest, that my pants were indeed full of ants by about two o’clock, but the day was was well worth it. Dan brought an entire art studio with him and proceeded to bare his process and technique souls for all of us. The first couple of hours provided a thorough and concise synopsis of my entire Freshman Foundation year of art school, and left me really wishing I could have just read Dan’s packet and kept the tuition. He shared dummies, sketches, a traditional painting tutorial AND a Photoshop tutorial, which as a new digital convert had me riveted. It was capped off by Dan removing his shirt (he had another on underneath-you PEOPLE) and scanning the pattern in to demonstrate a computer collage technique. If you attend enough of these events, you become used to the jaded and the condescending. These were not Dan. He LITERALLY gave the shirt off his back.
I am currently in the early stages of a career reinvention. These things happen to us forty-somethings, but rather than start knitting hemp butter churns and selling them on Etsy, I’m trying to work up the cred to sit at the writer table in the lunchroom, and also bring my illustration style more in line with this writing since as you might have noticed, me likey the funny. I mean, I have a “hamsters with props” calendar for cryin’ out loud. For the workshop, Dan had us copy an illustration by an illustrator we admire and for me that illustrator was the amusing and giggle-inducing Mary Sullivan www.marysullivan.com The wittiness of her work cracks me up every time. Go ahead, go look, I’ll wait…da, da, da dumdee do dum…See! What did I tell you.
Anyway, Mary has no worries about me plagiarizing. My copy was superficially accurate (-ish) but missing all of the spontaneous joy that makes her work hers. The second part of the assignment was to do another illustration INSPIRED by the illustrator you chose, and this sketch to the right is what I ended up with. You can see a little of Mary in the arms and of course the squiggly line border (I am stealing the squiggly line border, that I can do, if I measure first, and make sure it’s straight, and go back over it a few times…) I was snickering to myself while I drew it (partly because it is semi-autobiographical. I’m not sure my sister would find it as amusing.) It was FUN. That for me was the biggest message of Dan’s workshop.The work may be frustrating at times, but you should still be having fun.