On Wednesday I spoke to two classes of juniors at my alma mater, Moore College of Art, through an invitation from their ‘Prep for Internship’ teacher Glenn Zimmer, an excellent children’s book illustrator and friend of mine from the Bucks County Illustrators Society.
The classroom was a bit different from the rooms that I remember from my days drawing with the wonderfully talented and endearing Beth Krush in the late 70s. Large screen Macs & Epson printers now top long work tables, and swivel chairs are comfortably upholstered for long stretches at the computer. No high wooden drawing tables and metal stools, which were standard issue during my years there. Also in this room: no tall windows overlooking the Ben Franklin Parkway — we were in the basement.
I began by asking the students whether one crucial thing was still the same now as when I went to Moore: did art students still stay up to the wee hours finishing drawing assignments, or did these sleek new computers make everything so easy that you could finish your work in a snap and go hang out with friends the rest of the evening? Laughs, groans and protests. Bingo! One thing remains the same.
I gave a run down of my career path, with sample art projected onto a screen: my Moore internship at the PA School for the Deaf, art director at Westminster Press, and freelance after my kids were born, for Burpee, newspapers, agencies, theaters, kids books. Then on to Marketing for Illustrators: how to determine your value as an artist & communicate that online, in print and in person. The students had some very good answers to the questions I posed, obviously they have been thinking about this for a while. When I finished, there was time left for me to sit with each student and see their online portfolios.
I have to say, there is some very impressive design and illustration going on in these classes. I loved the samples that many had for a class assignment for the site TheyDrawAndCook.com – illustrated recipes, but there is clever page design involved too. Also VERY happy to see so much life drawing in the portfolios, both from live models and from casts and props in the drawing studios. It’s encouraging that they still learn these vital drawing skills as well as the elaborate technology necessary for today’s media – I mean, where do they get the time? Oh yes, That Thing That Has Remained the Same.
Now Glenn tells me they will all write reports on my talk, so it will be interesting to see what these illustrators retained. I wonder if any of them will do that thing that I said makes such a good impression on professionals because it’s so seldom done? Not going to give it away. Think about it, kids.