Drawing with Kids and Parents at the Michener Museum

From “Let’s Visit New Hope” illustrated by Pat Achilles

I’m happy to say that I was asked by the Michener Museum here in Doylestown to lead a fun and imaginative drawing class for families in November. Unplugged Sundays @ The Michener is a program the museum sponsors to get kids into art, and their parents are encouraged to hang out and get creative too.

My 2 hour class will be about Illustration and Storytelling. I’ll show some of my illustrations and how I create them, then we will chat about the theme ‘Going on a Journey.’ We’ll look at how other artists have made stories and pictures about journeys, whether they are by foot, by bicycle, or spaceship or submarine – and then we’ll break out the wild and colorful museum art supplies and draw our own adventurous journeys!

This drawing workshop is for children ages 6 and up, and we invite parents/guardians to stay and enjoy the fun too – working together is encouraged! The workshop is on Sunday, November 17 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and pre-registration is required, as seating is limited. The beautiful Michener Museum is at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA, and parking is right next door at the large Doylestown Library parking lot. Unplugged Sundays @ the Michener is sponsored by The Leff Family Foundation.

Illustration of a Historic Home

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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I drew this beautiful American Craftsman-influenced home in Doylestown in pen and ink several years back, for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s Christmas in Doylestown House Tour. The Tour continues every year, with stunning homes decorated for the holidays, and benefits local charities.

New Christmas Card Illustration

donchez_achilles_holidaycard_photoI’ve illustrated dozens of greeting cards, some very specific for businesses and some more generic for broad audiences. The card I just completed rather combines the two, and gives a special nod to my hometown of Doylestown, PA.

My friend Lynne Anne Donchez has owned and operated L.A.D. Hairdressing for many years in the heart of Doylestown. She is a well-recognized person about town because she actively participates in any number of community events – one of those being the Arrival of Santa Claus to Doylestown, where Santa is driven on a fire truck to his ‘house’ in the middle of town on the day after Thanksgiving. She told me months ago that she’s heard that many little children ask why Santa does not come to own with his reindeer  – so she wrote a delightful short story explaining that little mystery. And she asked, would I illustrate it?

oatmealglitter_card_sketch2While illustrating a whole story takes a good bit of time, I did think of a variation of that idea, which would be doable: how about making it into a Christmas card with one illustration on the front? If the card is well received, next year I could illustrate a few more scenes.  Eventually we could make a whole book! Lynne Anne loved that idea.

There is a classic scene of Santa’s aerial arrival in her book, which I really liked – it takes place on the campus of Delaware Valley University, a well-known local school that specializes in agriculture and animal sciences. I went over there and photographed a part of the campus near the equine center. I sketched the reindeer swirling in for their landing, with students watching nearby.

donchez_reindeer_colorsketchI did a very quick color sketch with colored pencils on top of a scan of the pencil sketch.  I knew I wanted a night sky and the reflective blue that snow has on a bright evening. I wanted that explosion of snow as the lead reindeer touches down to be a focal point of the illustration.

I drew the illustration in ink on illustration board and painted it with acrylic paint washes. I’ve designed the card so that Lynne Anne’s story is printed on the inside of the card, and continued on the back. And we secured permission from Delaware Valley University to mention the school in the story, so we are ready to market the cards. They will be sold both in LAD & Co. and here on my website. The cost is $4.00 per card with envelope. Click here to see ordering information for this card.

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Sketches from Doylestown Arts Festival

My hometown had a beautiful weekend for its arts fest, where they block of the center of town from traffic and dozens of artists, photographers and craftsmen exhibit and sell their work. There are also five locations for live music all day, and I enjoyed hearing some masterful finger-pickin’ and jazz by local musicians. I like to sketch while listening to the music – sometimes it gets hard to draw when my foot won’t stop tapping!doylestownartsfest_sketch5

Above and below are fellas from Raven Hill –  can’t say enough great things about their deft bluegrass musicianship.

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Seamus Kelleher below, virtuoso guitarist (and Irish wit thrown in for free).

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Above and below, two of the four young guys from Diversity Jazz Quartet, who laid down beautiful, smooth riffs with expert skill – loved their sound!

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Illustration of a Charming Episcopal Church

stpaulsstpledetailmottlMy friends at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Doylestown asked me to paint a keepsake for their much loved pastor. The pastor and her husband, also an Episcopal priest, will retire to their new home out-of-state soon; so in thinking about what they would want to remember of their time here, I settled on an illustration of this beautiful 1840s church building. But to make it something unique to this couple, I wanted to depict a specific event and also include the people of the congregation. I think any parish member knows that while the church building may be the body of this worshiping community, the people are its heart and soul.

I chose to illustrate the Easter Vigil procession.  Every year on the evening before Easter Sunday, the parishioners start this service around sunset in the columbarium garden, and walk solemnly around the outside of the church – a lovely tradition demonstrating the sacred importance of the holy day to come.

mottlsk1I made a little sketch to start off my concept. I knew I had to get good reference for the building and also the vestments and accessories of the procession, so I went over to the church and snapped some photos.  I saw I’d probably have to move my view to the right, instead of the head-on view in my first composition, to get the entire train of clergy, servers and choir and also the congregation wrapping around the corner of the building. I met with a friend on the altar guild, who showed me some of the vestments and gave me important details of the procession.

With this photographic reference, I drew a pencil sketch of the church on one piece of paper and sketched out the figures on an overlay of tracing paper. This way I could move the figures around to get the best effect for the placement of the procession. Originally I had thought to place the crucifix, which is carried by the crucifer leading the line, against the red church doors; then I realized it would not stand out much in color, and that the lighted Pascal Candle would stand out much better.

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I colored a photocopy of the sketch roughly with colored pencils. I made sure to include the incense from the thurible, a few birds perched on and circling the roof, and the hint of the red geraniums that the pastor plants annually along this side of the church.

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Tomorrow I’ll conclude showing the process of the finished art.

Mascot for Pumpkinfest

Doylestown hosts a great October family festival this Saturday, called Pumpkinfest, held at the awesome Moravian Tile Works.  The Tile Works has a magnificent arcade area in which a dozen or more artists with mad carving skills will convene to coax almost supernatural scenes out of these autumnal gourds. When the pumpkins are lit at night it’s an amazing sight.

The organization sponsoring Pumpkinfeat this year is CB Cares, which does great work with in drug abuse prevention for youth in our community.  Kimberly Cambra asked me to draw the festival’s mascot, Gourdy B, for the cover of the fest’s program/coloring/recipe book this year.  Here he is, standing in front of the Tile Works.

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