It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Drawing from Sketches and Photos, Learning about the Form

(graphite by Jennifer Muto)

Our March - April classes were focused on drawing birds after sketching at the zoo and drawing plants from reference photos. We also had a "Drawing on Tradition" course and the students learned about Celia May Gibbs, Australia's first full-time, professionally trained children's book illustrator. The key for all success is to learn how to portray light and shadow; that skill is acquired at our often repeated Light on Form - classes. Please see some images from these classes by clicking here.   

(Colored pencil on mylar by Laura Farnsworth)

Friday, April 11, 2014

"The Simplest Sketch is more valuable than a photograph" (Sibley, 2014)

Couple of weekends ago, David Allen Sibley visited Colorado to document the 810th  North American bird in his register and the one he had not yet seen in the real life, Gunnison Sage-Grouse. D. A. Sibley is the author and illustrator of THE bird guide for North American Birds. He included more than 6600 illustrations in his guide published first time in 2000 and had its 11th printing in 2011. The second edition came out this year.
Colorado Public Radio met with him and aired the interview in Colorado Matters. During the interview Sibley discusses the value of sketching, how it compares to photography and the importance of observation. For him sketching equals birdwatching.
Please enjoy the slideshow and the highly interesting audio of the interview.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Denver Mountain Parks in Cafe Botanic Wednesday April 16th

Denver Mountain Parks:
100 Years of the Magnificent Dream
by Erika Walker

In 1912, Denver citizens voted to develop the Denver Mountain Parks and today many of these parks, such as Red Rocks, Summit Lake and Lookout Mountain, are the most-visited tourist sites in Colorado. Denver Mountain Parks: 100 Years of the Magnificent Dream, written to celebrate the mountain parks' centennial, presents the complete history of the mountain parks from their beginnings to the present day. The book, illustrated with historic photographs and maps, showcases 72 new John Fielder photographs and 26 Then-and-Now images pairs.  The Denver Mountain Parks preserve an important part of Colorado's history and provide a vital connection to open space today. Join us to learn about the mountain parks and how you can help insure their future for the next one hundred years.

Erika D. Walker, MS, one of the book's three co-authors, is a native Coloradan with a passion for preserving open space. She works as a writer and educator, and serves on the board of Bluff Lake Nature Center. She is the great-granddaughter of early Denver Mountain Parks advocate John Brisben Walker.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Denver Botanic Gardens -- Gates Hall
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.


(Reserve your seat, click here)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sequential Art - Visual Storytelling


(Pages in development for a graphic novelization of Joseph Banks voyage on the Endeavour by David R. Clarke, please click to enlarge)

New Addition to our Summer Selection:

From the prehistoric illustrations of the caves at Lascaux, France to the stained glass windows and murals of the cathedrals of the middle ages to the Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress, sequential art has been used throughout history to tell stories. Today the most common form is found in comic books and other forms of graphic narratives. 
During this 3-day workshop you learn about the power of graphic storytelling to express your message. Starting with a historical review of visual storytelling, learn how text and words can be combined to create a larger message, and how imagery can be used to enhance or undermine your text. You learn about pacing and how to use pauses and other timing techniques to tell your story from jokes to ghost stories. You'll get guidance in character development, page design, panel composition and lettering. At the end of the weekend you will have developed a small comic book of your very own and begun your journey making sequential art.

*Fee: $300 member, $380 non-member. This workshop is open for everybody; however basic understanding of drawing and composition is beneficial. (GNSI members are granted the member price; please call 720-865-3653 or 720-8653580) 
*When: • Fri. - Sun., July 18 - 20, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
*Instructor: David R. Clarke, University of Maryland 

David R. Clarke has worked as a multimedia artist developing a wide variety of learning objects for the University System of Maryland for ten years. He has also been a freelance illustrator for twenty years working in a variety of fields from children’s books to technical illustration and education to advertising. His clients have included Kelloggs, Home Depot, Simon & Schuster, Pearson Publishing and the National Aquarium. Strongly Recommended: Mr. Clarke has a two-hour presentation (Not Always) Funny Pages: Science Through Sequential Art at the GNSI 2014 Conference in Boulder on Wednesday, July 16, in the afternoon. 
(Pages in development for a graphic novelization of Joseph Banks voyage on the Endeavour by David R. Clarke, please click to enlarge)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Successful Learning at a Distance


(From Winter Storage by Karen Tillou, entry level Watercolor)

In addition to the traditional on-site Botanical Illustration curriculum our school offers since 2011 on-site/off-site program which combines classroom participation with remote online learning opportunities. This option is open to both long-distance travelers and local students. In addition to the traditional on-site Botanical Illustration curriculum our school offers since 2011 on-site/off-site program which combines classroom participation with remote online learning opportunities. This option is open to both long-distance travelers and local students. 
After an on-site intense 2-day session the students are requested to report their progress three times prior to delivering the finished plate 30 days after the classroom session. The successful completion of a final artwork is the culmination of each of the distance learning courses. The students are guided by constructive feedback from the teachers for remarkable results, and this hybrid model has proven to be very satisfactory. See some images from recently completed entry level watercolor class by clicking here.   

Monday, March 31, 2014

Volunteering and Working with Botanical Zentangle


Botanical Zentangle has been included in our course offerings since 2012. The workshops have always been sold out with a long waiting list. We believe the  technique has value in increasing creativity, enhancing composition skills and line work. Zentangle patterns are useful in understanding complicated plant forms and perspective. 


Jan Latona  is one of our active Botanical Illustration students who took the entry level botanical zentangel early on. Last year she went to Rhode Island and became a certified teacher in the method. Today she is doing valuable volunteer work with inmates in Larimer County Jail, Fort Collins, CO and teaching zentangle. Here are some examples of their creativity.  



Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorothia Rohner is the Winner with her "Firefly Forest"!

Firefly Forest by Dorothia Rohner

Dorothia Rohner won the 2014 Illustrators' Gallery at Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Book Fair in Bologna, Italy.
A selected number of our students were able to enjoy Dorothia's instruction in January 2014 when she visited our School and taught a 3-day workshop.
Congratulations Dorothia!   

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Old Techniques and New Techniques from our Winter 2014 classes


(Watercolor on Graphite by Judy Brown Santambrogio)

Some highlights form our recently completed courses. Besides our core classes, we also offered two Drawing on Tradition courses: one with Redoute and an other one with Luis Melendez as the topic and several techniques courses. Please see selected random images by clicking here or visit the BI-Facebook

(Drawing in the Tradition of Luis Melendez by Judith Blomquist) 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BI in DAM - again

(Studio space is on your left as you enter the Hamilton Building)
Denver Art Museum continues with the popular program of Drawing Studio and Weekend Artists Demonstrations. During the weekends of March 22-23 and 29-30 Susan Rubin  will be demonstrating Botanical Drawing between noon and  3 p.m. Visitors have a chance to immerse themselves in the artistic process while drawing techniques and tricks are demonstrated.
As you might remember Meredith Feniak, who is also an active part of our School, introduced the field of scientific illustration to the Art Museum audience during two different weekends in the past December.
These demonstrations are included in the general Museum admission.