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Monday, January 11, 2010

Your Unnecessary Spot Illustration of the Day

Blackboards are fun to paint, so if I get a chance to stick one into an illustration I jump at it. It's also easier to work some words into the drawing that way, and words are marginally easier to contend with than drawing. This might be what makes one a cartoonist; not a facility for combining art and language, but an inability to decide which one you'd rather be using.

I don't know; whatever. This was done for an academic engineering association magazine, and the article detailed the sometimes-overwhelmingness of the academic life. I've only got a passing acquaintance with academia- a coupla years at a (very good) community college without graduating and a brief stint teaching illustration at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore as an adjunct professor (I think it's called). It was a limited course of one day a week for a month, but pretty hands-on. I ran out of things to say really quickly, and the students probably wished they'd chosen one of the other professionals to learn from. But it was fun and interesting, and I did learn that as a teacher I lack the ability to teach.

I will attempt to teach you this; my secret to painting an interesting blackboard in watercolor. The board is a loose mix of two colors that I often use for a dull yet textured green: Daniel Smith quinacridone burnt orange and Holbein terra verte. They're opposites in several ways. The burnt orange is transparent and staining and the terra verte is opaque and floats above the orange. Put some of the orange down and flood it with the terra verte and it'll granulate quite nicely, then keep messing with it till satisfied. The white lettering is Schmincke's Calligraphy Gouache, which is very heavily pigmented and dense, and applied with a long, thin lettering brush. There, who says I can't teach? For extra credit, somebody please tell me why stints are always brief.

6 comments:

Rich Adams said...

I think you might know where this question is heading... now that you've shared two of the colors you've used, do you have a "standard" palette of your favorite watercolors? I know this is a bit like asking which is your favorite letter in the alphabet, but I thought it might continue on the education theme...

I love quin. burnt orange, by the way. Interesting to see it combined with terra verte. It produces a terrifically natural brown.

Jeremy said...

Just a note: stints may be brief, but they may also be healthy. Brief stints are not healthy, and healthy stints are not brief.

Kid Shay said...

I'm totally going to try to paint a blackboard now. I second the question about your color palette.

Paul said...

If it's brief, it's a stint. If it gets too long to be a stint, then it's a stunt. (Latin, past participle, "skimp"; ablative, "shrink"; infinitive, "splint"; constipative, "spunk").

p.s. I assume the engineers gave you flak about dividing by infinity? An "undefined" term, i.e. big no-no.

p.p.s. Anyone who takes a cartooning course expecting the professor to just talk might want to re-consider their career choice.

Kerry said...

i absolutely LOVE the blackboard!

paul bowman said...

I have a hard-working, long-suffering illustrator friend just tapped for one of those prestigious MICA adjunct stints. Hoping for his sake that brevity isn't of the essence.