Friday, November 19, 2010

Royal Tenebaums

Size: determined by artist

Create an illustration featuring at least two of the characters from The Royal Tenebaums. This may be an engaging portrait or a narrative illustration based on a scene (real or suggested).

Due: Nov 30

Email Assignment: Starbucks

Size: square spot illustration (printed 5”x5”)

Email 3 different sketches for the humor article Open Letter to Starbucks. We will not be going to final on this project, but use it as a chance to practice pitching ideas. Sketches should be 72 dpi jpegs no larger than 450 pixels wide (about 6 inches). Make sure your images are clear and presentable. I will be looking for a variety of good concepts, clarity, and punctuality.

Due: emailed by 9:10 pm on Nov 23rd.

Open Letter to Starbucks

Hey, is there anywhere to get a decent cup of coffee around here?
Oh, come on. Don't look so sad. When we're in the mood for a twenty-four-ounce cup of pumpkin-pie-flavored Cool Whip, a Feist CD covered in mocha fingerprints, a possibly exaggerated memoir by a former child soldier, and some customer "service" that denies our essential humanity, we still head straight to our corner Starbucks. Or the one across from that one. Or the one that will have opened farther down the block by the time we finish typing this sentence.
Here's the thing, though: We're never, ever in that mood.
What we do like is coffee. If coffee were smack, we'd be Pete Doherty and we'd refuse to give it up, even if it cost us our career and our supermodel girlfriend. And we'll tank up anywhere: the neighborhood joint with the womyn-friendly breast-feeding policy and the couches composed entirely of rusty springs; the swill dispenser down the hall; an AA meeting. Anywhere, that is, but Starbucks.
In this we're not alone. America is a caffeine nation, perpetually jacked up on gallons of magma-hot fuck-yeah juice, and logically you guys should still be making more money than Halliburton and Hannah Montana combined. Instead your market share is crumbling, and so is your cultural primacy. Snooty people have moved on to snootier coffee—shade-grown, fair-trade, artisanal, brought down the mountain by mules that have good dental coverage. Everybody else went back to Dunkin' Donuts. You're still part of the fabric of American life—think of Mary-Kate Olsen's ever present Venti cup, proof despite massive evidence to the contrary that she's Just Like Us—but so is soul-crushing corporate suckitude. Your new ads spotlight a straight-down-the-middle brew called Pike Place Roast. We're glad you're getting back into the coffee business—seriously, is there anything you haven't put in a latte yet? Courvoisier? DayQuil? unicorn tears?—but we've tried this stuff, and it should come with an Egg McMuffin on the side. It's a rich, complex blend of desperation and mediocrity.
The real problem is that there used to be something about you, Starbucks, and now there isn't. You were a quintessentially '90s company. You were from Seattle, the same rainy cradle of anticorporate corporateness that gave us Microsoft and major-label grunge. Young dreamers camped out in your stores all day like the cast of Friends, filling napkins with business plans for e-commerce Web sites. ("It's like for Wiccans!") We were all going to get crazy rich and wear ironic sexy grandpa T-shirts to offices where we'd play Frisbee golf instead of working. A $4 latte wasn't an extravagance; it was a little rehearsal for the cushy life that was about to be ours. Even your stupid fake-Italian language made us feel sophisticated. The 7-Eleven crowd could have their week-old bubblin' crude; we'd be over here, talking like Marcello Mastroianni, because we knew better. Even back then, you seemed a little evil-empire-ish. But man, your chairs were comfy. So we drank your overpriced espresso-shakes. We drank them up!
You know the rest. Cobain died. We got Dubya, war, a recession, and our workplace doesn't have a Centipede machine. We're living in an era of diminished expectations, and if things aren't going so well for you, maybe it isn't because people resent your McDonald's-esque omnipresence, those cups adorned with quotes from deep thinkers like Josh Groban and David Copperfield, or the fact that you roast your beans under the space shuttle. Maybe it's because your neither-luxurious-nor-particularly-affordable idea of affordable luxury now seems like a nonfat, half-caf, quadruple-grande bad joke. With extra foam.
In other words, you've brought this on yourself. If we learned one thing from The Wire, it's that you can only control all the corner real estate in town and pay disenfranchised young people to sling an addictive product for so long before you lose your grip on the game. But we're not mad at you, Starbucks. Give us a call sometime. We'll grab a coffee. It's on us—we just shorted your stock.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Student Work: Weekly Dig Cover, "Fall"

Kelly Mahoney

Eamon Smyth

Aoi Suzuki

Josh Melamed

Lindsey Desrosiers

Joe Banda

Kyla Lincoln

Matt Tanzi

Health Spot Illustrations

Size: each illustration will be printed in a 4”x 5” area. Images will have organic edges (not boxed in). You must size up your illustrations to at least 8”x10” when creating them.

Once in a while a client will hire you with an idea already in mind. For this project, take the direction below for three related spot illustrations for a health article. Make sure your images are cohesive through elements such as execution, style, and color.

“Thanks for working with us! We are putting together an article dealing with seasonal illness and prevention. The text is pretty straightforward, so we’re hoping the illustrations can add some flair to the project. The text will be wrapped around the images, so we’re looking for more vignette-style spot illos. Please show racial diversity among the characters.”

Illustration 1: A mom-type character in a caretaker role (chicken soup, etc).

Illustration 2: A woman out and about with all the usual tools for fighting illness (kleenex, medicine, and such). We want young professional, not soccer mom. She can either be successfully going about her normal life or struggling with illness, we’ll let you decide.

Illustration 3: A boy (anywhere from age 8-12) in bed sick. Maybe have a thermometer sticking out of his mouth? More of a close up, the whole bed may be too much for a spot illo and we want to focus on the character.

You will have 2 weeks for the final.

Sketches Due: Oct 26

Final Due: Nov 9

Friday, October 22, 2010

Montserrat Holiday Card

Size: 4.25 x 5.5 and include a 1/8th inch bleed if the design goes to the edges. 
(image can be horizontal or vertical)
Create an illustration for the Montserrat Holiday Card. This card is sent out every year to staff and faculty and is always created by a current Illustration student in the department. We will be making images with the intention of submitting them for consideration towards this year’s card. The chosen student will be paid for their illustration.

You will have 2 weeks for the final.

Sketches Due: Oct 26

Final Due: Nov 9

Friday, October 8, 2010

Boston Weekly Dig

Size: ratio of 10”x 9”

Using the theme of “Fall”, Illustrate the cover of Boston’s The Weekly Dig. Your subject matter could relate to Halloween, Fall activities, Fall fashions, seasonal sports, etc. 

The Weekly Dig attracts a young, hip audience and covers current news as well as music, culture, and nightlife in Boston.

You will have 2 weeks for the final illustration.

Sketches Due: Oct 12

Final Due: Oct 26

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Student Work: Sedna

Eamon Smyth

Aoi Suzuki

Josh Melamed

Lindsey Desrosiers

7 Deadly Sins

Size: ratio of 8”x 10”
Full Color

Illustrate the sin you have chosen (we should be able to tell what it is when on the wall). Refer to the notes below as well as outside research. Remember that your sin can be described through both narrative and conceptual means.

Sketches Due: Oct 5
Final Due: Oct 12

Lust: usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature, but lust can also be thought of as a perpetual desire for anything- sex, hunger, possessions- that is only temporarily satisfied in the present and then resurfaces in the near future.

Gluttony: the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. This can include the action of depleting a community of anything valuable or necessary for survival.

Greed: a very excessive desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power.

Sloth: laziness and/or indifference. An older viewpoint defines sloth as not using one’s gifts or potential.

Wrath: uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.

Envy: an insatiable desire where one person resents another for something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of.

Pride/Vanity: a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Article: Are You Raising A Douchebag?

Size: ratio of 7”x 5” (horizontal image)
Full Color

Create an illustration that would accompany the given article, which was originally printed in Details Magazine. Details is a men’s magazine that covers fashion, news, sports, culture, and other interests while featuring a variety of celebrities such as David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, and Sean Penn on past covers. Obviously, remember that this article will be aiming at fathers, not mothers.

Sketches Due: Sep. 28

Final Due: Oct. 5

Let us begin with the assumption that if you are a parent, you wish for your child every advantage and opportunity. From the ergonomic high chair to that all-important first sushi experience and beyond, life should be as golden for your little one as it is for, say, Pax Jolie-Pitt.
But inevitably the moment arrives when all your doting and care come back on you in the form of a precocious little barb that reminds you in no uncertain terms of . . . you. It might be that his friend Jake's eighth-birthday party was "unbelievably lame" or that "it's weird that Brandon's family flies first-class and we don't," or maybe it's simply that "these taquitos taste like turd."
It's then that you must reckon with the real possibility that your drive to make little Johnny better, smarter, and hipper has merely turned him into a douchebag. Put it this way: If it's your child, not you, who gets to choose your weekend brunch spot, or if he's the one asking how the branzino is prepared, it's probably time to take a hard look at your own behavior.
It's not like we're the first generation to turn out Frankenkinder. Since the dawn of time, parents have been dressing their kids in ridiculous sailor suits and dragging them on ski trips to Gstaad. But lately it feels like we're scaling new heights as bad examples. We create parenting blogs that transform our preschoolers into fetishized celebrities. We subscribe to magazines that suggest buying a 5-year-old a $400 Marc Jacobs cashmere hoodie. We think it's cute when our kids learn to text message (until we realize POS means "parent over shoulder") and quietly rejoice when they can tell which Ramone is Dee Dee and which one is Joey.
 Alas, convenient as it might be, we can't blame the children. "There's no such thing as a spoiled gene," says parenting expert Michele Borba, author of Don't Give Me That Attitude! "The brat factor is all learned." Which means that if you're the dad pushing Junior around in a limited-edition Bugaboo stroller by Bas Kosters ($2,000), carrying a Louis Vuitton diaper bag ($1,380), and checking in at a members-only parenting club like Citi-babes in Manhattan (annual membership: $2,000), your offspring are probably developing some serious entitlement issues. Just read the news. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the rise of sixth-grade "fashion bullies" who terrorize peers who don't wear Junior Dolce & Gabbana. Then there was the New York Times article on youngsters—4-year-olds!—who fancy themselves collectors of highly coveted works of art.
It's not just about money, though. Since the nineties, a surge in overprotective parenting has promoted discussion over discipline and made leisure activities contingent upon nanny CPR training (have you ever even considered letting your kid play with a pocket knife or a rusty Flexible Flyer, never mind have a paper route?).
In 1999, Katie Allison Granju wrote a book, Attachment Parenting, about the virtues of catering to the needs and emotions of the very young, from breast-feeding-on-demand to co-sleeping. While she still advocates that approach, she also believes that society tries to turn babies into children too fast and then treats older kids much like babies. Her forthcoming book is titled Let Them Run With Scissors: How Over-Parenting Hurts Children, Parents and Society. "We no longer allow children to have personal autonomy, to experience hard knocks, or to take real risks," she says. "The result is a nation of overweight, overindulged, overly neurotic kids who whine and moan and often can't function on their own."
It certainly doesn't help that we 21st- century thirty- and fortysomething parents expect our children to dress, speak, and appreciate Roxy Music just like us. "The Mini-Me phenomenon of kids wearing Sex Pistols T-shirts and sending back foie gras is cute but also gross and dangerous," says Ada Calhoun, the editor-in-chief of Babble, an online bible for hipster parents. "If you've turned your kid into a carbon copy of yourself, that kid loses his voice. He's only trying to please the grown-up, who only wants to live vicariously through the kid."
Greg Ramey is a child psychologist with nearly 30 years of experience counseling families and children at Dayton Children's in Dayton, Ohio. He says the biggest change he's seen is that parents no longer want to act like parents. "Over and over, I see parents who try to be their kids' best friends," he says. "That's a flashing red light. Our kids don't need to be our buddies. They can like us when they're 30. Mostly what kids want is for a parent to be in charge."
The consequences of parental boundary blurring are everywhere. As Vanity Fair recently noted, 2007 is the "year the mothers of Hollywood's wild girls—Paris, Lindsay, and Britney—have found themselves almost as much a part of the tabloid circus as the daughters themselves."
Fortunately, it's never too late to fix the problem. Sharon Pieters sees kids with terrible behavior make the turnaround week after week, and it has everything to do with parenting, she says. The former nanny runs Child Minded, a parent-coaching company that goes into homes to vanquish the Scylla and Charybdis of offspring hell: disrespect and boorishness. For $1,200 a day, Pieters will help parents tame their brats. Whether it's a problem with too much stuff ("I visited some kids in Long Island who had their own moon bounce," Pieters says) or incessant back talk ("Some children's vocabulary is limited to 'Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!'"), the solution is the same: "Set limits and stick to them." The hard part for most moms and dads is admitting there's a problem in the first place. Borba, the parenting writer, says, "The last thing parents today want after a day of work is to come home and be a cop. They think it's going to hurt the child's self-esteem to get a hard no. But you have to look at your kids and say, 'Are they turning out the way I want them to turn out?' If not, it's up to you to start to change things."
That takes care of the kids, but what about you? A possible solution comes from Asra Q. Nomani, who recently wrote an essay on Babble about being trapped in a cycle of out-of-control birthday parties, in which she kept trying to outdo the previous year's festivities. Turns out what her kid liked most wasn't the trip in the limo to the recording studio or even the playtime with a real tiger cub. It was the simpler, everyday stuff, the things that any kid's birthday party might include, like a birthday cake. Which makes you realize, the next time your inner douchebag tells you to book Criss Angel for your son's fifth birthday, you might want to take a deep breath and give yourself a hard no.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sedna: A Creation Story

Square image
Full Color

Illustrate the Inuit creation story about Sedna. You will not have to worry about placement of text, as it would be printed around the image, not inside. You can take multiple approaches including being inspired by Inuit folk art, making this a children’s illustration, or exploring the dark nature of this tale.

Sketches Due: Sep. 21

Final Due: Sept. 28

At the beginning of the world there were giants.
They lived on the land and ate the fruits of the land. One year, as the days began to get shorter and colder, a baby girl was born to two of the giants. They named her Sedna.
Day by day, as the sun became weaker and smaller, Sedna grew stronger and bigger. She grew and grew very quickly until, in no time at all, she was huge. Soon she was bigger than her giant parents.
The bigger she got the more she ate and the more she needed to eat, but there were not enough plants on the land to satisfy her hunger. One night, ravenously hungry, she began to gnaw her parents legs.
‘Owww!’ they cried, ‘that's enough of that.’ With a great struggle they bundled Sedna up in a blanket and carried her to their canoe. It was dark but they paddled out to sea in the light of a hazy moon. When they reached the middle of the ocean, they pushed Sedna overboard into the icy waters.
And that, they thought, was that. They started to paddle back towards the land, shivering for the cold and also for shame at what they had done to their own daughter. Yet before they had gone far, the canoe stopped - no matter how fast they paddled, the canoe would not move forward. To their horror they saw two hands, Sedna's hands, reaching out of the water to grip the canoe and then to rock it from side to side.
The giants felt the boat shaking. Soon they would be tossed into the ocean they would surely drown, unless they did something quickly.
Simply to save themselves, they pulled out sharp knives and chopped off Sedna's fingers. One by one the fingers splashed into the sea and, as they sank, they changed into swimming creatures. One became a whale, one a seal, another a walrus, another a salmon. The fingers changed into all the creatures of the seas.

As for Sedna, she drifted through new shoals of fish to the bottom off the ocean. There the fishes built her an underwater tent. Above her, the cold waters formed a crust of ice and sealed Sedna in her wintry, watery world. She still lives there, and whenever the Inuit are short of food, they call on Sedna and she provides it, even in the depths of winter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

BBC Headlines

 Size: ratio of 8”x 10”

Make an illustration inspired by the bizarre headline you picked in class, The final image will be published 8”x10” , but that is just your ratio. If you need to work larger, sizes such as 12”x15” and 16”x 20” would also work (remember that working smaller isn’t always easier).

Sketches Due: Set 14

Final Due: Sept 21

Themes Diptych

 Size: determined by artist
Black and White

 Create a pair of B&W illustrations based on one of the following themes listed below. Your interpretation can be anything you desire: humorous, sarcastic, profound, subtle… it is up to you. Allow this first assignment to introduce your strengths and interests to me.


Life and Death

Good and Evil

Sweet and Spicy

Final Due: Sept 14

Intro to Illustration 3


Illustration 3 elaborates the standard demands and practices of the professional illustrator, while offering experience to the student through the sampling of a wide variety of assignments. In creating Illustration for real assignments, students will build on the conceptual skills in Illustration I, and on the personal vision and formal picture making skills honed in Illustration II. Attention to the marketplace, content concerns, art direction, reproduction, deadlines, and other obstacles to the illustrator are addressed and experienced.

Students will receive on assignment at the end of class to complete by the given deadline. Missed deadlines will be seen as missed jobs (and a zero for a grade) unless a proper excuse has been given (family emergency, serious illness). Most of the class is based on focused critiques that help us evaluate the quality of your craftsmanship as well as your conceptual thinking. A student’s ability to talk about their own work AND the work of others demonstrates a mature artistic mind that is able to communicate and articulate ideas appropriately, whether it be with a colleague or an art director. Lectures on artists, contracts, color, and different markets will also be a constant element in the classroom, as well as exercises in sketching and brainstorming.


Since we meet only once a week it is important to be present at classes. Each student is allowed 2 excused absences for the semester. Critiques and class time are a vital element to the class, and if a student exceeds more than 2 unexcused absences they will fail for the semester.  Please give yourself proper time to settle in before class starts. Lateness is noticed.


It is important to treat this class experience as professionally as possible. This includes:
  • Following deadlines
  • Notifying the instructor when you will be absent due to illness or appointments.
  • Following up on missed assignments and planning when to make up lost time when absent.
  • Providing the best quality of work possible for BOTH sketches and finals.
  • Responsibly providing yourself with proper supplies, materials, and time. Excuses along the lines of “I ran out of paper/paint/pencils” will not be accepted.
  • Participating in critiques when appropriate and respecting others who are speaking.

Grading will consist of several elements, including your ability to finish work on time and in a professional manner. Class participation and attendance plays a factor as well as your ability to build upon and utilize constructive criticism from past classes. Your ability to follow directions such as size, color restrictions, and other requirements will also contribute to your final grade.