Vector Landscape Day 2: Featured Artist: Chris Leavens

Community Service Hour Opportunity This Saturday from 10am-noon:

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Today’s essential question: How has digital art influenced the fine art scene?

Chris Leavens uses Adobe Illustrator to create story-rich artwork, surreal landscapes filled with bizarre monsters and fantastical characters. Heavily inspired by the outdoors, Chris bends the beauty of the natural world through a prism of humor and absurdity, resulting in whimsically-twisted, highly-imaginative images.

Check out Chris Leaven’s official portfolio site.

Read this interview with Chris Leavens on his inspiration and creative process.

Here are some of Chris Leavens’ vector illustrations:

Things to think about:

  • How do you think the medium of Adobe Illustrator impacts Chris Leavens’ artwork? How would it be different if he used a more traditional medium such as colored pencil or acrylic paint?
  • How has digital art influenced the fine art scene?
  • What are some ways Chris Leavens has created unity in his work?
  • What ideas does his artwork give you regarding your own landscape project?

Today we will:

  • Examine the artwork of Chris Leavens and discuss how it ties into our vector landscape project
  • Continue sketching our layout for our vector landscape
  • Begin coloring our vector landscape with markers (no gradients!)
  • Post a photo of our sketch to our blogs
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New Project: Vector Landscape/Cityscape

Today’s essential question: How can I create a scene in Adobe Illustrator?

Here are some examples that would fulfill project requirements:

Project Requirements:

  • Flat vector created in Adobe Illustrator
  • 11×14″
  • Depth created through overlap and scale
  • Shows clear background, middle ground, and foreground
  • Color scheme utilizes aerial perspective
  • Sufficient detail creates a visually interesting design

Today we will:

  • Brainstorm project ideas for our vector scene illustration
  • Create a new blog post with the following (this will count as a 10 point homework grade, so be sure to fulfill all requirements):
    • A sketch of your planned design (you will later trace over this in Illustrator, so be sure to add the appropriate amount of detail)
    • A few sentences describing the scene and mood you plan to create

If you do not finish all the elements of your planning blog post this class, post what you have in order to receive a participation grade for the day.

Vector Silhouettes Last Two Days: Artist Statements

hand-writing-vector-smallToday’s essential question: How can my artist statement add to the meaning of my artwork and ensure that it is appropriate to hang in a high school gallery?

Many of our silhouette projects tackle tough issues that people might not expect to see in a high school art show. Therefore, it is important that we write carefully crafted artist statements to explain them. We will display the artist statements next to the silhouette projects at the 11th grade show, so please pay extra attention to spelling and grammar. Ms. Lawson is willing to edit any artist statements,  but you must request editing help when you publish your artist statement.

Final Blog Post Requirements

When you are done with your project, create a final blog post with the following:

  • A PDF of your finished project (this may be 3 separate PDFs if you are creating a triptych)
  • A PNG of your finished project (so we can see the image in the blog post)
  • An artist statement (minimum 150 words) about our project. Not sure what to write? Start by answering the following questions. Make sure you turn the artist statement into paragraph form – no credit will be given for incomplete sentences.
    • What is the big idea behind your artwork?
      • What is your artwork about?
      • Who or what inspired your artwork?
      • How do you want people to feel when they view your artwork?
    • Describe your artwork
      • What does your artwork look like? (hint: everyone had to make a black and white silhouette)
      • What is the subject matter? What character(s) or story did you portray with your project?
      • How does the subject’s body language contribute to the imagery?
      • If there is a background or props, how do those items help illustrate the concept?
    • How did you create your art?
      • What media is your artwork made from? (hint: everyone had to use Adobe Illustrator)
      • Describe the process or steps you took to create your artwork.
    • Overall thoughts
      • What did you learn from creating this artwork?
      • Is the final piece what you imagined? How so?
      • What did you do well? What could you have done better?

Today we will:

  • finish our vector silhouette projects
  • create a final blog post with the following:
    • a PDF of your finished project (this may be 3 separate PDFs if you are creating a triptych)
    • a PNG of your finished project (so we can see the image in the blog post)
    • a minimum 150-word artist statement about your project in paragraph form

Negative Space

Today’s essential question: How can I make my silhouette piece more interesting by incorporating negative space?

The following students have done a great job utilizing negative space.
What are some ways the negative space adds to their artwork?

Interested in pursuing art in college? You may want to attend RIT’s “Design Your Future” event on Friday, October 11th. (You have the day off school.)

Today we will:

  • Continue tracing over our silhouette sketches in Adobe Illustrator with the pen tool.
  • Upload our PDF, PNG, and photo of our sketch to our shared Media 2 Google Drive Folder
  • Create a new blog post with both a PDF and PNG of our progress so far.

Vector Silhouette Day 4: Setting Up Our Files in Illustrator

Today’s essential question: How can I set up my project in Illustrator?

Part 1: Setting Up Our Files in Adobe Illustrator

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Select “New Print Document” from the pop up screen:
    first_step_cropped
  3. Create a new file in Adobe Illustrator with the following guidelines (you should pick the same orientation as your sketch, so some of you may need to set up your document to 14″ wide by 11″ tall):
    iluustrator_Settings_Cropped
  4. Press the blue “create” button to create your file
  5. Place the photo you took last class the file you just created. (File -> place)
    DO NOT try to open your downloaded image in Illustrator! This will cause strange things to happen.

Part 2: Tracing Over Our Sketch with the Pen Tool

  1. Create a new layer by clicking on the “new layer” button at the bottom of the layers palette on the right side of the screen. new_layer_button
  2. Select the pen tool. pen_tool
    Trace over your first shape. (You may need to decrease the opacity of this layer so you can see what you are tracing. You can do this by clicking on the transparency icon transparency_icon on the right side of the screen and decreasing the opacity so it is below 100. transparency_window)
  3. Bring the opacity back 100% and adjust the color if necessary.
  4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you are happy with your vector illustration.

Special Tool: The Shape Tool

  1. You may wish to use the shape tool to easily draw squares, rectangles, and circles. It is located in the toolbar on the left side of the screen. Click and hold the rectangle to bring up other shape options:

Part 3: Saving Our File

  1. Save your file as BOTH a .pdf and PNG
    1. To save as a PDF (File -> Save As – PDF)
    2. To save as a PNG (File -> Export As -> PNG)
  2. Create a new blog post with BOTH the PDF and PNG of your progress. I do not expect you to finish your design, but I do expect you to post what you worked on today.

Today we will:

  • Create a new 11×14″ or 14×11″ file in Illustrator and place our silhouette sketch in this file.
  • Begin tracing over our t-shirt design sketches in Adobe Illustrator with the pen tool.
  • Upload our PDF, PNG, and photo of our sketch to our shared Media 2 Google Drive Folder
  • Create a new blog post with both a PDF and PNG of our progress so far.

Vector Silhouettes Day 3: Posture & Body Language

Today we will continue working on our vector silhouettes.
Make sure the entire figure fits on the page. Don’t awkwardly crop anything!

You must complete a blog post with the following to get permission to work in Illustrator:

Today’s essential question: How can posture and body language illustrate the interaction between characters?

Here are some strong student examples from last year. How has each character’s posture or body language helped tell a story?

lily_series

Image Credit: Lily


Image Credit: Avery

mckenzie_tryptic

Image Credit: McKenzie

subash

Image Credit: Subash

Today we will:

  • Finish taking our reference photos or drawing our reference sketches
  • Finish our official project proposal blog posts. This should include:
    • written description of your concept (can be copied and pasted from previous classes’ blog posts)
    • final reference photos or sketches

Vector Silhouette Day 2: Creating Our Reference Images

Today’s essential question: How can I create strong reference images to later trace over in Illustrator?

Today we will either create our reference drawings or take our reference photos. Make sure your image uses the most powerful point of view for the concept you are trying to convey. The examples below illustrate what I am looking for.

Sample Reference Photos (you must take the photos yourself – do not use internet images created by someone else):
Same Sketch (use a Sharpie to color in the silhouette so we can make sure you have an appropriate balance of positive and negative space):
8cccddcb-9044-4033-8c1e-1c700014a9b5.jpeg

Image Credit: Lily

Today we will:

  • Either create our reference drawings or take our reference photos
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • The reference photos/drawings created during this class
    • Written description of your concept (can copy and paste from last class’s blog post)