Yesterday I visited the Hartford Art School in Connecticut, part of the University of Hartford, to give a lecture about picture making and world building.
After the talk, a group of about 50 students invited me to do a watercolor demo. I had a great model, someone I've painted many times before: my good friend Dennis Nolan, professor of illustration and noted children's book illustrator.
Since I only had a half hour, I used the most direct method I know for portraits, starting with big shapes of watercolor laid on wet with a big brush, and then finishing with a few details and textures with water-soluble colored pencils, drybrush watercolor, and a few touches of gouache.
Moleskine water media notebook, using a Schmincke watercolor set.
If you're a high school student interested in studying illustration, I recommend the program at Hartford. It's led by not only Dennis Nolan, but also Bill Thomson, and Doug Anderson. The school also has a very interesting class on the science of art taught by Jeremiah Patterson. The illustration program is strong in observational drawing and painting as well as composition and imaginative realism, and the seniors create their own children's picture book from start to finish. They also recently added an animation component to the curriculum. The illustration program is very popular; this year they have the largest sophomore enrollment ever.
Dennis Nolan's faculty page at Hartford Art School
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