Monday, May 24, 2010

Annie Cicale Workshop in Chicago

This past weekend, the Chicago Calligraphy Collective hosted a workshop with Annie Cicale, a fabulous teacher and artist. (If you get the opportunity to take a class with her, DO IT! And check out her website by clicking on her name above.) The title of the workshop was "Word Meets Image on the Page". Annie's goal, as stated in her workshop description, was to teach the class how "text and image complement each other to expand communication. We focused on illustration to develop meaningful imagery, using simple tools such as pencils, pen and ink, watercolor and other media, emphasizing the potential of black and white—and grey—images." We used tracing paper to write out our text and moved it around our images until we got the layout we desired.

On the first day, we did a simple drawing exercise of shading a cone, sphere, cube and cylinder—the basic shapes of which all matter is composed.

Then Annie brought out bags of imperfect apples and had us choose one. We could draw it whole, slice it, chew it, smash it, etc. She wanted us to try different media in this exercise. I chose, from left to right: graphite pencil; pen and ink, with Prismacolor pencils; and a brown Pentel Color Brush and a water brush to smear it a bit.

Later in the day, we worked with text and either added it to our existing apple images, or we drew new ones. I did this quote and drawing with the tip of a folded pen, walnut ink, and colored pencil. (This is unfinished.)

The next day we began working with our main quotes and images that we'd brought from home. I chose this quote:

“It’s not right raising kids so far from nature. I suppose your boys and girls have never seen pussy willows, robins building nests, or grass covered hills. This pavement is fine for cars, but it is hard medicine for children.
Hills are always more beautiful than stone buildings, you know. Living in a city is an artificial existence. Lots of people hardly ever feel real soil under their feet, see plants grow except in flower pots, or get far enough beyond the street lights to catch the enchantment of a night sky studded with stars. When people live far from scenes of the Great Spirit’s making, it’s easy for them to forget His laws.”
Walking Buffalo (Tatanga Mani; Stoney Indian) 1871-1967

(NOTE HERE: The "Great Spirit", in my understanding and belief, is the One True, Triune God; the Creator. :-)

I laid my design out in simple spreads for a book, with the idea of doing illustrations along with the text. I wanted to show the stark, bleak city environments contrasted with the beauty of nature. I also wanted to show children engaging with those environments. I started doing some loose sketches and wound up working on one of my son (when he was 3) playing in a large dirt pile. I used graphite pencils for the sketch, then used a brush and water to do a graphite wash for shading. (Also unfinished.)

Annie gave me the idea of perhaps doing the contrasting imagery, side by side. So, in this case, I'd like to show a boy playing on a dirt mound, and next to it a boy playing on a pile of trash. (The infamous dump in Manila came to mind.)

As you can see, I didn't finish the illustration, so I have a long way to go towards finishing the book. But I'm excited to work on this project and see where it leads.

I'll post some of our class photos soon.


Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Wow! You sure worked hard this weekend! These are all beautiful, Julie

Kate said...

A great summary of the workshop, Julie! I love the projects you are working on -- you are very inspiring to be in the same workshop with! Can't wait to see how your book comes along.

Kathy McCreedy said...

Oh my, Julie... your drawing ability is just like your calligraphy... beyong beautiful and beyone amazing... seriously. So often someone will do a drawing that gets all the details right except for the face... you got that little face just right! I know how much time and energy you have invested in those drawings and I am very, very impressed. You go, girl!

Jane Farr said...

Great post Julie - thanks for sharing! I love Annie Cicale's work. I spent about an hour looking through her amazing portfolio this past summer at IAMPETH. Your work from her workshop is stunning! Wow!! Best wishes as you continue to use your gifts!! :)

Luce H. Zolna said...


Your drawings are wonderful. It is exciting to see them.

WildmanDesigns said...

Thank you all for your very kind comments. Please check back soon because I'm posting some of my talented classmates' work.

Lisa Holtzman said...

Julie, this is amazing!