Common Core Standards

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chasing Ideas and Characters All Over the Place

So I'm off to an illustration workshop in Petoskey, MI tomorrow given by Matt Faulkner. Our assignment was to illustrate a pencil sketch of a dream within a month of the workshop. OK, I have colorful dreams. But let me tell you, when someone says, "Drop everything and Dream!"...I can't!

Oh how I tried. I drank lots of water before bed--that just brought about lots of midnight trips. I tried eating spicy foods--nope, nothing. I tried to fill my mind with crazy images and read before sleeping.
The result was a silly cat dream, a mastodon and a raging buffalo. Nothing to write home about or illustrate. It was the toughest homework ever. So while chasing this dream across the land and through the swamps, an image and story struck me like a hammer blow.

Chasing this dream all over was the work of The Trickster. And this time it was not Coyote who called me. Images poured in and sketchbooks came out. Rabbits! Tricky rabbit. My favorite story, The Adventures of Great Rabbit, an Algonquin Tale. It was perfect. It made me realize that sometimes we chase our dreams, our ideas, our illusions and our anger all over the land. And during this focused chase, we lose a bit of ourselves and always seem to come back full circle. We end the chase where we started it, get frustrated and continue the chase again and never let it go.
Rough sketch of "Muchabig Rabbit"
In the story, Wild Cat lost his tail chasing his enemy, the Great Rabbit with biggish ears. So I pulled out my sketch from when I had actually seen Rabbit in the tree above whilst riding north on M127. I had sketched the scene as we zipped by. Ah, the beauty of quick gesture sketches. Then last week on our way to Petoskey we hit that stretch of highway and I started sketching plants and trees along there to go with the tale.
Pencil sketch of  "SpitFire Cat"
Coming up with an interactive scene to illustrate, I was reminded of memories of sitting around a campfire and smoke annoyingly wafting into our faces. A friend told me that when that happens, just say, "I hate rabbits!" and the smoke will change direction. Ever since then, it has been a silent chant of mine around a bonfire. I don't know where he got this idea from, but it works and it works for a story illustration.
A scene where SpitFire Cat is about to be tricked again!
So now I have my homework done. It was more than a pencil sketch. And hey, it was a day dream and not a night dream. It got me to rewrite the tale in a colorful way and something to illustrate for a magazine story or portfolio piece. Now I am ready for the class and excited to see what Matt has in store for us on Wednesday.

Like wildcat, if you sit still long enough, the bunny will run down the trail right to you!

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