Monday, June 23, 2014

June 2014: COSCBWI Illustrator Meeting

This month's COSCBWI Illustrator Meeting was a continuation of the mini-illustration project.  You may recall in my last COSCBWI blog post that illustrators are currently doing a fun project involving fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and folk tales.  The goal is for members to create an illustration based on their unique interpretation of a well-known story (like Little Red Riding Hood).  In addition to creating a new portfolio piece, this is an excellent opportunity for artists to practice their craft before jumping into their 2nd Annual Member Exhibition illustrations!

To start the meeting, Illustrator Coordinator, Stella Hickman, critiqued everyone's project sketches.  It was so wonderful to see how everyone's ideas are coming along!  After offering constructive feedback, she began a painting technique demonstration that anyone can try.  All you need is a bit of glue, water, acrylic paints, and lots of xeroxes!

1) Print some photocopies of your drawing. 

2) Glue a photocopy of your drawing to a white poster board.

3) Squirt Elmer's glue (the white, liquid kind) all over it.

4) With a big paintbrush and water, smear the glue until all parts of the photocopy are covered.  (Make sure you use a paintbrush that is clean and that you don't mind ruining.)

5) Smooth the wrinkles out of your photocopy.

6)  Let it air-dry.

7)  Once dry, paint as usual.

8)  And voila!  You have a brand-new acrylic illustration!

9)  If you mess up anything, just throw it out and start with a new photocopy.

As Stella explained, this is a fail-proof way to paint with acrylics.  By using photocopies of your drawing, you don't have to worry about ruining anything if you make a mistake.  It's also a great way to practice working with different color schemes and techniques.  The paint goes on smoothly, and a little goes a long way.  The glue/water coating also eliminates absorption, which can be a problem when you paint on canvas.  (But don't worry--the paint air-dries naturally and is permanent once completely dry.)

Members got to try out this technique using a pre-coated example Stella brought.  Everyone took turns painting Stella's adorable illustration with water and acrylics.  While we didn't have time to finish the whole piece, everyone ooh'ed and aah'ed at how smoothly the paint applied.  Here's the group project:

We all definitely had a fun time practicing this new technique!

Stella ended the meeting with the challenge for everyone to complete their fairy tale/nursery rhyme/folk tale piece for the next Illustrator meeting on July 9th.  Members are welcome to try out this painting technique, or finish their illustration in the medium of their choice.  Stella will critique everyone's pieces in an informal group setting.  I can't wait to see how they all turn out!

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, please visit the new website at or "like" the group on Facebook.  I hope to see you (and your finished illustration) at the July 9th meeting!

Happy painting!

Note: Sketch is (c) Stella Hickman.  Photograph was used with permission from Linda Miller.

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