Thursday, July 13, 2017

Urban Sketching with the Elite Animation Academy Summer School students.

I had 16 students for the Elite Animation Academy Urban Sketching class last week. My thought was to bring the students to a different venue each day to sketch.With 16 students we tended to fill up any available seats. The best solution was to divide the class in half and have half the students in one venue and the other half in another. I stayed with the students at Subway, and the interns stayed with students at Planet Smoothie. The lesson for the day was largely about one point perspective. I encouraged the students to find a vanishing point at their eye level and have all the lines in the ceiling panels and floor tiles point at it. There was a mirror on the brick wall across from us and one student could see his reflection in the mirror. I explained that the vanishing point was right between his eyes in the reflection.

I sat down with each student and did a quick composition sketch so they could see how to build a sketch from the outside in. Prior to going on location we had done a series of five minute sketches that broke down the scene into 5 or 6 large shapes. Some students caught on quickly while others needed time to grasp the concept. I painted this sketch digitally the evening of the class by scanning the pencil sketch and painting behind it on a layer. A stop motion movie was created of the entire painting process and I showed that to the students to encourage them to push any sketch that they do towards being a painting by adding color. On the last day, they took their favorite sketch and added watercolor to it. It was a bit of a messy class but the students were very focused for the duration. There is something about adding color that makes a sketch become art.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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