Master Keys Conference - University of Glasgow

Remember my Pearson Excellence in Teaching Award? Well, it came with a lovely monetary prize to attend the conference of my choice! I chose Scotland! I can visit all my friends who I miss so much, and help share my love of picture books with students at the University of Glasgow while I'm at it. It will be called "Master Keys: Images and words that open doors" and I'll be speaking on "Keys to Understanding How Picture Book IMages Work." I can't wait! (Click the poster to learn more and register.)

Drawing Attention to a Neglected Landmark

Sometimes the smallest things can lead to the biggest things. Remember my drawing class's field trip to the laundromat? While there, we ran into Dr. Ken Alston, retired professor, who works with the Legacy of African American Schools, and had recently moved back to Rock Hill. He had given a talk about Rock Hill history at the university a few weeks earlier. We got to talking and he asked if my class was, by chance, planning to draw any cemeteries.
     As a matter of fact, yes!
     Drawing gravestones is an excellent way to practice drawing one and two-point perspective. So I normally take my classes to a cemetery in walking distance to the University at some point during the semester. But Dr. Alston told me about an old neglected Black cemetery not much farther away. Some important people from Rock Hill history were buried there, but it had been left to fall apart after its last buriel in the 1950s (when another cemetery became the preferred destination). Dr. Alston has been working to repair the cemetery and help it receive an historical marker as the landmark it is.
     I love when school projects can gain legs and do good in the community, so I checked it out. There was some beautiful old statuary and it was evident that many of the families buries there were well off and represented important stories to the community.
     So we headed out to draw...
     What I couldn't have figured is that the head of the Rock Hill Historical Society would join us (along with her son). They would like to use some of the student's drawings to help build a case for the historical marker.
     Soon after, a reporter with Comporium also showed up to take photos and interview us about the project. (I'll share once the broadcast goes live.) We were literally drawing attention to an important community need.
     Meanwhile, students were able to spend a lovely time fine-tuning their craft and reflecting on stories of those buried in the cemetery.

     Here are some of their works-in-progress...

On the last day, it got so hot by the end of class, students were cooling off in the shade, not getting any work done anyhow; so I suggested we stop for ice cream on the way back to the university. All good!

UPDATE!!! Here is the news story from CN2!

Interview on AI in Education

You may recall I recently gave a talk about "AI-Assisted Illustration: This Changes Everything." Well, I was recently interviewed to talk about AI in education by Yili Fan. Yili is a documentary filmmaker, educator, and creator of Fill the Space: A Collective Intelligence Method. Kim Wilson, head of the Arts in Basic Curriculum, which is housed at Winthrop University, connected us, and I'm so glad she did!
     I'm often interviewed by students for class projects, so I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to walk into a seriously professional set up for the interview!
     Yili asked me all kinds of interesting questions, which was fun. I have a lot to say about AI - the good and the bad. It's all very scary and exciting at the same time. While they were filming (her husband is the techie and cameraman), Yili kept giving me the thumbs up and smiling at my answers. Birds of a feather, I suppose!
     I just hope I gave her some good material to use in her new documentary! I'm sure it will take time to put together; but I'll share as I learn more about it. Maybe it will end up with as many kudos as her first documentary, THE LITTLE PRINCE WITH A MASK by East Point Academy!

Picture Book Trends Workshop at Hollins University!

It's back! I'm thrilled to share that I'll be hosting my Picture Book Trends workshop again this summer at Hollins University! Click on the banner to learn more!

Mural Time!

This semester for my Illustration: Persuasion & Propaganda class, we made a mural! You may recall the last mural called "Get Out the Vote" right before the pandemic. Back then, we were addressing an upcoming election. This time, we're dealing with a lot of post-pandemic burn-out, so we decided to go with a Mental Wellness and Selfcare theme for the semester - hence, this year's design.
     There was a lot of prep work that went into this. Students had to decide on a theme (within our theme), a color palette, the image itself, representation, application, etc. That took almost a month to get sorted. Happily, our local paint shop PPG donated the paint and supplies. Once we settled on the design, I had the line art printed onto oversized paper at the UPS store. Then it was a matter of using transfer paper to trace the design onto the mural surface...

It was tight working conditions, but the students worked together brilliantly. In fact, I was surprised at how easily they reached consensus on all the choices they had to make during the planning stages. I suppose it was only natural that would carry over to the actual implementation.
     Painting the mural took several class times (studio classes run 2 hours and 45 minutes each), but the students were diligent.

And the outcome was SPECTACULAR! Check it out! (Click the mural to open it larger in a new window.)

     I was so proud of my students; but better yet, they were proud of themselves and learned a ton! What a lucky teacher I am!

Drawing Outside

I'm extremely behind on blogging about all the awesome things we've been up to at Winthrop this semester, so apologies for sharing them en masse. But share, I must!
     One of the classes I teach is a Beginning Drawing class to Freshmen. It consists of the basics of perspective, still life drawing, and landscape drawing. That's my favorite part because it means drawing outside in our beautiful Hardin Gardens. There's not much else to say other than, what a lovely way to spend a class time! Here are just a few of my students hard at work...