Monday, October 27, 2014

Mike Curato ('03)

Mike Curato
The School of Visual and Performing Arts along with the faculty from the Illustration Program would like to congratulate Mike Curato ('03), for being awarded the Founder’s Award from the Society of Illustrators Original Art show, for his new picture book Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt), the first in a projected series of three titles featuring Elliot, a spotted elephant. “To have been juried into this exhibition is alone a major achievement and should be celebrated,” stated Dilys Evans the visionary and creator of the Original Art show. “To be selected by the Founder’s Award jury as the most promising new talent is a tremendous vote of confidence in an artist’s ability and future in the field of children’s book illustration.” The Founder’s Award was created in 2005 and celebrates the most promising new talent in children’s book illustration.

Mike writes,
"I remember coming to Society of Illustrators for the first time with the Illustration program's annual trip to NYC, and it's been a dream to have my work hung there ever since."

Check out a few images of his book, Brooklyn studio, his poster project from his senior year and my personal favorite, Mike's window display for the children's bookstore Books of Wonder in New York City. Mike believes his class was the very first class to participate in a project that has become a staple for our graduating class.

Links to Mike's website and blog:

Mike and his artwork

Mike Curato

Window display, Books of Wonder, NYC

Mike with Syracuse Poster Project

Little Elliot, Big City

Little Elliot, Big City

Little Elliot merchandise

Young Mike




Little Elliot, Big City

Little Elliot, Big City

Little Elliot, Big City

Little Elliot, Big City book cover

Friday, October 24, 2014

John Thompson's Central Park Series, part 3

The Harlem Meer (named after the Dutch word for lake or small sea) is in the Northeast corner of Central Park, just above the Conservatory Garden. This eleven-acre lake wraps around a bluff from 106th  street along Fifth Avenue and 110th  street to Malcolm X Boulevard. This is a beautiful non-touristy part of the Park. It also is right across the street from my apartment.

Most of the people I encounter along the shores of the Meer live nearby. Locals greet each other while walking along the path at the edge the lake. Families and friends enjoy the view from the benches that surround the lake, or picnic in the grass along its banks. Catch and release fishing for bass, bluegill, pickerel and sunfish is very popular at the Meer. Some of the neighboring schools even bring their students here to learn to fish. While dog walking is very common, I did meet a man one day who was walking his pet turtle.

Painting along the Harlem Meer is always an enjoyable experience for me.  I’ve tried to explore each of the possible landscape opportunities that the Meer has to offer. The bluff has tree covered rocky cliffs, and the shores adjacent to 5th Avenue and 110th street offer glimpses of the East Harlem through American Elm, Oak, Bald Cypress, Gingko, Beech, and Chestnut trees. The edge of the Meer, which is lined with stands of pickerelweed and cattails, is home for turtles and a variety of waterfowl. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, the Meer may be partially covered in algae. This creates some interesting patterns if you paint fast enough.  By now I have pretty much painted the whole lake, section by section. I also return to some areas of the Meer, over and over, exploring different times of day as well as different seasons of the year.

All of the Harlem Meer series are small watercolors (5 ½”x 8 ½”) painted in bound sketchbooks. Harlem Meer-10 is the corner of 110th street and 5th avenue. I have painted this subject multiple times. It will be the subject of Part 4, in the Central Park Series.

John Thompson

Harlem Meer 1, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 2, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 3, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 4, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 5, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 6, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 7, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 8, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 9, watercolor.

Harlem Meer 10, watercolor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio at SIP

Illustrator/animator Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio paid a visit to Syracuse Illustration Program recently. Whilst here, he showed the students how he creates his signature stop-motion pieces with 3-D handmade characters, and walked them through the processes of animating them, photographing them, and putting the finishing touches on them in Photoshop, before outputting them as animated GIFs. In the video below, he interacts with Prof. James Ransome's Media Arts Techniques Class sophomore students, and the final animations can be seen at the end of this short presentation.

Below: the animations:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

John Thompson's Central Park Series, part 2

John Thompson painting
The Conservatory Garden is Central Park’s formal six-acre garden between 103rd and 106th street on Fifth Avenue. It is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: Italian, French, and English.

At the south end of the Conservatory is the English style garden. This intimate space has a mixture of trees, shrubs, and perennial plants, with five seasonal flowerbeds. In the center, under a large crab apple tree, is a lily pond with a memorial fountain dedicated to Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of “The Secret Garden”. The main characters from the book, Mary and Dickon, stand at one end of the pond.

I began painting the Lily Pond series on September 1st, 2013, Painting the lilies presented a unique set of problems that I hadn’t encountered before. Besides the usual difficulties of plein air painting, such as the sun moving, and overhead clouds, I discovered that the lilies are constantly opening and turning toward the sun. The reflections of the overhead crab apple tree also kept changing depending on the light, and the leaves of the tree above started to fall into the pond as the month progressed. The Lily pond is also a very popular place, so I was rarely ever alone. Events take place around the pond that I had no control of, such as tour groups and family outings, especially on the weekends. Once I was kicked out of my spot by the pond, because a wedding was about to begin.

But the results more than made up for any problems I was having. The first painting I did of the lilies far exceeded my expectations. I quickly learned that I had to capture a particular time of day in my initial drawing and to paint faster. This would include a specific moment of the opening of the flowers (within an approximate 15-20 minute time frame).  The paintings in this series usually took about 1½ hours to complete, out of necessity.

These small (5 ½” x 8 ½”) watercolors were eventually turned into giclee prints and framed. I leave the originals in a bound sketchbook. The watercolors also were useful as studies for two larger oil paintings (36” x 48”) of the lily pond.

John Thompson

The English Garden, watercolor
Lily Pond 1, watercolor
Lily Pond 2, watercolor
Lily Pond 3, watercolor
Lily Pond 4, watercolor
Lily Pond 5, watercolor
Lily Pond 6, watercolor
Lily Pond I, oil
Lily Pond II, oil

One Fantastic Week with Donato Giancola

One Fantastic Week with Donato Giancola...check out what Donato has to say about conventions, running a successful business, and pursuing your passions in this video.