I’ll tell you a secret, but don’t spread the word! Professional illustrators do not work alone. They get help from the fairies. First of all, the fairy Fantasy, of course, and then Harmony, Proportion, Shade, Colouring and all the others… But how, you will say, do you get such a powerful character to come to your easel? You will know the precise answer by joining us to paint in an enchanted place in the Treviso Pre-Alps. But one thing I can tell you in advance: fairies spontaneously visit you when you are at work because they adore art. You concentrate on studying artistic techniques and you will see that they will arrive.
This course is a full immersion in experimenting with most of the techniques of illustration. The method is that of the Renaissance workshop: the master does his work in front of everyone, explaining the secrets of the trade. The pupil is encouraged to reinforce his skills, basically concentrating on accumulating concrete knowledge. The teacher acts as a coach of talent, a coach who proposes exercises to optimise the pupil’s abilities, giving personalised advice that after the course, will decant into the creative activity of each student. Rather than giving solutions, he teaches how to look for them, explaining the systems that professionals use to work, thus providing very useful strategies for beginning artists.
The teaching programme is divided into three phases:
1) observation of the lecturer’s demonstrations (seeing to learn);
2) student exercises (practise to fix knowledge);
3) construction of a personal development path (becoming an autonomous researcher).
This course adds to the most common techniques in illustration (watercolour, tempera, acrylic, pastels, digital, ink) oil painting, which allows a precise depiction of reality, but also serves to let the imagination fly. It is worked using a simple, clean and fast procedure that avoids turpentine vapours, replacing it with modern, environmentally friendly and odourless thinners. The appropriate tool kit can be found in the materials list.
Students are encouraged to experiment with all techniques, stopping at their favourite one whenever they wish. All the tips and teachings I will give are useful, not only for illustrators, but also for painters and all those (teachers, historians, critics, enthusiasts, etc.) who want to learn about art in its operational aspect. It is not necessary to have any special artistic training; one can benefit from the teaching experience even starting from scratch. Minors are also admitted according to the organisation’s procedures.
As far as the subjects to be painted are concerned, the choice is free. We start with personal inspiration, but my advice and suggestions will not be lacking if necessary. We will also get help from the great masters of illustration and painting, observing their works on the web or in books, to enhance our sensitivity with their teachings.
The teaching is personalised, but always compatible with the spirit of collaboration that I propose to the students, tending to create a dynamic of sharing, of great effectiveness and human value.
Illustration by Arcadio Lobato, The fairies at work, from the author’s blog.