I have been enjoying just sketching with no intended purpose. You might say that I my recent sketches have been inspired by Adolpe Appia, Edward Gordon Craig, Etienne-Louis Boullée. Mainly just exploring proportion, shapes, lines, positive and negative space, textures and of course trying out new markers. I typically start these sketches, by following a torn piece of notebook paper and then creating the drawing from there. I never have an intended outcome for the drawing or sketch, but rather just explore as I go.
I have been using a Speedball Flexi Sketch Book - 6”X9” for the drawings and a number of markers such as Zig Clean Color - real brush, Sharpies, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush, mono drawing pens
Lastly, Art supply stores are hard to find and I understand the impulse to use Amazon, but if you can, shop local.. Whenever I’m in Houston, I always shop at Texas Art Supply. Enjoy!
No pictures in this post…. Words, just words… I wrote the following words below back in the Fall of 2018 and they remain true to this day.
Teaching methods should be designed to develop a confident artist with a keen sense of their own aesthetic values and artistic capabilities.
The educator must establish a relationship with the student based on their individual backgrounds and plans for the future. The goal of each student is different, and it is an instructor’s responsibility to help prepare the student to achieve these goals. Once a nurturing relationship has been established and trust is no longer an issue, the learning experience can thrive. When assigning design projects the student must be challenged and when assessing the student design work, critiques must be constructive. Incorporate humor/banter into the classroom instruction and critiques to help the young artist feel at ease when discussing their design and artwork.
Developing the Artist:
Develop students into artists of the theatre rather than theatrical designers. It is important for artists to cultivate their worldview and to experience how artists conceive and create pieces of art, and architecture that have enhanced our world. While it is important for young theatre students to attend theatrical performances, it is even more imperative for young designers to experience great works of art, design and architecture. Encourage students explore libraries, museums, galleries and to travel, in order to experience quality artwork. Artistic masterpieces showcase the fusion of art and design in order to achieve an impact on an intended audience.
In a classroom setting it is important for students to have the opportunity to learn and implement their training. Coursework begins with an introduction to the artistic techniques and visual/verbal communication tools required of young designers and artists. Guiding principles for class projects are; tell the story, think conceptually and trust the design process. Once a foundation has been established through coursework, the student has the opportunity to explore the design process through realized production work with the School of Drama and University Theatre productions. Coursework and Curriculum should remain fluid and adaptable to meet the changing needs of our industry and the educational need of the students.
The Production Process
Mentor student designers during the entire production process from the initial design meeting through opening night. As part of my mentoring process, meet weekly with the student, attend design and production meetings, and assist the students as the production goes into rehearsals, scene shop, technical rehearsals and performance. Offer support and guidance as well as challenging them, which helps the student learn how to present themselves and their designs to the other members of the design and
In addition to production work, students should exhibit their work in theatre conferences or festivals as an educational opportunity to share their work to respondents and peer students who may never experience the realized production. These exhibitions allow students to focus on creating a graphic display depicting their design process and present the design concept in a clear and concise manner. This prepares them for job interviews and portfolio reviews where they will need to discuss their work with professional theatre artists. It also provides an opportunity to expose student to work created by students from other theatre programs and network with fellow students and professionals in the industry.
The next post will have pictures!!!
Me Again… at some point I will make this a regular habit…. but until then what I have to say will still be sporadic. I thought I would share a recent project that opened last Friday. I was the scenic designer for Thornton Wilder play The Skin of Our Teeth. Wilder’s play is wild to say the least. The Antrobus house falling apart and coming back together again was a huge hurdle given that the theatre space for this production did not have a functioning fly system. This was a journey, however I think the team worked together to create a wonderful story. The visual world was beautifully augmented by the media designer Ian Evans, lighting designer Bryan Nortin and the costume designer Paige Wilson. Below are the Front Elevation renderings for the entire show:
The is the Top of Show News Reel projected on to the front scrim
Once the Scrim goes out, we reveal the Act 1 Antrobus house in it current state. I always like it when I can utilize the color costume design renderings for my renderings. Thank you to Paige Wilson for the beautiful renderings.
The Act 2 Boardwalk was a visceral display of color and characters found at the Atlantic City Boardwalk. For this rendering I used some stock figures from the internet. I ned to go back an add in Paige’s rendering to finish this one out.
I really fell in love with the image of the gable and door. The low gable created a claustrophobic space that our characters find them selves in at the top of this Act. the house and world in ruins and slowly coming back to life. The smoldering projection image created a phenomenal backdrop for the scene. I borrowed a research image for the costume designer for this final image.
While this was the original rendering for the new house, the media design team ended up creating the rising house at the end of the play. Kudos to Ian Evans and Cara Oates for taking one of my research/inspiration images for the Antrobus house and making it look like new. It was a stunning to watch the house rise behind the actors at the end of the show. I was once again able to use the costume designer rendering for this rendering.
Many thanks to all those involved that made this show come to life, fall apart and then go back together.
The University of Houston
Directed by Jack Reuler
Costume Design by Paige Wilson
Lighting Design by Bryan Nortin
Media Design by Ian Evans
Sound Design by J. Middents
Scenic Art by Lauren Davis
Technical Director Jacob Reynolds
Mentor to Technical Director Kalliope Vlahos
Assistant to the Media Designer Cara Oates
Stage Manager Joseph Blanchard
Mentor to Stage Management team Rachel Bush