Jillian Tamaki


Mar 3rd, 2011

I have always been thankful that I did my Foundation year in a Fine Arts environment. (I went to Queen’s University.) To have spent time around fine artists has shaped the way I think about images, make images, and my understanding of Illustration.

One of the exercises made quite an impression on me was one that involved charcoal powder and reductive drawing. Lay down a ground of charcoal powder down (you can make your own powder by rubbing charcoal onto sandpaper) and pick out the light with erasers… kneaded/sharpened with an xacto, etc. This relinquishing of control can be frustrating until you learn to accept the media on its own terms. Because the elements are typically very foreign, it lends itself to a sense of play, which is entirely the point.

I did the aforementioned exercise with my students today. They came up with some entirely unexpected and delightful results; some looked like silkscreen prints, some looked like etchings, some looked like constellations in the sky. Still so many of them seemed skeptical. As if by virtue of NOT spending countless hours slaving away on a picture somehow invalidated the whole thing!