Tuesday, February 19, 2013

landscaping with jamey.

This week I wanted the 2nd graders to gain a bit more practice creating 3d space in a drawing. They did a great job with last week's Lisa Congdon's icebergs, so I thought it would be interesting if they applied the same set of skills to a landscape instead of a seascape.

I decided to share the work of Washington D.C. based illustrator Jamey Christoph with my classes. Looking at his landscapes was perfect practice for students to identify overlapping, value changes, size changes, and vertical placement in art.

Jamey has a somewhat retro style. Some elements are simplified and others are exaggerated. His work reminds me of some of the settings used in the old Looney Tunes cartoons, I'm thinking of the roadrunner landscapes and bugs bunny/ elmer fudd showdown spaces in particular. I love his color palette too, often muted throughout an image with a burst of color here or there.

I decided to focus on the landscape below. I liked how the trees in the front went from top to bottom and overlapped everything else. This was a lot different than the space of Lisa's icebergs, which, while close, still seemed out of arms' reach.

I asked students to draw as lightly as they could, so the viewer wouldn't be able to see many outlines. Students worked from the front of the image to the back, deciding tree placement, direction of the path, what their bushes looked like, and where those bushes would go.

Next, they used colorsticks to add color value to the drawing. Students made the front dark by pressing hard, and with each layer I asked them to press more softly, so those parts would be lighter and look farther away. The sky color was up to them, the only thing I asked was that they attempt to make the sky darker at the top and lighter by the ground. Students used both the tip of the colorstick to add color, as well as the side to fill in larger areas.

The final step was to go back to the front and add shadows to the big trees and to add plant life along the bottom edge of the paper. This pushed the value contrast in the drawing a bit more, and provided some more interaction between that first layer and the field beyond it.

The 2nd graders are getting the hang of this whole 3d space thing. Next time I see them I'll see how they do with paint to create similar effects:)


  1. Great as always Don, I feel like I learn something new every time I stop by your blog : )

  2. Hi Don and student artists at Zamorano!

    Wow!! These are amazing! What a thrill to see a little of my influence in these beautiful and evocative landscapes. You guys rocked the depth and composition in these, but what really gets me excited, is the unique feeling and mood each artist chose to express in their landscape. Some skies are peaceful, other's appear stormy, and some have a bright red or orange glow, like at sunset. The mark making and overall textures really drive the atmosphere of the piece as well. Splendid work guys! Thank you for sharing. Please draw more landscapes, It will be a treat to see where your creativity takes you. - Jamey

  3. I agree, these are great. I'm so glad that I stumbled upon your blog through Lisa Congdon and can't wait to see more! ♥