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Job: 11803 Title: #218076# Drawing Lessons From The Famous Artists School (Rockport)
DTP: GLP Page: 17
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CHARACTER, PLOT, AND SETTING
Jon Whitcomb Woman in Hat, c. 1948. Watercolor on paper
In this study, Whitcomb imbues his subject with a sense of mystery by angling her face away from us while diverting
her glance toward us and casting a shadow over her forehead and brows. Red lips and the whites of the model’s
eyes become eye-catchers in an otherwise somber image.
Color study details for Art Critic, 1955, cover for The Saturday Evening Post, April 16, 1955. Oil on acetate board.
Norman Rockwell in his Stockbridge, Massachusetts, studio surrounded by his many
studies for Art Critic.
Just as in works of literature, character, plot, and setting play import-
ant roles for narrative artists — often in varying degrees, depending
upon the intent of their piece. Character is the “who,” plot is the
“what,” and setting is the “where and when” of any visual story, and
each of the Famous Artists had a dierent approach to incorporating
these elements. When reading through a manuscript to create an
editorial illustration, Jon Whitcomb visualized the story as a movie.
“Viewed this way, the big scene or scenes aren’t hard to locate,” he
said. “Some stories lend themselves to interesting poses and layouts.
Others haven’t much action at all, in which case the artist must
invent some . . . or plan a mood illustration which will give the
reader a quick impression.
Skillfully executed, extreme close-ups of attractive young women
for large-format women’s magazines were illustrator Jon Whitcomb’s
stock in trade. His “character” paintings emphasized the play of
light and shadow on his subjects in arresting works that accentuated
subtle expressions and distinctive facial features, from well-defined
eyebrows to full lips and high, contoured cheekbones.
Text
NOW YOU TRY IT!
inspired by life
Come up with three art concepts
inspired by events in your own
life, and sketch them out in rough
thumbnail drawings measuring
about 3" x 5" (7. 5 x 12.5 cm).
What story are you are trying
to tell?
What characters, details, and
settings would best convey
your ideas?
Of the three drawings, which is
the strongest and most authentic?
Is there a single element in your
chosen work that should be re-
placed to strengthen your concept?
Might you introduce an element
of fantasy in your concept, as in
Rockwell’s Art Critic?
Now develop your favorite thumb-
nail into a more finished work by
gathering references and refining
picture elements in the medium of
your choice.
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Job: 11803 Title: #218076# Drawing Lessons From The Famous Artists School (Rockport)
DTP: GLP Page: 17
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