Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meeting James Gurney

The small group poses with James Gurney (center). Brandon and I are second and third to the right.

 I grew up loving the story and illustrations of "Dinotopia," so it was a no-brainer when I was asked if I wanted to attend a James Gurney Workshop and lecture. Ok, let me back up for a second. My husband, Brandon, is studying at GHSU (formerly MCG) for his Masters degree in Medical Illustration. The University was able to snag Mr Gurney as he and his wife traveled through the vicinity to attend a wedding. The Medical Illustration department was invited to the small group . . and yay! me too!

Unfortunately, it was unclear until it was too late, that this was a workshop, so none of us came prepared. Ah well. Better luck next time, Batman.

Mr. Gurney turns out to be a very friendly, sorta silly, down-to-earth kind of guy despite his amazing skill and success.

He spoke about and demonstrated using water color pencils along with re-fillable water brushes for on-the-go sketching. I had always considered anything more than pencils or pens too much trouble for travel, but his methods seem very enticing.

Here you can catch a glimpse of his tools and process:


He did pass around a couple of his in-progress water-color moleskins. Here he has painted "Skizzenbuck," German for "sketchbook," on the cover of one moleskin, because--well, hell, why not?

It's hard not to drool . . .

He also talked about composition and line of sight with lots of references to John Singer SargentHoward Pyle, Andrew Wyeth, and J.M.W. turner, among others. 

Brandon got his copy of "Light and Color" signed.  It now has a T-Rex on the cover page, courtesy of Mr. Gurney. Here's one of his classmates showing off the sketch Mr. Gurney obligingly doodled in her sketchbook. 

My childhood copy of "Dinotopia," sadly, is currently residing in Iowa, so I had to be satisfied with a new--and yes, you guessed it--signed, copy of "The World Beneath".

And . . . a doodle.

By the way, In Chinese, "Dinotopia" translates literally to "Terrible Lizard Happy Dream Kingdom". I knew you would want to know.

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