I joined the ArtCenter Kid's Program faculty in 2005 and have been teaching an illustration class I designed called, "Supersize Me". After director Paula Goodman read my proposal for my class I called "The Big Picture" she renamed it "Supersize Me" and rightly so. It was the perfect name. Perfect because it challenged me to think of it in a different way, more as a personal experience for each student, one where their imagination plays a major role.
I would start by teaching students how to make and use the grid to guide their large illustrations, the same way muralists do when they paint giant pictures on the sides of buildings. In this way the class would have the necessary structure needed in order for students to complete the big projects in a short amount of time. Learning to see in proporation and in relationship requires that one work on their ability to measure and estimate well, this is fundamental in learning how to draw well. Supersize Me is an experience that kid's can fully emerse themselves into, literally, the giant class projects are as much a physical accomplishment as they are artistic.
To really understand the scope of these class projects I have to include these in class photos. In 2005 I didn't really plan to do an all class project, a student of mine was struggling a bit and became really frustrated. I told him that we would do one big final project where he could do whatever he wanted. It became known as "The Bandaid Elvis" from that point on I decided to a big class project. Every year they got bigger. On average the class projects are 9ft. by 18ft.
Right from the beginning it was my intent to introduce the fundamentals with the aid of the grid, so I chose simple images of buckets, tea pots, cups, toasters and toys to explain things like compostition, proportion, light and shade, highlights, core shadows, exagerated form, texturing, foreshortening, tint, tone, shade and intensity (in terms of color) and so on. I held nothing back and purposely emersed my students in the total experience. The second part of my aim was to prompt them to use their imagination. I felt that approaching the projects from these two perspectives would produce the needed balance and dynamic that I wanted to see in their work. Structure and imagination – randomness and control, it worked and it has been exciting to watch my students grab hold of it and run.
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I now have a profile page on The Pasadena Artists Registry for those who are looking to hire me for projects in Pasadena, just click on the city seal above. When there click on "search for artists' and put in my name Joseph Powell. Please feel free to browse.