Monday, February 10, 2014

MICA and Charm City

At this stage of my career, I don’t get the opportunity to take many business trips. The occasional subway ride to an art supply store in an outer borough of NYC is as close as I get, and the majority of 2014 will see me chained to my drawing board. So when Shadra Strickland invited me to speak to one of her classes at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), I jumped at the chance. 

Shadra is the illustrator of several picture books, including Bird, for which she won the Ezra Jack Keats Award. She’s also an amazing and generous teacher, as I observed in her Advanced Book Illustration class last week. We began with my hour-long talk about my journey into an illustration career with some (hopefully) helpful tidbits about how to help students establish trust in themselves and with art directors, and continued with a critique of the students’ character studies for their book projects. It was such an impressive and talented group; I hope I will be able to see more of their work as it develops.

Just a quick note about Baltimore—also know as “Charm City”—with its excellent museums, deliciously inventive restaurants, and gorgeous architectural gems. Sure, there are some enormous economic and social problems, but it’s a place whose history and potential has really charmed me. With that in mind, I leave you with a photo of one of my favorite spaces in Baltimore, the Peabody Library.