View Full Version : TAD KC Workshop student experiences
June 22nd, 2010, 10:44 PM
We are here at the TAD workshop working hard with a stellar group of instructors and it has been an amazing week so far.
So many great instructors have been showing their process how they work and talked through it.
First week we had Brad Rigney show his process and talk about his art, The outstanding Mark English who delivered one of my life's most important lessons of simplicity and looking at the whole in figure drawing, George Pratt has done a bunch of demos and presentations, Marshall Vandruff is slaying it on the anatomy side, Gary Kelley had an amazing presentation, John English has been delivering some outstanding presentations and assignment reviews, Terry Brown former Director for The Society of Illustrators gave us some amazing historical knowledge, we just saw first demonstration from the amazing Anita Kunz, C.F. Payne put it down heavy with demonstration and presentation, Brent Watkinson gave a mind boggling amount of information about color theory....
Oh and Francis Vallejo and Dorian Iten are around giving great advices, helping us out with our projects and delivering some presentations as well.
We've been working on our first assignment for a week now, which is mainly about the 5 step process explained in the taste of TAD free illuminati class. Starting with the thumbnails and getting the basic shapes and values down for "Immediate read" compositionally, refining it and slapping some color theory on top of it by looking at how the old masters did it.
The amount of information these teachers are able to deliver and the quality of teaching is phenomenal and everything is explained so everyone will understand it and no one is left behind. Top of that the fellow students are super motivated and inspired by everyone around.
The more we learn about the school, the more awesome it is becoming. This school is an amazing opportunity for so many of us who couldn't have made the astronomical payments of a normal art school or for those who have no art schooling like this in their region.
I personally would like to thank you Jason Manley and the TAD stuff for giving such an opportunity for those whom it wouldn't have worked any other way. So thank you for the bottom of my heart!
We'll keep posting our experiences fro the workshop to this thread so you guys will have better idea how the school works and what it can offer.
Sorry for the over the top appraisal but it's not easy not to say good things about such an awesome program.
I believe just as ConceptArt.org was a beginning of something new, so will this school be.
If you can't get on the whole program I highly suggest getting the single classes. These instructors have studied decades this stuff and they will deliver and pass down the knowledge passed onto them by the great masters.
June 22nd, 2010, 11:08 PM
Having come from a previous art school with a four year bachelors degree in studio art I can say that this 3 week TAD workshop has packed in more information then my entire art college experience. The diversity of the instructors combined with their massive amount of artistic knowledge and real world industry experience has given the students here the largest advantage of pure art education I have ever seen. I can imagine how skilled any student who attends the TAD program will be after only a short period of time. A 2.5 year program is going to create an army of talented, business understanding, intelligent artists rivaling the best art schools around at a fraction of the cost. Anyone willing to work hard and stay focused is going to bound past their art peers in no time.
That being said here are two pictures from the C. F. Payne demo at the future KC pod location. I'm sure there are much better photos that Jason Manley and George Pratt have been taking but it's a start. :yayca:
June 23rd, 2010, 12:48 AM
I pretty much ditto what Yuza said.
The instructors are beyond stellar; everything is being presented in a very practical, appealing way. They're delivering mountains of information that you could spend endless lifetimes studying, yet they still take the time to consider the individual students' needs. They're all very friendly and more than willing to provide help, and their critique isn't even the tiniest bit condescending; everything is encouraging and totally focused on bringing the students to the next level.
And that's just the instructors, the other students are incredible as well; they're not only kind, but also talented and passionate. Everyone here has the potential to be an artistic legend, and TAD is bringing us all that opportunity.
The only bad thing I've found about the workshop so far is that it's going to be over in a couple weeks. Fortunately, they've still got two and a half years in store, which I can't wait to journey through.
Huge thanks to Jason and everyone else who's making this program possible, this is going to bring about great things for those who will seize the opportunity. :)
June 23rd, 2010, 01:51 AM
Might as well keep the praise flowing.
I arrived late to the workshop and that was this past sunday at about 3:30pm. After two full days (and i mean full 8:30a-10:30p), I have some great notes in my sketchbook and I have seen some amazing demos and tons of information. And I'm not just talking about casual information, I'm talking about some skilled and functional information. I have really enjoyed myself here. It has been great to have a place to work with like minded people who are passionate about art and work hard.
Every person here is doing art as much as they can, getting to class early and staying late. I cannot wait for the school to begin. I think that the online education combined with the POD environment will provide an unrivaled scenario.
I hope everyone else is working as hard as we are to prepare for school, see you on elluminate and in the PODs.
June 24th, 2010, 01:42 PM
This workshop has been amazing. As the others have said, the content being provided is top-rate, but what has been really awesome is the opportunity to forge personal relationships with all the amazing artists that have come through. I would never have believed you if you told me a year ago that I'd be working along side all this monster talent. Moreover, I've noticed a marked improvement in my picturemaking in just these few short weeks.
Each day is a fun new challenge as I try to cram more knowledge into my already overflowing brain! :)
June 24th, 2010, 06:14 PM
Marshall is the man!!
Actually, I really shouldn't single him out, all the instructors here are great and filled with all sorts of useful information and can relay their experiences. Not to mention the peer environment. People were so welcoming when I arrived in Kansas City. I've been loving it, and doing more than my fair share of art theory osmosis.
One of the things I was discussing with John was how much of my art is directed by intuition, but the information I'm getting is really helping me to acknowledge why I do certain things, and purposefully make decisions on when to do them in future artwork. It's awesome.
I look forward to kickin it in San Fran. Bring it on!
June 28th, 2010, 07:26 PM
The guy who had to stay behind to take a Media Studies exam is being eaten by the green eyed monster. TAD is going to kick miles and miles of ass.
June 29th, 2010, 10:24 AM
Hey, I just arrived here in KC from the Richmond Illustration Academy. Can't say how awesome this program is. Francis' demo last night was killer, and my week with the Illustration Academy was THE BEST month of education I have ever been exposed to. I really hope I can become an official part of this program soon. If you guys are considering it, definitely drop questions it has been a great experience here so far around some great energy. Not to mention KC is a beautiful city.
June 29th, 2010, 04:23 PM
I felt kinda convicted to put this up here, if it's inappropriate feel free to remove it, I just felt inclined to mention it.
I just want to comment again on the amazing faculty and students participating in TAD.
The other day I had some major personal problems appear (not in any way brought on by TAD). The very night it happened, John English, George Pratt, and Jon Foster drove all the way up to the dorms that the students are living in and stayed with me for support well after midnight, and a couple of the students stayed with me till nearly 2:30 in the morning.
Through the entire ordeal I've received so much incomparable love, generosity, and support from both the teachers and the students that I can hardly even believe it. People I've only known for a matter of days have become my closest friends, and people who should be in the midst of hordes of adoring fans are giving me their personal support and assistance.
For those participating in TAD, you are not just learning with some of the greatest artists to have ever lived, you are learning with some of the greatest human beings to have ever lived. This program is going to be... unbelievable. No matter what petty drama may be going on over the internet, this program is revolutionary, and I hope everyone gets to see that. You are dealing with the absolute best of the best of the best in every way, and I look forward to spending the next few years growing with everyone.
Thank you TAD, and everyone in it.
June 30th, 2010, 12:29 AM
I just wanted to remind you that you have my support! Please do not hesitate to call or email.
All the best and I look forward to seeing you in July (online)!
June 30th, 2010, 02:47 PM
Jon you have my support too. Wish I could have been there to give you a hug.
June 30th, 2010, 07:21 PM
Yep Jon...from here too. If you want to reach me, you have my card and can hit me up anytime.
June 30th, 2010, 08:10 PM
It was great meeting you and I hope you take what you've learned here and turn it into a massive train, chugging to achieve the best goal you can possible set for yourself. Keep busy my friend, your bound to be a great image maker, your definitely at the right place.
take care Jon
July 1st, 2010, 01:58 PM
I am thinking of you. Always go to family friends and your art when you feel the need. All will help.
You are an amazing young man.
July 1st, 2010, 06:06 PM
We're missing your involvement at the workshop. I wish that I had more time to spend with you, but there will be the opportunity to do so in the future. I wish you well through the trying times ahead.
July 1st, 2010, 08:06 PM
Jon, hang in there buddy! You are missed here, but you have a huge new family to lean on. Take care of yourself!
July 1st, 2010, 11:26 PM
Sitting here at the end of another long day at the Kansas City TAD. There's a quiet hum as all of us wind down. To my left is Andrew Jones surfing the net and Sterling Hundley, John English and Marshall Vandruff are all chilling out.
Andrew Jones gave an incredible demonstration today in Painter. Very impressive to watch him work. I especially enjoyed watching the gestural mark-making discovery process he uses to ideate.
Marshall gave another wonderful class in anatomy and figure drawing. I would have killed for this kind of instruction when I was in school. There wasn't anything remotely like this when I was a student. Very cool!
The students at the TAD have been really great. They're working their way through some interesting pictorial challenges and learning a ton about picture-making, drawing and painting.
July 2nd, 2010, 02:55 PM
The TAD workshop continues to be awesome. I'm really bummed that it's coming to an end... even though I'll get to chat with all my new friends over the internet, it just won't be the same as working in the same room with them.
This workshop has helped improve my picture-making skills a ton, and while I feel like all the info is still settling in, here's a piece I made here that I'm proud of:
July 2nd, 2010, 04:44 PM
More workshop art!
My portrait assignment was of Evan (aka Thyname on CA)
Also did a monotype portrait of one of the students, Jon, with a bit of digital touchup.
July 2nd, 2010, 05:07 PM
HA those are all great! Super nice guys!
July 2nd, 2010, 08:35 PM
Great stuff everyone!!! Could you guys email me your pics you took during the program? I did not get to see everything and would love to see the pics and post any good ones up on my fb. jmanleyATtheartdepartment.org
July 3rd, 2010, 02:04 AM
Hello there, just wanted to say that TAD workshop has been most amazing thing that has happened to my art up to this point, it will take months to understand all the information i have been given here, absolutely amazing!
My love to everyone who participated :mittenbop: absolutely amazing teachers! and yes, marshall is the man!
And portrait assingment
July 4th, 2010, 12:12 AM
This is my Portrait from the TAD Workshop. I attempted to use Acrylics and I don't think it would have had the limited success that it did if it was not for John and Sterlings help.
It is of Jon (Andantonius). I ended up giving this piece to Jon. Hope everything is going well Jon.
July 6th, 2010, 12:40 PM
I just posted the first installment of TAD Workshop KCMO stories on my blog:
I feel like after all the great experiences I had in the last month, I need to relate some anecdotes to the world. The second installment is coming tomorrow!
July 6th, 2010, 12:44 PM
It's great to see all the work and love from the workshop! Look forward to seeing more from everyone!
July 8th, 2010, 05:50 PM
Thought I'd throw an overview of the Illustration Academy and TAD out here. I was in Kansas City for the full run of both of these programs and it was a pleasure, as usual, to work with such dedicated teachers / professional artists and students.
One thing that always gets me is how much of a student even the instructors are. For years we have come together to teach at the Illustration Academy, and now TAD. Many of these artists have been my heroes for years, since I was in art school myself. I never thought I'd get to meet them, much less have the extreme honor of calling them friends. But each and every one of them comes to these programs because they adhere to an age-old dictum: "Pay it forward".
Below, Mark English demos for the Academy students.
Below, John English demos for the Academy students.
We've each had in the course of our careers individuals that have made all the difference to our growth as artists. I was constantly hitting the phone book in New York City calling my heroes who graciously invited me into their studio and their lives and discussed my work and how to make it better. When I mentioned that there was no way to repay them, they told me to pay it forward. Apparently I'm not alone.
Below, Gary Kelley at the Academy and TAD.
Above, Gary Kelley gives a simulcast lecture between Richmond, Virginia and Kansas City.
Below, Gary shows off his new Barnes and Noble murals to the students.
Below, Gary's pastel demo.
I look forward each year to attending the Academy / TAD. It's the place where I recharge my batteries. These artists are my family. We all bring our "A" games with us and we spur each other on to greater challenges. We also have a lot of fun. We laugh constantly and pranks are the order of the day. And through it all art is supreme. We're all there to take what we do to new heights. And each year another group of dedicated students gets added to that extended family and we get to watch each other grow.
Below, Chris Payne.
Below, Chris skewered by Mark English.
Below, Chris's demo, wherein he skewers me!
Sterling Hundley skewered by Chris.
Anyway, I had an incredible time and wanted to share some of the images I took while struggling to share the accumulated knowledge of so many teachers and students. Hope you enjoy the ride as much as we all did.
The Illustration Academy began before TAD this year and ran concurrently with TAD later. The Academy was held this year in Kansas City at the location of the new Pod for TAD, and in Richmond, VA at the location of the new Pod there as well. I didn't visit the Richmond Pod this year but have heard from several of their students who later came up to investigate the TAD that they had a blast and had as immersive a time as those students in KC.
Brent Watkinson, as usual, gave some incredible lectures that simplify composition and color, among other things. Once you sit through one of his lectures your head's screwed on just a little bit better.
One of Brent's oil paintings.
Jason Manley worked with the students at the Academy and the TAD.
Terry Brown, past director of the Society of Illustrators in New York for 20 years, came and gave an incredible lecture on the history of illustration.
The pod is located in what is known as "the Bottoms" here in KC. This is an old area full of old warehouses and factory buildings, home of the old stockyards, one of the last places settlers would visit before crossing the Missouri river on the way to their new lives. The Pod building is an odd-shaped building and we have the entire first floor of it. Inside it totally reminds me of my art school drawing rooms at Pratt Institute. I was there in the early, early '80's and the place was very rustic. Old factory buildings that were not glitzy in any shape or form, but that made it all the more full of character and seemed to enhance our need to create.
One of the things that has always differentiated the Illustration Academy from other schools, besides the caliber of the instructors, is the immersive aspect of everything we do. Students are encouraged to plaster their walls with inspirational work, postcards, tearsheets, posters, etc. Each student's space becomes a microcosm of their world and their influences. One can walk from station to station and pick up new influences and a different artistic vibe. There you might find ways of approaching the same assignment that would never have otherwise occurred to you. It's a wonderful sharing of knowledge without even having to say a word. Pretty cool.
Materials are left out, as well as computers and books. We've never had an instance of theft by students in the Academy, as far as I know. We have had things stolen by outsiders coming in, but it's been very, very rare. I can think of only one occurrence, actually, from several years ago. Students can stay as late as they wish (many stay over night) and can come in when they wish as well. One student will generally be entrusted with a key.
There's always an energy in the studio. Something is usually going on. When we get into the thick of things there's lots going on at once. Students are working, instructors are milling about trying to help, and there might be a photo shoot going on in the back room, or someone might be transferring a drawing, someone cooking some food or cutting boards down. A guitar might be pulled out and tunes shared. Some students might be outside in the lawn chairs just chilling out enjoying the air.
Brad Rigney talking with a Simon from Australia who will be attending the full TAD.
Two nights a week (three when TAD started) we have life drawing for two or three hours. EVERYONE draws. Mark English would come in and join us every drawing night. Very cool. In the beginning we focused on the Academy approach, which is all about seeing the silhouette of the figure and simple value structure. But the drawings are really interesting. It's all about seeing effectively. If you've participated in any of the Discovery classes, you probably were introduced to this approach there. It's a great way to see the figure in its entirety. The poses are not long, at the most 10 or so minutes. But it's surprising what students are able to accomplish.
Later, near the end of the Academy, John (English) allows me to take over the drawing and push the quick gesture work. We do five-second gestures and build slowly up to, say, two or three minutes. It's fast work, but incredibly effective in getting people to respond to the figure in front of them and not to get into any holding patters with their drawing. They have to make decisions instantaneously and commit to the lines they're putting down. It'll wear you out. But it's exciting too.
The way the Academy runs is unique. Aside from the full-time faculty a professional artist will come in for one week (say, Gary Kelley). He gives a slide presentation of his work and career, then gives his assignment. This year Gary's assignment was to illustrate the color blue. He then works with students for that week on the entire process needed to carry a job from initial assignment, through ideation (thumbnails, etc), to completion of the final piece. The students usually have only two or three days to finish the final. Most of the work is on the front end, thumbnails, ideation, composition, color, etc. Students work throughout the weekends, to the critique of the job on Monday.
Below, Anita Kunz (after having just been awarded the Order of Canada) arrived to work with the students.
Anita and Alex (another Canadian) stand at attention for the Canadian anthem.
Another professional artist arrives and, being the new set of eyes, critiques that job. And the cycle begins all over. During all this work, demonstrations are given by the visiting and full-time faculty. There's never a dull moment.
Below, one of my monotype demos for the students.
Below, my oil demo in progress.
Instructors this year included: Mark English, Gary Kelley, Chris Payne, Anita Kunz, Jason Manley, Jon Foster, Brad Rigney, Terry Brown, Marshall Vandruff, Sterling Hundley, Andrew Jones, Francis Vallejo, Trey Bryan, Jane Radstrom, John English, Brent Watkinson and myself (George Pratt). Quite a crew!
Below, Marshall Vandruff teaching Anatomy to the TAD students.
Below, Andrew Jones wowed students with his presentation, then did a demo to top it all off.
Andrew Jones hanging out with students after his demo.
Andrew chilling out later that night, sketching on the sofa.
Sterling Hundley's demo.
Francis Vallejo speaks with the students and does a demo.
For relaxation students could hit the Kansas City sights. We also were invited a couple of times to Mark English's home where we had hamburgers, beer and soda, plus the advantage of getting to see his studio piled with art in progress. Unbelievably inspiring! Several students also brought in musical instruments and would play out at the front of the building or behind the building where we had a grill.
Below, from left to right: Andrew Jones, John English, Mark English and Marshall Vandruff at Mark English's studio.
Below, Mark English brought his dog Tug in. He became the students' mascot.
Below, students and faculty from TAD and Academy hanging out at First Friday in Kansas City.
At the end of each Academy we have a raffle and let students pick out various pieces of art produced by the instructors. This year we gave away over 80 pieces of art (drawings, paintings, monotypes, prints) that took four rounds to complete. Each student got at least three pieces!
Last night of the Academy.
The introduction to TAD also began while the Academy was in session and was held at UMKC in Kansas City. There were 18 students for that program and I suggest anyone interested in hearing a student's perspective should read through Andy Brinkman's post on his blog. He had a great time there and is an incredibly dedicated student.
First day of TAD.
Andrew Jones sketching right before the final crit for TAD.
John English and Andrew Jones during final crit for TAD.
Sterling Hundley during final TAD crit.
Final TAD crit.
So, rather than drag this out even longer, I'll finish with a pile of sketchbook images and hope that it gives you a good sense of the fun and work involved in this grand undertaking that is TAD and Academy!
July 8th, 2010, 10:04 PM
Oh man George thanks for posting all the pics!
I miss everyone from the academy so much...and yeah even the TADpoles I guess... (naw really you guys were awesome)
It was without a doubt one of the best experiences I've had in a long time. I learned way more than I imagined I ever would and got to meet amazing people who I know I'll hang on to as friends (already planning a trip to Tennessee to see louise and Marie...can't get enough of the USA, eh?)
I think what's really interesting about it is the fact that since I've been back I've been overwhlemed with taking in all of the information i got while at the academy, but even more by the desire to just keep pushing ahead and getting better. It's not just the faculty that make TAD and Ill Acad an incredible experience, it's being surrounded 24/7 by students just like you who want it more than anything. That to me was really one of the most important and unique aspects of the experience.
I really miss everyone, I'm getting all sappy about it now. Love you guys! And i miss you all, how's your friend lum, George?
July 9th, 2010, 01:24 AM
You are well on your way Miss B. Keep putting in the long hours and if you need anything let us know and I am sure there will always be a helping hand. Keep at it!
I know what you mean about feeling inspired too. That is how it was for me when I left the Academy. It was pure fire for two years before my career caught the wave it needed. Granted you are farther ahead than I was back then. Keep going and the sky is the limit. Same goes for the others there. What a great bunch. Richmond was just the same.
Good to see you.
Again, George...I think that is my fave post ever on CA. You captured the essence of a lot of the experience. I can't thank you enough.
July 9th, 2010, 03:33 AM
Great post George! Awesome pics as normal. I'm just now seeing the oil demo...incredible!!!!
I'm outrageously honored to have somehow found myself in such company, and hopefully I contributed positively to everyone!!!
One of the best aspects of the Academy/TAD is the lifelong friends you make. It seems to have been no different this year. Such wonderful people.
Thanks again for the honor of including me and everyone stay in touch!!!!!!
July 9th, 2010, 09:02 AM
Oh man, I REALLY hope I can go the The Illustration Academy someday.
July 9th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Laura: you should. This was my first time and i really want to go back next year. kc is the best one, Richmond is alright i guess, but they don't have tug. ;)
Jason: <3 thanks so much
July 9th, 2010, 02:44 PM
What an amazing experience the academy was when I went. Participating in the program again this year makes the experience that much more incredible! I made some huge connections, and life long friends. Seeing the faces behind the names on here really puts all this in perspective for me, we are all real, who want to learn and perform well with whatever we do. Its an honor to be able to call not only the TAD/IA faculty friends, but the students as well. Jane and I are forcing the KC POD students to go out and search for inspiration through traveling/ camping/ painting/ ect. and bring what they find back into the studio. So if we call you around your neck of the woods for a couch to sleep on- please, share the love and come learn and paint with us!
July 9th, 2010, 10:38 PM
Son of a !@#$%,
WOW! That is one awesome visual post Mr. Pratt! Now I need to turn in my teacher credentials and become a student again. Oh why oh why wasn't something like this around when I was younger. But hey never to old to learn!
July 10th, 2010, 10:38 AM
Can you imagine the effect on a student coming out of High School and going straight into TAD. They are going to be light years ahead of the pack!
This is too cool, I can't wait to see the portfolios when they complete our program.
July 10th, 2010, 01:28 PM
The portfolios will prove it. The jobs they get will prove it. The industry movers and shakers that they become will prove it. There will be superstars.
July 10th, 2010, 10:52 PM
Awesome photos George! The last month and a half felt like well over a year of art college learning packed with double the fun. My thanks goes out to the Illustration Academy/TAD Instructors and Students for a great learning experience and summer.
I hope to see everyone again in the near future!
July 11th, 2010, 10:55 AM
I decided to start a new piece last night and started right off the bat with thumbnails and various note-taking and ideas.
Just a few short weeks of learning has already gotten me in to good habits I should've had for years. I love you, TAD. <3
July 11th, 2010, 03:33 PM
holy crap I never thought I could be so jealous! Ahh can't wait till spring 2011.. Although I won't be able to afford the workshop even then... I wish I lived in America...
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