SchoolArts Magazine

MAY 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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26 MAY 2019 SchoolArts L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G ARTIST Q&A What are some of the biggest influences on your work, including other artists, events, or things outside of the arts? Veronica Fish: My biggest comic influences are Will Eis- ner, Paul Grist, and Marc Hempel. Most of the people I a m most inspired by never had any formal training or went to art school, just exorbitant amounts of passion, self-discipline, and diligence. Outside of comics my biggest influences are film—I'm obsessed! Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Alfred Hitch- cock, François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, David Lynch...I could go on about film all day. I am also obsessed with learning new things. While drawing I'll listen to audio books, cooking shows, language practice, operas, etc. What is a typical workday like for you? VF: I get up at 8:00 a.m., walk the dog, have breakfast with my husband, and begin working around 9:00 a.m. We break for lunch and more dog walks, but I'll draw until about 9:00 at night. I usually have a few covers to do dur- ing the month as well as interior art, which to make one comic book is about 22 pages. So each month I have to finish around 30 pieces of art. I work about 12 hours a day when it's crunch time, but take weekends off. Do you have specific strategies, rituals, or routines that help you work and/or generate ideas? VF: Getting excited and inspired by many other things besides comics always keeps me pumped. I love film, so I watch and enjoy hunting down rare movies, watch operas and Shakespeare plays, discover new albums, and try to get to a museum. Singing while working keeps the mood up and makes the time fly! It's important to draw for fun, even after you've drawn all day for someone else! It's vital to enjoy the act of mak- ing something. My husband and I love to doodle the weird- est, funniest cartoons quickly and without fussing, which feels like stretching after a long day of working on a hyper- detailed, realistic piece. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as an emerging artist? VF: Don't see being an artist as a "higher calling," one that is exalted over everything else. Art can be a fun job, but if you are going to do this as a way to earn a living, sever the feeling of preciousness between you and your art. It is a job like everyone else's; there are good days and bad. Your work is a commodity in the market and that's a good thing. Express yourself with personal work, give 110% for your professional clients, but don't tie your self-worth to your art. Working with others is an essential part of creating comic books. What advice do you have for students about collaboration? VF: Develop good judgment. Know when to speak up, know when to let it go, know how to accept critique, know how to take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes you are paired up with someone that just makes your work sing, you feel pumped by what they make; they feel pumped by what you make—and it's amazing. Sometimes, not so much. So, you just get through it as best you can and plan the next project with your dream team again. Many art teachers and students argue about the value of copying famous characters versus creating original characters. Do you think one is more important, or are both necessary? VF: All artists must copy whom they love while develop- ing their own voice. If a student is inspired and motivated I don't think the teacher should do anything to discour- age it. Let them do a 200-page Batman comic and they'll figure out their own character in the future. Inspiration and excitement must be nurtured as much as possible, as young as possible, as long as possible. DISCUSSION Introduce students to Veronica Fish's work and ask them if they are familiar with any of the characters. Next, ask students to identify the emotion or expressions they see in each character. Ask students to explain why they think each character is shown with those expressions. What kind of a story might be happening? Ask students to create a list of situations or emotions that would work well in one of Fish's illustrations. STUDIO EXPERIENCES Storyboarding with Veronica Fish • Take a paragraph (from a book or film script) and try your hand at storyboarding. You will have to find each "beat" of the story, including where to put silence, o verhead shots, low angles, landscapes, etc. • Visualize being behind the camera and framing each s hot. It's good practice to avoid the overuse of medium and close-ups. Consider how each camera angle informs the story. For example, why might an artist or filmmake r d ecide to show a tiny character on a vast landscape, or t o not show the character at all, using only shots of their p rops to tell the viewer about their backstory? • C omplete a draft of your storyboard and share it with a c lassmate to see if the sequencing makes sense befor e moving on to your final draft . Written by Karl Cole, Art Historian and Curator of Images at Davis Publications and Robb Sandagata, Digital Curriculum Director and Editor at Davis Publications. RESOURCES Website: Blog: Twitter and Instagram: @itsveronicafish

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