The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, January 28, 2015, Page 14, Image 14

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Illustration workshop encourages students
By Jodi Schneider mcNamee
Opportunity knocked for
students of all ages when
illustrator Dave McMacken
from Astoria held an art semi-
nar at Sisters High School last
Gunnarson, Sisters High
School art teacher, walked
into McMacken’s gallery,
Ratz & Company, in Astoria
while on vacation, she was
impressed with his illustra-
tions. She asked McMacken
to come to Sisters to do a
workshop and he agreed.
“This is a wonderful
chance for my students to
see some professional art-
work, and Dave will be talk-
ing about life experiences and
careers in art,” Gunnarson
McMacken’s career has
spanned over five decades
of professional work, from
album covers to video game
covers and movie theater
posters to the harbors of
McMacken discussed his
work methods, the impor-
tance of drawing and com-
puter skills, and where the
line between a painter and
a commercial illustrator
“Drawing skills are the
basics of all illustrating,
your ability to draw sets you
apart from other artists,” said
McMacken. “So keep your
sketchpads with you all the
time and sketch. Drawing
is the whole enchilada with
The seminar was an
opportunity to learn about the
tradition and heritage of illus-
tration and how it evolved.
“An illustration is the act
of telling a story through a
drawing, sketch, painting,
etc. using a graphical repre-
sentation,” McMacken said.
“The drawing has to be strik-
ing and interesting to look at.
It’s commercial art, and that’s
what I am, a commercial artist
who is a freelance illustrator.
“Illustration itself is an
early American tradition,
and it came about a couple
Fri. & Sat. at 6 p.m.
Pre-set menu online
Call for rewervationw
Camp Sherman
photo by JoDi schneiDeR mcnamee
dave mcmacken and his poster “attack of the Humans” that is currently in movie theaters.
of centuries ago. It actually
originated in Europe, and as
technology evolved illus-
tration evolved. So we can
think of the first painters or
illustrators as entertainment.
Painting at salons in Europe
was a way of entertainment at
the time. People went to see
the show, just like you go to
the movies.”
McMacken explained
the relevance of learning
about the few famous art-
ists that mastered the art of
“Howard Pyle was always
considered to be the father of
American illustration. He was
responsible for training many
people in his art class. One of
his most famous students was
N.C. Wyeth, he became one
of America’s greatest illus-
trators, and his son Andrew
Wyeth was probably the
most famous painter in the
McMacken mentioned
numerous art schools and
how they differed, and which
would be the best choice for a
career in illustration. He also
emphasized how important
a portfolio is for the artist’s
finest artwork. Every illustra-
tor’s portfolio communicates
a message about the artist.
“When getting into an art
school you’re going to need
a magical thing called a port-
folio. A portfolio is a constant
thing with art and you are
fine-tuning it with each job,”
McMacken said.
McMacken also discussed
the “behind-the-scenes” pro-
cess he went through for
one recent commissioned
illustration he developed for
M&M’S candy, titled “Attack
of the Humans,” a poster
point-of-purchase display that
is in movie theaters now.
He encouraged students to
continue to study and practice
their craft.
“Take every drawing and
painting class you can get
your hands on, it all adds
up for better skills and for
your repertoire. There are all
kinds of categories of illus-
tration that you can go into,
such as book covers, comic
books, even animation for
films. There are also all dif-
ferent ways to make a living
at being a freelance illustra-
tor, too. But remember you’ll
need 12 to 20 pivotal pieces
of your work in a portfolio.
Just do the best job you can,
and the benefits will pay off
the more you practice.”
For more information visit
• Susan Springer wrote:
A big thank-you to The
Roundhouse Foundation
for funding the new Jazz
Ensemble at Sisters Middle
This mixed-grade
ensemble is led by Tyler
Cranor, who joined Sisters
Middle School as the music
director at the beginning
of this school year. Tyler’s
goal is to grow and re-ener-
gize the music program,
develop students’ musi-
cal skills and bring aware-
ness and pride to the music
When these budding
musicians have practiced a
little more, they’ll take their
combo on the road around
Sisters, so stay tuned for
some cool jazz! Thanks,
Roundhouse, for making it
Shh…Secret Sale!
Every Friday
50% OFF
One item featured
Creek Mercantile
290 W. Cascade Ave.
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