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January 29, 2008

Emily Graupner

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My historical figure is from the 3rd century. Zenobia, a Syrian woman, was the Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in 269 AD. She proclaimed herself the Queen of Egypt after expelling the Roman prefect of Egypt. After several years in power she was defeated by Aurelian and sent back to Rome. Although Zenobia was captured, Aurelian was quite taken to her and allowed her to freedom. She spent the rest of her years in luxury as a socialite and Roman matron, and became a philosopher as well (information taken from Wikipedia).
Zenobia was known for her beauty and strength as a strategic leader. I think I’m going to use several types of media for this project to capture her beauty and her strength. This is just a sketch of her (inspired by a portrait bust) and possible positions I might put her in.

January 28, 2008

Clarissa Kramer

For my historical person I chose Anne Boleyn the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Although she has a few portraits, from what I've picked up on reading about her, the portraits don't really seem to fit her. From what I found on her life and her relationship with Henry, I thought to portray her more accurately to her personality traits. I thought that Anne Boleyn had such interesting historical information, that it would aid in creating an interesting portrait of her.


Molly Andrews

Tycho Brahe was a sixteenth century astronomer who was able to make the most accurate measurements of many things, mostly mars though. Because of his redundant work Kepler was able to do his work which is the foundation of astronomy and physical science today. Tycho put forth his own theory for how the solar system worked, which was incorrect but was accepted by the catholic church for years. There are some conspiracy theories about his death and the possibility of someone poisoning him. Other fun facts: he wore a prosthetic nose made of metal, he was a nobleman who married a commoner, Shakespeare's Hamlet has many connections to astronomy and Tycho that some astronomers are proud of and some critics don't even acknowledge, it was rumored that he had a midget as a jester and a domestic moose for a pet.

Nikki Anderson


The historical figure that I chose was Deborah Samson. Deborah Samson helped to support military pension laws in the united states and the military. She disguised herself as a many in the Continental army and fought during the American Revolution. After an injury caused her identity to be exposed she received an honorable discharge. Following her discharge she campaigned to secure pension, and was later named the official heroine of Massachusetts and May 23rd became Deborah Samson Day.

For my project I would like to contradict the issue of gender and Debroah's hidden identity under her uniform. I would like to work with thin papers and layer many of them on top of eachother representing the many layers she hid underneath.

Murasaki Shikibu

I have always been fascinated with the idea that the first modern novel was written in 960 AD by a woman in Japan. Her name was Murasaki Shikibu. Along with my graphic design major I'm also working on an english major, so it's exciting to draw inspiration from one to the other. I'm going to portray her somewhat in the way that she is in this scroll drawing. I've done some research on scrolls at the MIA, and I'm excited to use mixed media with this project.

Whitney - Sketchbook Post #1

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View image

For my historical figure, I'm doing Xi Shi, one of the Four Beauties of Ancient China. She was a royal concubine and her beauty was said to be very distracting and caused some political upsets. I picked her because there are some legends to her story, like "the birds would see her beauty and forget to fly, the flowers would wilt, moon would pale to her beauty, etc." that I think would be fun to play off of in my illustration. I also haven't found any exact descriptions of her physical appearance so her "beauty" will be conceptualized by me. I'm thinking I'll mostly work with mixed media and some collage.

Paul Carroll - Sketchbook 1

So for my historical figure I decided that I wanted to profile a Russian revolutionary of some sort. A good friend of mine moved to Russia with hopes of being an investigative photojournalist into the inner-workings of Russian culture. I know it sounds pretty far fetched, but that guy is crazy enough to pull it off. The guy I decided to profile is Dimitri Pisarev, a Russian philosopher and social critic during the mid 19th century. The twirly things in the background of the compositional sketch are from Saint Basil's Cathedral, which I thought were pretty distinctly Russian. That and those hats. I'm a fan of those hats.

Magnus post #1


Stede Bonnet was a plantation owning gentleman that turned to piracy to avoid a nagging wife. He was one of the only know pirates to make captives 'walk the plank' yet was know as the "Gentleman Pirate". He is also noted as the only pirate ever to buy his own ship. Basically he was an anomaly in the rough and tumble world of pirates and his life strange story interests me, and this is why he is my choice. I would have done a ninja, but true ninja never reveal their face...

David Rausch - Sketchbook 1

I decided to Genghis Khan because I tend to like war figures and stories as they tend to have a very direct and profound effect on people, cultures, and life in general. He forged the great Mongolian Empire out of Asia and Europe. Not quite sure how I want to approach this yet but I'm thinking about depicting him in a way that he resembles other war hero's such as our George Washington or i'd like to draw him while including subtle images that depict all the people he has killed in his life as near the end of his life he would totally obliterate entire cities. Sometimes his ruthlessness was provoked, other times not so much.

Laura Sketchbook Post #1

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I’ve always been interested in instrument construction and repair, mainly violins and pianos (not that I’ve ever made any real substantial personal advances in this field.) Nonetheless, part of learning a trade is studying the masters of it. In terms of violin construction, one name stands out above the rest: Antonio Stradivari, the famous Italian lutier (stringed instrument maker). In his lifetime he made some 1,000 extraordinary instruments with techniques that are still not understood today. People are so infatuated with the remarkable “Strads? that it is forgotten the talented creator behind it all which I hope to give a fitting face of a dedicated, Italian craftsman.

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Itzhak Perlman plays on the “Soil? Stradivarius as seen here. This got me interested in the instruments themselves. The ones that survive today have all been given unique names relative to their history. I am delighted by this and hope to use these names somehow in my drawing as well.


For this first assignment, I've chosen Pocahontas as my subject on account of her amazing role as a link between two cultures, Algonquian and English. What's interesting is that when you search her, basically two images come up; the disney rendering which is so well accepted, and a 15th century depiction in which she is COMPLETELY Europeanized. Even though she was accepted by English society after marrying John Rolfe, being baptized, and re-named Rebecca, the painters of the time were set on depicting European features. In this project I plan on conveying both of her cultures, but I will not hide her ethnicity.



I just wrote two perfect paragraphs-and accidently deleted them. sigh. so to re-cap:

Lat Dior is a Senegalese activist who defended the national identity and led resistance against French colonists. He is known most of all for protesting the expasion of a railroad system through Senegal which would serve the trade industry-benefiting colonists. He was killed and the revolts failed, but he is still remember in Senegal as a hero.

The image I posted has inspired the direction I want to take with Lat Dior's portrait. I want use elements that I pull from Lat Dior's story to build an expressive storyline in respect to his legacy as a cultural defender. This image, to me has a story within it, but I plan to make the portrait a little more obvious with clues as to the cultural importance Lat Dior has to Senegal.

January 27, 2008

Natalie Olbrantz- Post #1

For my historical figure I will be drawing Lucy Terry. She was best known as the author of the first poem composted by an African American woman. Although this is very interesting, what drew me to her was that she was stolen from Africa as an infant, and brought to Massachusetts to become a slave. In my drawing, I would like to portray her as a slave in the United States. There will be a West African theme throughout the background of the drawing representing freedom and her culture, and will contrast with her portrait trapped in a country where she has become a slave. The sketch that I have posted is extremely rough, but I was just playing around with what features I want to use in her face. I have now decided that she will be wearing different clothing, you will see more of her body, etc. I still have a lot of research and decisions to make and I'm currently working on more sketches!

meher-sketchbook post #1

for my historical figure i decided to go with the woman who inspired my name. she's now known as nur jahan, an empress during the mughal era in india. but ORIGINALLY, her name was mehr-un-nisa (get it? mehr=meher??). as it turns out, she was more influential than her husband, the emperor, because he was too busy getting drunk and doing opium to figure things out for himself. it's nice to know the other meh(e)r was such an influential and intelligent person.

i'm rather excited about the black and white, and i decided to work with some layering, which i don't have a lot of experience with. hopefully it turns out well!

Matt Wenger - Post#1

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I just finished reading this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in good narratives and great drawings. The book is edited by Chris Ware, who is a great comics creator himself, who you will probably be hearing about later on this semester. I wasn't all that into comics until reading this book, but now I've discovered some awesome artists from the book. So if you're looking for some fun reading to do, definitely check this out!

Charles' Sketchbook Post #1

Túpac Amaru II was the leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Amaru became a figure in the Peruvian struggle for independence and indigenous rights movement and an inspiration to a myriad of causes in Peru.

Ellie Drotning- Post #1

My historical person is Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was Queen of both France and England, ruler of her homeland, The Grand Duchy of Aquitaine, was the mother of Richard the Lionheart, and led a band of 300 women in the Crusades. So she was pretty hardcore. Here's some of my preliminary sketches, including a possible rendering of her face, period clothing, and symbols associated with her.

Micki- Sketchbook Post #1

My artist is Michel Nostradamus and he was a physician and astrologist. I wanted to incorporate not only what he was known for, which was predicting the future, but also his other profession. These are just a couple photos of some tools that I thought were great resources for me to have.

January 25, 2008

Some Narrative Portraits

1."T.B. Harlem" Alice Neel, 1940
2. "Nicolaas Heinsius", Eugene de Loose, 1825
3. Wenceslaus Hollar, 1607
4. "Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear", Vincent Can Gogh, 1889
5. "Death of Marat" Jacques-Louis David, 1793
6. "Broken Column", Frida Kahlo, 1944
7. "Serenade" Romare Bearden, 1969
8. Avicenna (980-1037 CE), Anonymous Artist
9. "Mimi 1955", unknown artist
10. Karl Friedrich Abel Thomas Gainsborough, 1777

January 24, 2008

Uploading Video and Link, plus cool Animation

To upload a video to our blog:
You need to get the video from a streaming video database like or mediamill ( we'll talk about mediamill later). In youtube find the code to the right of the video that is under the heading "Embed". Copy this code in its entirety and paste it in your blog post, and viola! Your video will appear on our blog!

Here is the link for the animation:

Here is the code for creating a link:
< a href="" target="_blank">< /a>
(there is no space between "<" and "a" or "<" and "/a")

January 22, 2008

Project #1: Portrait Illustration

Here is the assignment sheet for Project #1:
Download file

Blog Post Guidelines

I will be checking your sketchbook posts weekly, every Monday morning so that you have until Sunday night to post them. The post could be anything from a sketch, to a thought, to a photo, to something you saw or read that was inspiring, to something you are contemplating in your work (these should be related to the class and should be accompanied with a short explanation so that we understand the relevance). The point is for me to see that you are investigating and contemplating things as they pertain to your work. It is also a way for you to bounce your ideas off others as well as a way to see what your peers are doing/thinking. Feel free to post comments on others' fact, you are asked to do so as part of your grade. These comments are to be constructive comments that will help your peers improve their work. So if you think something is great, "this is great!" will not suffice, but perhaps elaborate on why you think it is great or why you think something is not working as well as it could.

Make sure your image scans/photos are cleaned up before you post them. You are graphic designers after all, and the visuals are VERY important. Furthermore, when you upload the file, you have the option of posting it as a thumbnail that then links to your larger, original image. Please do this so we don't have giant images cluttering the blog. This means save your image at a size that is large enough to see the details on your work, but post it as a thumbnail that is a maximum of 300 pixels wide (this will link to your original image that is at the size you want it to appear when people click on the smaller version).

Make sure you label your post with "your name-post#" and place it under the proper category.
These posts make up 10% of your grade.

Guidelines for Lecture/Event Write-Ups

Attend the ENTIRETY of the event.
Write a ONE PAGE summary of the event (take notes while you are there, reflect on the lecture, exhibit, etc.) Look up some background information on the artist/s.

Some questions to consider:

What is the event about?
What are some main points that struck you?
How is this event or lecturer relevant to what your interests are (how does it influence your own work)?
What are some things you liked/didn't like about the lecture/event?
Other comments/opinions?

Make sure to write thoughtfully and carefully. I do expect you to actually spend time on this in order for me to understand that you have reflected upon the event.

Post the write-up as an uploaded .PDF on the blog under "Lecture/Event Write-Ups".

Artist Presentations

Presentation Guidelines:

Find a relevant artist/illustrator that you would like to share with the class. Prepare a ten minute presentation giving us some background information on the artist, some examples of the artist's work, and why you like/chose this artist (not just that you like their work...tell us why). I will always have my computer and a projector, so just bring a flash drive if you want to use them. Lastly, you will post a brief description of your artist with links to websites/images on our blog under the "Artist from Presentations" category.

Here is the Presentation Schedule:

Feb. 5: Molly, Laura
Feb. 14: Natalie, Nikki
Feb 19: Whitney
Feb 21: Meher
Feb 26: Matt, Charles
March 6: Kaitlin, Emily
March 11: Clarissa
March 13: Eduardo
March 25: Paul, Nicole
April 22: Ellie, Magnus
April 24: Allison, Micki
April 29: David
May 1: Chelsea

Spring Syllabus

Here is the syllabus....

Download file