Member of a Club, finally


Just heard back from the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles that I am now an official bonafide member. Feels good to be in a club, that does not meet in the clubhouse made of plywood scraps behind my house in the gully.  Well maybe not this month anyway, I'll have to add an addition to the clubhouse for that.

3 years

Three years ago I began my MFA in the Hartford Art School Limited Residency program. Three years ago a story came to me as I was driving. Three years ago began an adventure of which I had no idea how to undertake. Three years ago I was at a point in my career where I needed to decide what I wanted to do.  

Three years later... I have an MFA in illustration from said school, I finished said story idea as a children's book app and along the way I figured out how to do it. Many have been instrumental along the way, those who said go for it, and those who said it wouldn't happen. Today I am here to say, IT IS DONE!!

 Spot's Soup is now live and available in the iTunes app store for iPad consumption!!!

So to those of you eyeing that new fangled idea called an ebook/app, do it!  It's fairly painless, slightly consuming in time and funds, but worth it. Because along the way you learn and grow and become master of your domain, and at least up until this point, you are in control. No groveling at the feet of the publishers for a job or to pick up your book, you make the calls and the big decisions than you live with it. Once it's in the app store then you start groveling to all of your friends and acquaintances (buy Spot's Soup).

Thanks again to all who have helped me along the way, I'll spare you the name call out, you know who you are. This wouldn't have come about without you. Now go buy the app! You won't regret it and it's far cheaper than a scoop of Ben & Jerry's. 



Finishing Up

I've been working on this course for over a year now. No, it does not take this long, except when they change it 3 times, and you have 17 students to supervise and you have 50 courses to review, yada yada. I am just now getting a chance to finish it up in time for it's release to the BYU campus this fall. Hurray! This is the course cover, interior images to fall later. 


Spring has come and time for some new work

For the past few weeks I have been working with BYU Independent Study on their course catalog for 2013-14. It's a collaborative effort with photographer Alyssa Vincent and myself, the idea for the campaign is that we can all aspire to our dreams but having an education is part of that. Alyssa provided the students and I provided the dream, I like the idea of being an illustrator of dreams. The catalog is on it's way to press this week and is to be hot off the press and shipped to counselors and educators across the U.S. this summer.


Last November my graduate class (Hartford Art School Low Residency MFA Illustration) met in Pasadena, CA. We met some really great illustrators and some really great characters.

The assignment is to create an illustration based on your experiences/influences of the area. I used one of my friends and fellow graduate Paul to model for me, thanks Paul. One of the illustrators that visited with us commented that in Pasadena the higher the hedge surrounding a property, the more prestigious the occupants are. Looks like Paul needs to work on his prestige, the hedge isn't high enough.


Is it February all ready?

Yikes, time flies. I've been working hard the last few months on my MFA project and have finished the illustrations and am now working on the animations and soon the programming (yikes!). So excuse the lapse in blogging, but it was for a good cause.

Here's a sample of what I've been doing, but only a peek. Can't let the cat out of the bag yet.


© Suzy Gerhart 2012. All rights reserved.

Sam Weber Visit


Sam Weber made a visit to BYU this last week. Really a terrific illustrator and humble guy. If you lined up a room of illustrative work and then had the artists line up on the opposite side, I dare say most of us would never connect the work with the artist. Based on Sam's work, I was expecting a tattoo, cropped hair, goatee sporting chap. Well you can see the picture of Sam, far from it.


Sam began his stay with us by doing a demo of his process. Sam's work is 70% hand work (ie sketch, acrylic, watercolor) and 30% digital (photoshop). He starts with a tightly rendered sketch, full values, to determine the value patterns. Sam lightly transfers some of the information to his paper. Then using friskit paper that's overlayed onto his Fabriano heavy watercolor paper (didn't catch the weight but probably a 300 lbs cold press) he carefully cuts out of the friskit the general shape of the image. Sam likes to keep clean edges and this is how he does it. Once he has prepared his paper, he mixes the liquid acrylic to get a neutral grey green paint. At this stage Sam said he's simply looking for texture and likes to use natural sponges and really anything available to get that underlying texture.

Once he has some nice textures then he starts to build up his dark values. He dries the acrylic layer and mixes watercolors that are similar in neutral tones. Sam uses the watercolors to build up his values and dry brushes in any details.

Once he feels that he has lifted out and pushed the paint as far as he can then Sam heads to the scanner and at 750 dpi scans his image in. Using Adobe Photoshop, Sam continues to adjust his layers using the multiply layer mode at various opacities and the dodge and burn tools to strengthen the values. Sam did take the time to show the digital process to those remaining to see it, but alas I had to head back to work and was unable to catch that. But below is a slightly skewed view of the painting, pre-digitization.

I love Sam's soft washes and the textures he manages to work in. Really lovely work despite the sometimes macabre subjects, but he enjoys the work and has plenty of it coming in. It was terrific to see Sam and his process, all in all an inspiring few hours.

To view more of Sam's work, here's the link to his site

Speaking of beginnings

I was up to my eyeballs in research for my MFA project and looking for some inspiration. I reached back into the recesses of my memory, about 40 years worth, and recalled what inspired me visually as a child. Easy answer, Golden Books. For those my age or older you'll remember them, the thin books about 8" x 10" with a gold foil spine. These were my early readers as well as my visual inspiration. Why? Because they were beautifully illustrated books, for cheap. You could get them at the grocery store, a trip to the bookstore was not required for these beauties. But the artwork was not cut rate, it was beautifully done by illustrators such as Gustaf Tenggren, Leonard Weisgard, Richard Scarry, J.P. Miller and more.

I came across two great resources for those interested in revisiting these classics. One is a blog by Freckled Derelict and another is a link to a traveling show that the NCCIL (National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature) has put together. I'm hoping that maybe the show can make it's way to Utah in the near future, cross your fingers.

Take a minute and check out these sites, and enjoy a trip down memory lane and some really terrific children's illustration from the 40's, 50's and 60's.

Begin at the beginning

Well actually this isn't the beginning, but a fresh start let's just say.

I counsel my students to never start an artistic blog unless they plan on putting in the time. Who likes to go to a blog that has thick digital dust covering it from lack of good housekeeping, aka lazy bloggers. Which is why up until now I've refused to start one, I have enough housekeeping to do without adding to the load.

But times have changed and I need to start posting my renumerations, latest work, and any other tidbit I can throw to ya'll.

So we begin at the beginning.