Hi-Fi Academy visits WI Schools & Museums

Kristy and I started Hi-Fi Academy to establish an art-education resource for comic book creators. Recently Kristy and I were invited by legendary iPad artist, Susan Murtaugh, to visit Wisconsin for a week and share our knowledge for creating comic books with the iPad to students and aspiring artists. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from our visit to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Center Stage

The first event was held in a large school auditorium where students from several Manitowoc area high schools and colleges arrived, some even being bussed in from further away. The energy was high as so many young people arrived to fill the available seats. We were introduced by Barb Bundy-Jost, then I started off demonstrating Autodesk SketchBook’s pencil and guides features. I used these tools to create a rough sketch of C3P0 which drew applause from the audience (whew, drawing live is always nerve wracking). Kristy and I spent the next 90 minutes demonstrating pencilling, inking, and coloring comic book artwork with the iPad. The students had great questions and the room was buzzing with creative energy as we spoke about how they could get hands on and start creating their own comic artwork.

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Local Newspaper and Television coverage ensured all events were well supported and attended

Gallery Gala

The second event took place the following day at the Rahr-West Art Museum, which is located within a beautiful old mansion. Before presenting Kristy and I received a private behind the scenes tour from Kathy Halla, being equally amazed at the mansion, the stunning collection of original artwork, and the display on Sputnik (a piece of the Russian satellite fell to Earth just outside the museum decades ago).

When it was time for the presentation Kristy and I were thrilled to see every seat filled and the museum staff busily bringing in more chairs to accommodate people. There were children, teens, and many adults in attendance. We were introduced by museum director Greg Vadney, then Kristy and I shared a few stories from a life working in comics. As I drew a rough sketch of Boba Fett with Autodesk SketchBook on the iPad the image was projected onto the large screen for all to see. We also spent some time showing attendees how to ink and color comics with the iPad and even had time to demonstrate some eye catching special effects. It was all over too quickly and the museum staff whisked Kristy and I down a back staircase to a special room that had been set-up for a meet-and-greet with fans.

The museum staff and volunteers did an amazing job with the food and decorations for the meet-and-greet. Kristy and I chatted with fans, signed comics, and reviewed portfolios until well past closing time. Every person we spoke with was friendly and enthusiastic about comic books and the arts in general. Plus, I met some talented artists and had a chance to see their work and talk with them about their future goals.

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Images courtesy Herald Times Reporter

One-On-One

The third event was a chance for Kristy and I to work one-on-one with 15 students who were hand picked by their art instructors to attend. Each student was wearing a t-shirt featuring comic book or pop culture characters. Great to see so many Doctor Who and comic book fans! It’s been a while since I’ve been in a high school and after sitting through the announcements, including the day’s lunch menu, and standing for the Pledge of Allegiance (I still remember all the words), we got busy. The first project was for students to create a color scheme for a superhero. We spoke about color theory including primary colors, secondary colors, and more. Then we used a color wheel to see how complimentary colors, triad colors, and other color schemes might work. After each student designed their color scheme we worked on rendering the hero’s face in color and learning how to add highlights and shadows to the major facial features.

The second project was creating an animation style color look for cartoon artwork. Using the iPad I demonstrated the texture brushes in Autodesk SketchBook while the students followed along. We created a snowy daytime scene with painted clouds in the sky and then spoke about other ways we could approach the art so each student could make it their own. As the students worked on their versions of the scene Kristy and I were able to spend several minutes with each student answering questions and helping them along. I also had the opportunity to review the portfolios and sketchbooks of several students and I think we will be seeing some incredible talent coming out of Wisconsin in the years to come. Thanks to art instructors Barb Bundy-Jost & Vicky Molitor for inviting us into the classroom.

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We visited several art museums including Rahr-West Art Museums as well as the Flying Pig Art Gallery

Playing Tourist

Thanks to our hosts Phil, Susan, and Alex Murtaugh Kristy and I had the opportunity to visit several other museums and galleries between events. The Murtaugh’s took the time to ensure we enjoyed the flavors of Wisconsin and were able to meet with local artists and craftspeople. Our visit would not have been possible without their hard work and generosity. It was an amazing experience I will never forget and I’m already making plans for our next trip to visit schools and museums in other states. Maybe we’ll come to your town next!

Read the Herald Times Reporter story on Hi-Fi Academy’s trip to Wisconsin here:
http://www.htrnews.com/story/news/education/2015/03/22/comic-book-colorist-unlocks-art-students-superpowers/25199043/

If you want Kristy and I to come to where you live and help support education and the arts email us at info@hifidesign.com for more info.