Sunday, June 29, 2014

Oakland Drink and Draw

I'm still recovering from some end-of-the-semester burnout and blues, but I do have some good news to share. City College of San Francisco has reinstated its summer classes and will remain open as it works to resolve its accreditation issues. For me, this has meant teaching a section of beginning Illustrator this summer and the opportunity to develop the school's FIRST visual development for animation course to be offered in the fall.

A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to the Oakland Drink and Draw (ODD) group, founded by Megan Lynn Kott and Justin Lawrence DeVine. It's great to have another low-key and welcoming group of artists so close to home. The group meets Wednesday nights from 8pm-11pm at The New Parkway theater on 24th @Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. This month, they are hosting a 30-day drawing challenge on their Facebook page and the work has been fun, quirky and inspiring.

ODD also periodically holds themed sketch challenges. This month's challenge was from the Miyazaki film "Princess Mononoke". My submission actually won and was lovingly framed and hung in the upstairs café area of the New Parkway.

It's also really nice that the group doesn't meet in a bar. Sure, there are plenty of adult beverages available, but there's no pressure to drink. Plus, the food is good. I've had their veggie burger a couple of times and once treated myself to a slice of cake.

I don't think I've ever felt this motivated to draw and paint such a variety of subjects and share them with such a solid group of artists. They're doing smart and creative things with text, image, humor and symbolism using a variety of mediums. These few weeks of involvement with the group has reintroduced me to what I guess is an "ideas first" approach to illustration that I still gravitate to, in spite of my focus on concept art. (Wait, do I even have a focus anymore?)

So, I am still learning, and some of my teachers are 10+ years younger. And, I'm spending time in Oakland at night again and enjoying it.

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