Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TLC Workshop with Todd Lockwood

Last weekend I drove from Portland to Seattle to study from the fantasy art master Todd Lockwood, of Magic the Gathering and Drizzt fame, among many other things. (He's the one in the middle looking lordly; I'm in the plaid shirt.) The theme of Todd's TLC Workshop was "Punching Your Viewers in the Eye," meaning how to draw dynamic compositions. That's an area where I really want to improve.

The workshop took place at this funny little shopping center called the "County Village."

There were chickens running around this place.

Nine other illustrators and I spent three days with Todd. He gave some short lectures but mostly he worked with us one-on-one and did some paintovers on our pieces.

He set up a teeter-totter to teach us about balance in compositions.

He also helped us take photo references for our illustrations. I was glad to hear that Todd's photo reference philosophy is not too different from my own - some basic costume elements, some basic lighting, but nothing too elaborate. "I don't want to be married to my reference," he said.

This is the photo reference for my illustration, which I will post (hopefully) later this week. Thanks to Charles for playing along. In order to get the right angle, Todd took this photo from the top of a playground structure thing, with little kids running around him. 

One of the best parts was going out to dinner with Todd, hearing him talk about his experiences, and asking questions. He was very friendly and easy-going, freely sharing his wisdom. And he has amazing hair.

The other best part was getting to spend time with other talented illustrators. We all had different backgrounds, but everyone was passionate about illustration - and that's what I've missed most since leaving art school.

If you've never heard of TLC Workshops, they're run by Tara Larsen Chang. A few times a year she invites big-name illustrators, such as Dan Dos Santos and Donato Giancola, to hold small, personal workshops outside of Seattle. Every teacher is different, but my experience this particular workshop was very positive and I feel like I learned some good stuff.

Put on your safety goggles, blog readers: I fully plan to start punching you in the eye.


  1. Great write-up Kelley! Thanks. :-)

  2. I'm envious!! I've attended a panel on narrative illustration with Lockwood, but would love to be a part of a class like this one.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful time! I love the "Village Bean"!!!


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