In November 2021 a new illustration masterclass took place for the very first time at the Nordkolleg in Rendsburg. 12 participants from all over Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark travelled all the way to Rendsburg in order to draw funny characters and crowded scenes with the Swedish artist Mattias Adolfsson and me.
Due to Corona we had to postpone the course twice. And again it was a nail biter because the pandemic situation worsened quickly. But third time lucky. This time the virus couldn’t stop us! I was very excited to chair this new class because all of the participants were professional and experienced illustrators. I was happy to have Mattias as guest artist and workshop companion. He had been our guest artist at the August class in 2019, so he was familiar with the place and this kind of drawing camp.
Masterclass 2021: Drawn class portrait (everyone drawn by her or himself) and class photo
It is so exciting to meet the participants of a brand-new class! A bunch of people who just love to draw. We started on Sunday after dinner with a chatty evening, looking at each other’s sketchbooks, doing some quick doodles and drawing games. Mattias and I were quite surprised because these classmates were really crazy about drawing and they did all our little exercises at an unbelievable speed! For a moment I was worried if we were able to feed them with enough challenging exercises all the week.
Some quickly drawn collective doodles
On Monday we started the day by drawing some selfportraits very quickly with closed eyes. Furthermore, we introduced the class to the legendary portrait wall (everyone draws everyone) and, of course, »the animal of the day«. This day was filled with music. We drew musicians, duos, trios and whole orchestras.
After collecting many song titles which have to do with colour, we played the »Musical Mystery Tour« by illustrating scenes containing at least two song titles.
In the evening Mattias gave a suspenseful presentation of his work. It was amazing to see his enormous repertoir of crowded scenes, fantastic robots, technical instruments, vehicles, and architectural drawings filled with cars and creatures.
Downtown by Mattias Adolfsson
Tuesday morning we opened with the »idioms-and-phrases-game”. It’s about sketching very quick ideas in only two minutes for each new idiom. That is a wonderful assignment for association training and finding images quickly. The results are always really funny!
Mattias continued the programme with an exercise about drawing buildings in a row and filling them with lots of figures and little details. The first wonderful wimmelbilder emerged during the day. Here are some examples, starting with a drawing by Kirsten Ladiges:
It was my turn to entertain the audience with my talk about work and life as a freelance illustrator. I must admit that I was terribly excited! Thanks to this kind and patient audience it went very well.
Wednesday started with a funny little character assignment. I showed the class how to develop bean-shaped funny figures. Mattias took over and asked the class to draw some weird »usual suspects« which are strange people in a row.
Character studies by Ines Maria Eckermann
Lots of »usual suspects«: The row starts with characters by Maria Brockhoff.
In the afternoon the class let wonderful wimmel-trees grow, these were illustrated trees full of lovely creatures, life and colour.
The character design studies continued with a »two-in-one-challenge«, the students had to combine at least two animals to create a funny new species. Putting them in different positions showing activity was the next step. Wibke Brandes did lots and lots of lovely bean-shaped characters and just couldn’t stop doing it.
We did some amusing »drawing horses with both hands« warm ups on Thursday morning. A whole bunch of crazy ponies galloped on the participants’ sheets. We continued working on the wimmel-trees, and in the afternoon Mattias explained one of the most popular ways to commit a whole city to paper.
He showed how to construct the drawing by using the isometric perspective. It’s totally amazing and impressive when he draws a wimmelbild on the white board in just 15 minutes! The isometric assignment was very challenging and exhausting, so we continued working on the trees and isometric drawings on Friday.
Very cool! Mattias explains the isometric perspective.
Of course I shouldn’t forget to mention the other little teasers and tasks like the portrait wall and the daily animals. »the animal of the day« is purely a matter of duty. During the week we had lots of strange creatures, e.g. the feral canal shark (by Sandra Biskup), pogo penguin, viking wombat, heavy hummingbird and many more.
We also had very intense one-to-one talks with all participants. It was a good chance to talk about their personal careers and future projects, and answer their questions about personal style. It was amazing to realise how much creative power these people have! I’m happy to follow them on social media, to see more of their work and keep contact.
Friday night we were happy and tired because of this terrific week we had together. There were so many inspiring talks, lovely drawings, long walks at the Kiel-Canal and moments of fun and joy. This class was a bunch of wonderful people, birds of a feather. Mattias and I handed out the certificates and then we had a little party and exhibition of the results of the week. With united forces we finished the world’s biggest doodle on our teachers’ desk (1.00 x 4.00 metres) until late at night.
Celebrating the official part of the party: Every participant passed with flying colours!
This was a whole lot of fun! Filling the doodle desk with hundreds of funny characters.
The legendary portrait wall and a happy illustrator named Lotte.
This was a fantastic drawing adventure at the Nordkolleg in Rendsburg. We were taken care of very well, the friendly staff provided us with great food, nice and cosy rooms and the best technical support that was needed for our work. Thanks to Britta Lange and all the other »Nordkolleg*innen« for being such a lovely host. The Nordkolleg is one of the the most beautiful places for workshops like this! It was sad to say goodbye on Saturday morning. Luckily all of us got home without problems.
Good news is: We will be back in November 2022! David Melling, illustrator and author of kids books, from the UK will join us as our guest artist. I look forward to sharing the teachers’ desk and developing challenging assignments for the class in cooperation with David. We’ll take a closer look at cleverly worked out characters and the fascinating world of visual storytelling.
Can’t wait to get back to Rendsburg!
Please note: All images, photos and drawings in this article are protected by copyright.
Would you like to read more about drawing in Rendsburg? Here’s an article about the August class 2019.