American artist Renée French draws endearing portraits of bizarre creatures that look like dark versions of fairytale characters. French considers herself a “graphite addict”, who keeps a child-like innocence about her works. Her fantastical imagery is in part inspired by Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch, especially the macabre and nightmarish depictions within his fanciful world. Drawn with a 0.3mm mechanical pencil, there is a lot packed into French’s two to three-inch sized pieces. Equally mysterious and disturbing as they are charming, French revels in the polarizing impact of her tiny renderings. Some of her fans find her images of bug-eyed puppies and baby dolphin embryos to be adorable, while leaving others horrified. These are more than just pictures of cute animals. Underneath their whimsical exterior, French is exploring her own fragility and emotions.


Graphite Gradient Example



Lesson Goal:
Design and create a full page illustration based on the class theme that includes the use of gradients, fading from darkest dark to lightest light and in reverse

Target 1:
create a sketch of your illustration
Target 2:
research and find reference images for the main elements of your illustration
Target 3:
draw out the shapes and lines of your illustration on final paper
Target 4:
Shade your final drawing to completion