Dalvero Academy workshop 1

Several days ago I returned from Orlando Florida at a 10 day reportage illustration workshop offered by Veronica Lawlor and Margaret Hurst of Davero Academy. Aptly named "drawing bootcamp", we would spend eight to ten hours a day drawing on site at the Disney parks. The weather was hot and humid with everything from drizzle to torrential downpours, but none of that stopped us from drawing...not even the dark of night. Reportage illustration allows you to experience, engage and record the moment through your drawing. The ten days with these amazing teachers and talented students touched and tested me physically, intellectually and emotionally. Wow, what an experience!

Drawing the African performers at Animal Kingdom as they drummed and danced.

Ronnie encouraged me to add more marks to my drawings and used Picasso and Van Gogh as examples to study. I began to see the value of lines and texture and began to add more to my drawings. Above you can see my thumbnail to the left before I proceeded with my drawings of moving dancers, fast drumming hands and my interpretation of family and the tree of life.

We would be required to draw at least one or two parades a day depending on the park. You have about 10 minutes to capture the essence of what is going by very quickly with little room between spectators. Above is just one of many parades I drew over the course of ten days. This one was at Animal Kingdom where just before it started the skies opened up. I managed to get out of the rain, found and shared a table with a woman who was sound asleep using her handbag as a pillow. She became part of my drawing along with all the animal floats that came by.

After drawing the "celebrate the dream" parade at Magic Kingdom the rain chased us under cover. I was on Liberty street at the Magic Kingdom so I slipped into the Hall of Presidents to wait out the rain. I quickly and quietly sketched the presidents while I dried off a bit. Still raining, I had to get to the evening critique. We would be at the park until after another parade and the fireworks and it was going to be a long night. With the rain still coming down I succumbed to buying a Mary Poppins umbrella complete with a ruffled edge and the possibility that I could fly?

In the evenings back at the hotel, I would try to read before falling asleep, but with my mind spinning from the day's events, I found it impossible to focus on the words on the page. So I gave up reading along with my usual early morning exercise. Life was just different and was going to be for these 10 days. I started the above drawing of the Tree of Life and it became very relaxing and soothing to just draw lines from my imagination while catching up on what was going on in the real world by watching CNN and of course the real news on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.