Step x Step: Flemingdon Park – Update March 11, 2013

Our first three Workshop Sessions for Step x Step: Intro to Mural Art have been a great success!

Workshop Session #1: Intro

We all introduced ourselves and Tara presented an intro to Mural Routes, types of murals, and an explanation of mural design and making mural maquettes. See Slide show here

Mural Design Maquette: a to-scale design that notes all aspects of a wall or mural surface, a mock-up of a mural often including colour and fine detail to show how the final product will most likely turn out

Design a Mural Maquette (to-scale drawing) Activity
Design a Mural Maquette (to-scale drawing) Activity

Groups were formed and each group was given a wall in the room to measure and take account of doors, knobs, outlets, etc. Groups had to design a mural for a proposed site (i.e. a park, or a TTC station), with 3 themes picked at random. This was a fun ice-breaker and an opportunity to get to know each other while imagining and learning about the difficulties of designing a for a mural.

Workshop Session #2: Mural Designing Techniques

Groups presented their Mural Design Maquettes and discussed imagined issues for each individual case. Challenges discussed included:

-scale (i.e. 1 ft = 1inch), miscalculations

-texture of the wall, colour of the wall & irregularities of the wall (i.e. curving, angles)

-obstacles (outlets, water hoses, windows & doors, trees, etc)

-location: who will be seeing the mural and what will their vantage point be? (how far or close-up will spectators get?)

– weather, time of year (for outdoor sites)

Many of these challenges can be met by using panels. Mural Routes cuts wood panels out and paints either indoors or outdoors. These panels are Medium-density plywood, primed thoroughly before painting and varnished afterwards in order to prepare them for any water damage – a mural’s biggest foe. Panels help deal with hard-to-reach mural sites, avoid dealing with difficult wall textures, any allow artists to work year-round and off-site in all weather.

Panels can painted indoors and help overcome some challenges mural artists face
Panels can painted indoors and help overcome some challenges mural artists face

Design: Creating depth: through SIZE, PLACEMENT, PERSPECTIVE, and OVERLAPPING

We practiced quick gesture drawing as an exercise for gestural and quick design-making, as many mural artists try various placement of the design until it feels most effective. This is a great tool for design. Remember – it’s okay to be quick and messy! Start with biggest shapes first, using your pencil or pen lightly and putting in darker strokes and details after.

Hosna's great gesture drawings as an example
Hosna’s great gesture drawings as an example

Workshop Session #3: Designing Stencils

Stencils, although popular among many street and graffiti artists, can be used with not just spray paint but also acrylic paint using sponges, brushes, rollers , etc! They can range from simple to elaborate and aid in a design with repetition (can be used to give a consistent image over and over), to create a signature or logo, and they save time & energy when painting on-site. They can allow for those with less artistic comfort to help a mural as they are easy to use and produce quick results.

Contour drawing exercise is a continuous line that creates an image. This was an important lesson for preparing our eyes to create stencils – with graphic, strategic and simplified lines.

You can design multiple stencils if you want an image to have different colours – just layer! This requires planning.

For cutting stencils, always cut away from your hand, use a board (cardboard will suffice) underneath, and you can fix mistakes carefully with tape! Push down at an angle with pressure, as if your exacto-knife is cutting a fruit or vegetable. You can pivot your board around while holding the blade in and swiveling the board in a circular motion.

When printing do not use excess ink. Push down and inwards when applying paint – don’t sweep the paint across or towards the stencil edges – this will create bleeding and you won’t have crisp lines!

Stencilling Example

Next week participants are asked to come with either a stencil design or a stencil cut out of the acetate (transparency paper) provided. Our theme is local flora and fauna so please try to stick within this theme and your stencil can be used on the Rainbow Tunnel inner mural! See you next Saturday!

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