Summer Illustration Tour 2012

On the beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Now that summer is practically over I thought I’d do a little wrap-up of some of the things I’ve done and places I’ve gone.

It was a hectic start to the summer in May when Chantal and I went to New York for the National Stationery Show for our letterpress company, Papillon Press. It was 3.5 days of non-stop showtime, talking to buyers and other stationers, and waking up early. The show went great for us and our illustrated letterpress cards are now carried in many stores in New York and throughout the US and Canada.

Our booth at the National Stationery Show

We didn’t get much time off after putting letterpress orders together before we had to head down to Providence, Rhode Island for ICON 7. That was an amazing time. I finally met some of my friends from IlloConfidential, toured around Providence a bit, and saw some interesting presentations.

There was an incredible opening-night party and marching band, a great keynote presentation with Matt Groening (creator of the Simpsons) and some other great moments, but the best parts of the conference definitely came outside of the auditorium with illustrators and art directors.

With the gang at ICON 7 [Counterclockwise from top left: Thomas James, Kelsey Dake, Pete Ryan, Chris Gash, Michael Byers, Daniel Hertzberg, Daniel Fishel, Pete Morelewicz and Chantal Bennett]

Kyle Webster impressed us all with his card tricks.

The IlloConfidential crew [partially]

After ICON we had decided to head down to Newport to check out the National Museum of American Illustration and to take in some of the mansions. If you’re a fan of illustration and if you’re ever near Newport, I highly recommend this museum. It was fantastic. There were a lot of Rockwells, and the current show was of Maxfield Parrish’s work, which has to be seen in person. His work is insanely good. I was happy to see a couple of NC Wyeth paintings as well, and they even have a whole gallery of Norman Rockwell’s preliminary drawings which are very impressive charcoal drawings, drawn at the same size as his originals.

After only an afternoon in Newport, we headed to Cape Cod for a couple days to visit my brother. I wrapped up an assignment for Runner’s World there, and toured around a bit.

We left Cape Cod, stopped in to visit my grandma, and then continued on our illustration tour to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. We ate breakfast at what we hope was one of Rockwell’s usual stops, and spent quite a long time in the Rockwell Museum. There were a lot of paintings there I’d never seen before. He’s famous of course for his Saturday Evening Post covers, but so much of his other work for advertisements and calendars isn’t as well known.

The highlight of the museum was his studio. It was moved to the museum from his home in downtown Stockbridge. It’s a perfect space with huge windows, high ceilings and a lot of room. Whenever we build a studio, we hope to model it as closely as possible on Rockwell’s.

A tour of Norman Rockwell’s studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Me standing in front of one of Rockwell’s most famous paintings.

On our way back home we made a detour to Plattsburgh, NY to visit the free museum of Rockwell Kent’s work in the SUNY. That topped off our illustration tour and we headed back home inspired.

Main Street on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

We topped off our summer travels with a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan for Chantal’s birthday. We spent two days there and it felt like a week off, it was so relaxing. It’s a car-free island and we brought our bikes to tour around. Other than bikes the only traffic on the road are horse-drawn carriages. We spent the first day riding around scouting out places to sketch, and sat down for a couple drawings on our last day on the island.

The Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island

Fort Mackinac (the Girl Scout kept people from walking on the hill)

It’s been a really great summer! Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Summer Illustration Tour 2012”

  1. Lillian Valois

    What a wonderful essay . Reminds me of first days of school when students were asked to write about “what I did this summer” This story sure does top all those I have read and/or heard !!