MassArt Illustration

Working on Site at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

By Visiting Lecturer Katia Wish

Students in Sophomore Illustration class, taught by Katia Wish, recently visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History to do research for the assignment “Unusual Pets.”

The museum has an expansive collection of taxidermy animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and marine life from around the world. The students had a chance to study the forms of different animals and sketch from observation.While at the museum the students were encouraged to start exploring different directions for the assignment. The assignment “Unusual Pets” consisted of three narrative illustrations portraying an animal (one we usually don’t associate with being a pet) with a human. The students started by thinking of situations and behaviors involving regular pets and the relationships between a pet and a human. They sketched numerous scenarios involving unusual pets. The students chose a humorous, serious, thought-provoking or heart-warming approach for their assignment.

Even though most of the students had never previously worked with sequential illustrations, they responded to the challenge with enthusiasm and commitment.  They were ready to receive feedback, improve the concept, work and rework the thumbnails, try different options for value and color studies and experiment with the media.

The results were impressive narratives that delighted, surprised, and engaged the viewer.  

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