Art History and Cartoons
I am a profound admirer of the subject of art history. I love exploring art history spanning from antiquity through the Middle Ages to Contemporary Art. I teach my students about Classical and Hellenistic Greek architecture, Byzantine icons, Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Gothic cathedrals, Neolithic monuments, Post-Impressionist landscapes – to name a few subjects.
To study art history is to study the beliefs, civilizations, and cultures of those who came before. I love tracing the history, exploring aesthetic philosophy and hallmarks of design and style distinct to each era. It is fascinating to study the emergence of different art movements and their far-reaching influence beyond the geographical regions of where they began.
I must, however, also mention that I am a great admirer of the artistic quality of cartoons, which are abstract and exaggerated forms of art.
Cartoons are often the first forms of art that children enjoy coloring and seeing in children’s books. Cartoons are artful, imaginative, and especially fun and humorous. They have the ability to mimic life and teach important lessons through story telling.
For several years I have been writing a story and illustrating many whimsical and colorful scenes for that story, a few of which I have included in this article. The end product is a children’s book: Arthur The Artist . . . This is the tale of the journey of a wee mouse, brave and furry.
To share with you more about the story, Arthur is a little mouse with a big dream to become an artist and is determined to see his dream come true. With his emerald green paintbrush, Arthur paints throughout the seasons and meets many friends along the way during his painting adventure.
The book contains over sixty hand-drawn, painted illustrations and 48 pages of poems. I must mention that there are actually hundreds of drawings not included in the book that were the preparatory work for the final illustrations. The details of the story have also evolved much over the years, although the enduring message of the book has stayed the same – perseverance and, also, friendship.
Perseverance is a lesson that Arthur, the main character, learns during his delightful journey, and it’s something I learned myself too. For my book, I acquired a Library of Congress Control Number, an ISBN, and U.S. copyright for the text and illustrations.
In the classroom, I highlight the importance of art history to my students and I often include masterwork studies as part of the curriculum. The students have created wonderful studies of Byzantine icons and Post-Impressionist landscapes this year. I make sure the students learn proper drawing techniques such as gesture and shading to capture a subject realistically, but to also use their imaginations to exaggerate a subject. I also emphasize the importance of perseverance when creating artwork in the classroom, from beginning with a creative idea, acquiring skills through practice and repetition, and then bringing that idea to completion of the finished artwork.
I am so proud of all my art students and of their artistic skills, imaginations, and perseverance with their artwork. You are all such talented artists! I am also thankful for all my colleagues. I am grateful to teach alongside you at The Saint Constantine School and to count you all as friends. I am truly thankful to each of you for your kind support of me as a faculty member and also for my book.
Front Cover of Arthur The Artist . . . This is the tale of the journey of a wee mouse, brave and furry, by Missy Klotz, author and illustrator.
Featured Art: Illustrations Arthur Meets the Geese in the Forest (left) and Mouseville (right) from children’s book Arthur The Artist . . . This is the tale of the journey of a wee mouse, brave and furry, by Missy Klotz, author and illustrator.