Mama's Sauce Workshop: Holiday Drawliday


My friend Val gave me the idea to put “Drawliday” in the name of the event. I don’t remember what I would have done without her input (actually I think I was going to do Say It Ain’t Snow), but I’m glad she stepped in.

Mama’s Sauce has a fantastic internship program and they take great pride in their end of the semester lecture / workshop series. It was an honor to follow in the footsteps of Dana Tanamachi and Will Bryant in teaching a workshop to this Winter Park, Florida crew. The purpose of my workshop was to spur a night of drawing and remind everybody that illustration is accessible to all. This year we had help from a cool folks to make it a really great event, including Adobe Creative CloudCreative Live, French Paper, and of course, Mama’s Sauce (and thank you for helping out, AIGA Orlando!).

Everybody is creative, and creativity is just connecting the dots. No dots to connect? Enter creative prompts.

I led attendees through a series of guided steps so they could illustrate their own posters out of just paper and Sharpies. The steps were as follows:

1. Pick a theme.

Wait for it…

No theme? Pick a number between 1-8.


Have your number?


Here’s a topic to riff of of for your theme: 1) food 2) imaginary creatures 3) nature 4) animals 5) region 6) person/people 7) holiday 8) something you don’t understand.

2. Next: see the image bank below…


Now fill this whole thing out—with words or pictures. You will end up with 25 prompts to illustrate for your poster. Don’t overthink it. The idea is to have imagery to use that isn’t as obvious as “Christmas tree” with a Christmas theme. If your theme is, “The Midwest,” you’ll have 5 ideas/pictures under “see” that you see when you think of the Midwest (farms, Grant Wood, etc.). Under “taste,” do the same. You might write, “snowflakes,” “sweet corn” or even “cow manure”. You get the idea.

3. Pick your five favorites.

4. Draw the centerpiece of your poster using one thing from your top five. The centerpiece is the hierarchy of the poster.

5. Choose another image from your favorites in the image bank. Draw it twice on the poster and make it symmetrical or asymmetrical. This will compliment your centerpiece.

6. Do this again with a new image from your image bank. Now you’ll have 2 sets of 2 images. That’s 4 images, plus your centerpiece. Way 2 go.

7. Create a pattern out of the design elements from row 2, column “hear.” The point of this is not only to employ the power of repetition, but it also serves as a reminder that we can find inspiration in ANYTHING. Whatever is in this box has pattern potential. Even if you wrote, “farts” or “tree.” You could take it literally and draw simple leaves, or you could draw little tear drop shapes, or use the lines from the branches. It’s whatever you make of it.

8. Create border inspired by imagery/texture from “touch” column.

9. Mentally divide poster in half…then choose your own adventure with how you finish. Do you want to leave it blank and employ the negative space? Or do you want to make a pattern out of box 1 under “taste”? OR how about you draw something from the smell column? The world poster is your oyster.

10. Color it in! Or color in what you want, where you want it. Remember, contrast is king.

BONUS STEP: download the Adobe Capture app, then go to the Shape tab and take a picture with your phone to vectorize the image so it’s all ready for print. How cool! One of the attendees from the workshop will win a free run of screen printed or letter pressed prints of their design. I’m so looking forward to seeing this finished, printed piece.

Thanks again for having me, Orlando! You made me feel so warm (very literally) welcome and I hope to be back sooner than later.

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