Last-minute underwater mural for a Brooklyn school and mural design for a team

NY Cares contacted me a couple of days ago, asking if I could quickly sketch a mural for a local school in Brooklyn. Because I live in Croton now, it would have been almost impossible for me to sketch an 18 foot mural on-site in the allotted time. So we agreed that I would design the mural, and leave it to someone else to project and sketch it out on the canvas. As always with NY Cares, a group of volunteers will paint the sketched mural.

Here are my sketches and final design (if I get any pictures, I will post the finished painted piece):

When I first started designing murals for NY Cares in 2004, I had no idea how to create something that could be painted successfully by a third party. My designs were too complicated, using complex shading or foreshortened images that weren't understandable to a group of volunteers. Or, my sketches were too vague and gestural, and the volunteers were unable to decipher my drawings well enough to paint them accurately.

As I have learned to keep my mural layouts simple and clear, I find that the experience for the volunteers is a heck of a lot less overwhelming, and they seem to walk away feeling excited and proud of the final work.

One of my more successful experiences was with a team of volunteers from Crossfit718. Because of the legibility of my drawing and the simplicity of the colors and shapes, these women were able to paint with enthusiasm. They got it. Their attitudes were positive, and they did an outstanding job.

Here are a couple of shots of that completed mural, and one of me adding some finishing touches.

Your questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for stopping by!