Something Craig Frazier taught me.

Craig Frazier has a great illustration studio website.

art © C. Frazier from

Beyond that, he also has a wonderful blog about children’s picture books called 36 pages. I heard him speak at an illustration conference in Philadelphia, PA, around 2003. He is an interesting artist. The art shown at right, lifted from his blog, demonstrates that he is at the designerly end of the illustration spectrum. You probably have used one of the postage stamps he’s illustrated. I do admire how Frazier manages to convey complex concepts with deceptively simple figures and sparse landscapes.

I often use one of the exercises he shared in Philadelphia in my Visual Thinking class. He is the guy who came up with the idea of taking four inches of black drafting tape and cutting it up and placing it down on a white rectangle to make graphic representations. The paper should be roughly twice the size of the tape’s total area. Use all the tape!

I find 3 X 5″ index cards work well for a surface. This is a nifty exercise in composition and balancing black and white.

I’ve done three examples below. Actually, I did six this morning; these are the best of the lot. Craig Frazier gives much better examples in his book, The Illustrated Voice. It is worth looking for.

Black Tape Exercise #1, K. McCloskey 2011
Black Tape Exercise #2, K. McCloskey 2011
Black Tape Exercise #3, K. McCloskey, 2011

Thanks to Craig Frazier for letting me share this exercise!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: