Visiting artist shares newspaper illustrations with Westlake art class

Visiting artist Chris Morris on March 21 gave Westlake High art students a sneak peek at his illustrations for the following day's Plain Dealer issue.

Subject matter for Plain Dealer visual journalist Chris Morris covers celebrities such as Woody Allen and Elton John. It includes the complete cast from the daytime soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful." It covers 22 pages of the Plain Dealer’s Friday magazine with 542 inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It honors orators of great speeches and presidents who made history such as Abraham Lincoln. It illustrates not only the Cleveland Browns but the journalists who cover them and the fans who follow them. In April it will celebrate Superman’s 75th anniversary. And, much more.

Art students at Westlake High School were able to experience Morris’ art in a Visiting Artist presentation on March 21 facilitated by the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council. In addition to a PowerPoint with examples of his work, Morris showed early planning sketches in blue Prismacolor giving visual form to his ideas for Plain Dealer illustration assignments. He passed around finished illustrations, done on Bristol board in India ink. For illustrations done on the computer, Morris draws on a Mac with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop software.

“Chris Morris was an inspiration to students," said Westlake High art educator Will Wilson. "His real life experience and expertise provided valuable insights for students looking to pursue careers in art. He shared the ways he uses technology in combination with traditional materials in a practical and easy to understand manner that provided me with exciting ideas for future student projects.”

A little research shares that in 2011 Morris was awarded first place in Illustration and Full Page Layout from the Associated Press of Ohio. He has received five first place awards from The Nevada Press Club, and multiple awards from the Society of News Design, including ten from this past year’s contest.

Morris joined The Plain Dealer in 2011. He has freelanced for numerous national newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Boston Globe, Washington Post and the Las Vegas Sun. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Morris’ art can be seen on The Plain Dealer’s front page, its section covers, the Friday Magazine and throughout Cleveland’s daily paper in a variety of media and subjects. 

Marge Widmar

Westlake Resident; President, Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:43 AM, 04.02.2013