Given the time constraints, the sketches needed to be very simple line drawings, forcing students to concentrate on composition only.
See the project parameters here:
Examples of thumbnail sketches:
After students completed the exercise, one of their sketches was selected
by a class consensus on the merit of it's composition...
Each student then was required to complete an illustration at a larger size (12"x8") using the same composition as the selected thumbnail sketch, but with the subject matter of their choosing. In this case, Rachel Laughman replaced the tea pot with a fire-breathing, two-headed dragon and the cup was replaced by an armored knight with a sword and shield. The horizon line, a table top or perhaps a placemat in her thumbnail sketch, has now become a rocky cliff.
Here is the selected thumbnail sketch of Alexandra Doms:
And her final illustration replicating the composition:
From this exercise, students learned that a strong composition is effective regardless of topic and that small, rough pencil studies help to resolve composition issues before committing to a final illustration.
The following images are examples of student work from all three sections.
Bob Hochgertel added an additional challenge for his students in that they were required to illustrate their greatest fear as well as following the other project specs. Students' names appear below their illustrations...
Thanks to my PCA&D colleague Charlie Beyl for planting the seed for this project several years ago when he was required to complete the "Teacup Exercise" as part of his studies in the Syracuse Masters program.