December 3rd Thursday: Ask us Anything!


  • administrators

    So this month we wanted to wrap up the year by addressing any questions you may have. We are going to add some info to some of the various topics we have covered over the year. Feel free to ask new questions too! Agents, how to do art school, social media, portfolio, Style, drawing painting questions, etc are all fair game.

    Ask here to get it started. We will try to get to as many as we can!



  • @lee-white I was just thinking of a couple of things today.

    1. How do you get your art print-ready (especially for those who self-publish ) so that the printing place can work with it. Example: PDF, RGB or CMYK, size of pages, etc.

    2. I'd like to know more about how to format an e-book.



  • just so happens third Thursday is the official beginning of winter!



  • Thank you for this and hope you don't mind an SVS newbie asking q's! Have not seen many videos yet, so apologies if these have already been answered:

    1. Would an agency be worth it if you are being contacted by a steady stream of art directors already?
    2. Does having an agent sometimes unintentionally feel like having a "boss," or feeling like your assignment has to impress both the art director and the agent no matter what?
    3. Are website "splash" pages (those pages that say "enter here" before showing any site content) a deterrent for art directors, or would be okay to use/set you apart from other portfolios?
    4. Would lightbox-style viewers or horizontal scrolling on portfolio websites also be a deterrent?
    5. Do you have any tips for if your artwork just isn't turning out how you'd like it, despite numerous attempts?
    6. What are your favorite tools or set ups that help with your everyday drawing?
    7. With the new tax climate approaching, would it be worth it to become an LLC or more?

  • administrators

    @gdbee if you haven't seen the 3rd thursday video about agents, check it out.

    I've noted your questions and we will see which ones we can work in there...



  • Oooh hadn't noticed this video, thank you so much!



  • @lee-white I've been incredibly busy with contract work these past months, which has put a real crunch on time for anything outside of that work — A nice problem to have, I know! but it does drive a question that I'm thinking about a lot more now:

    We are scheduled for delivery of our son at the first of the year (our first child - it's been such a long, hard road to get here that we thought this may not happen, so we are incredibly excited for his soon arrival).

    I am curious as to how you all manage/balance time with your children (especially young children) with work (particularly during heavy work times) and personal growth (artistic, educational, spiritual, etc.)

    I'm also interested in how you approach sharing your creative talents with your children (from creating work for them & with them, to teaching them art skills, etc.). To be clear, I am completely fine with my son being interested in areas other than creative ones, so I am not attempting to force him to be an aritst; however, I would also like to share what I've learned over the years as I think it would be of benefit to him, regardless of where his interests lay.

    Also, if you have any art-related resources you would suggest for parents (or teachers of children) or books/videos, tools, classes, things to do or places to go, etc. that you would suggest for children, that would be great! (While it will be awhile for me to need these with a newborn, I'm sure others here could benefit)

    BTW, I remember @Jake-Parker doing drawing times with his kids and I even think a story about a parent/grandparent paying him as a kid to create work (if I'm not mixing up with another person)



  • I am not sure I can formulate a proper question, but I would be interested in career-shaping strategies. Namely,

    • how does it look like at the beginning vs the path ahead,
    • how do you decide which project to get involved into and which ones to say no to - especially when you get a lot of requests for pro bono/low paying/badly art directed jobs
    • Patience vs self-deception - what is a normal waiting time for „the big break“
    • Does something like „the big break“ even exist or it’s just a slow path ahead, one step after the other
    • What are absolute career no-gos....the things/projects you should never do if you hope to work for a specific market (namely children illustration for the trade market)
    • how big is the impact of self-initiated projects
    • what is an appropriate investment if time and money in self-marketing and networking at the beginning of your career.

  • administrators

    all good questions everyone! Keep em coming!



  • I tend to fall into the trap of seeing some work I really like and them heading off in that direction thinking “That’s awesome! I want to do work like that.” My first question is…

    1. How do you stay true to your artistic self? Is it a case of knowing what you’re good at and what you like doing?

    Following on from that I know my strengths lie in drawing creatures, monsters and characters. I think they’d appeal to boys. My second question is…

    1. How do you find you place in the market? Do you try to find where you fit and create work to appeal to that client base or is it better to create your own projects and go after that audience directly?


  • Practical question about colour and characters for whole books. When I am working on a book I use clear colour character designs (as in character A has certain colours...character B has certain colours...) which is great if the whole story is in the same lighting, say normal daylight. But if I put the same characters into a different lighting they will change. Moonlight is easy as it’s blues and greys...but what about other effective light conditions. I get confused as to what my choice of colour will look like under that new light condition. Do you have any tips for working out what the new colour should look like without losing too much of the original colour design?



  • I like the above question about what’s the best format for a portfolio site...especially as blog posting is also very important for platform building. And on the blog, what to talk about on a portfolio site because artists might really love hearing about your technique, but what is it clients want to know about...and how might that work with website optimisation?

    (Just to note, this isn’t the question ‘what pictures should I put on my portfolio site which is covered elsewhere I’m svs videos!)



  • @quietyell Congrats on the new addition! We are due with our second in January, looks like next year is gonna start out crazy for the both of us! I love your questions about sharing your art with your children. I will say that my 18 month old LOVES scribbling and flipping through picture books, and I can't really take credit for that aside from making the things available to her... kids come out with their own curiosity and personality. It just takes a year or so for them to be awake enough of the day and have the moving/communication skills to show you that ;-)

    I have a few questions floating around in my mind...

    What if you've hit on a style that you're good at, you like, and have had positive feedback on, but aren't sure how marketable it is? (I.e. isn't "on trend")

    How do you know the difference between delaying working on your career (sending postcards/querying agents/whatever) because you are legit busy and have stuff going on/coming up (asks the 8 months pregnant lady) versus you're scared of taking the next step and putting yourself out there and getting (gasp) rejected? I know thats an internal one, but thoughts are appreciated :-)



  • @sarah-luann Thank you so much!!! And much congratulations to you too! You're right, we will both have quite a 2018 and beyond! (BTW, we found out yesterday/Tuesday that we will have to up the date of induced delivery due to concerns, so we are looking at Dec. 28th)

    That's cute & fun to hear about your 18mo old. I like hearing about how you made things available and appreciate you sharing that. I look forward to having an array of writing/painting things, play-doh/sculpting things, blocks/Legos/construction things, etc. I just have to remember not to hog it all for myself!



  • I’ve asked this before and I think Lee White answered on the forums, but I would love to hear from everyone.

    What was the first book you worked on, and what was that experience like? Is there anything you would go back and do differently now, and did you feel as though you were qualified to do it at the time?



  • I'd like to know: when you are doing personal projects and there's no art director and no client pushing you. How do you keep motivated and get to the finished product. I'm a fantastic starter...but finishing is so hard for me.



  • Hi instructors, thanks for doing this.

    A few questions:
    -Would there be an increase in the monthly subscription price in the future, due to growing (I assume growing) popularity of online schools and SVSLearn.com? I have seen other sites like SVS and they are more pricier. Would you pride yourselves at keeping prices lower than the competition or follow suit?

    -Also, What is the lure to SVSLearn, for newbies, (everyone has artist friends) and for them to not turn to YouTube tutorials?
    I see Will and Jake also on Youtube, would you eventually stop the youtube to gain more SVS subscribers?

    -What is new coming to SVS for 2018?

    Thanks guys!
    -Todd @fauxtoddgraphy



  • I'll throw this out because it's something I'm struggling with right now:

    • Ways of establishing your workflow. As illustrators with different styles and temperaments, how do you structure your days, hours, the types of projects you take on at one time? Was your approach different when you first started, and if so - what did you change as you became more established professionals?
    • Maybe also any other tips for someone moving from student or part-time (where you have other things like classes or a day job going on) to full-time art. How do you keep focused without burning out? How many hours a day are you actively drawing? How do you set a reasonable schedule for self-assigned projects until you are getting consistent paid work?
    • Any tips to deal with promoting yourself while you are still developing your skills in the early years of freelancing.

    ~ Pam

    (PS: @fauxtoddgraphy I can only speak for myself, but I have watched about all of Will Terry's YouTube videos and many of Jake Parker's - it was actually watching those that initially brought me to SVSlearn, and then I purchased a standalone small course, then I was hooked and have been subscribed ever since. I still love the casual conversational nature of the YouTube videos, especially Will Terry's, and watch them while I'm working :D).



  • When working digitally is it best to stay with one medium ie., oil, pastel, watercolor or can you mix the medias?



    • Do publishers pay extra for any illustrations you do for marketing purposes, or are you just expected to do however much you can on your own?

    • If the author of the book is offering to pay the illustrator for doing any extra illustrations for marketing efforts (ie. asking you do a few colouring pages based on your book's character/environment), is it okay morally to accept it? Or should the illustrator just put in the extra time to make these various marketing pieces? (I'm asking for a traditionally published book where the illustrator is getting paid from the publisher, nothing from the author). How would you recommend the author and illustrator go about collaborating on marketing efforts?


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