Using SVS instead of Art School



  • Hi all, I joined SVS a few months back and was thrilled to find this amazing resource. I have been working on starting a new career path over the last year or so towards being able to create art for children's book illustration. With no official art background, and not at a point in my life where I will be able to head off to art school, I am hoping to get what I need from SVS and other random resources.

    Was hoping to get some advice on setting up a 'curriculum' schedule with the classes here and any other recommended resources? Finding it hard to do this on my own and I am all over the place popping in to whatever class I think looks interesting;) I also am trying to figure out how to give myself homework, measure my progress and move forward in this independent study? Are there other newbies out here? I am blown away by the amazing talent and experience I see on this site so I am not posting anything that I work on.

    A note to @Lee-White ...are you still considering doing another watercolor class? I felt like I saw something about that somewhere. Sorry if it is already mentioned, but I am new to the idea of forums and trying to find my way about.

    Thanks all for your suggestions and input!


  • administrators

    Hi Pam,

    We are getting ready for a big change at svs and it may fit right into what you are looking for. We are going to start offering 10 week courses that are interactive (which means you get feedback). We will be on a quarterly system. They will be just like traditional art classes except you can study where ever you happen to live. And they will be much cheaper than traditional college classes (ours are typically around $450-$500).

    We are starting a new run of classes in January. They are:

    Illustration 1: Turbocharging your Creativity, Taught by Lee White and David Hohn
    Creating Great Book Covers, Taught by Lee White and Jaime Zollars
    Ideation Lab, taught by Sterling Hundley
    Rendering textures in Photoshop, taught by Will Terry

    We are building more classes as we go and the watercolor series will be one of them. I'm hoping to FINALLY get that one out there in the spring or summer terms. We will be doing the formal launch of these classes next week! : )



  • I am also not a professional artist and faced the same problem when I joined SVS six months ago - I was watching everything and finding it hard to focus. I finally decided to “build my own curriculum” and I chose three subject areas for the fall rotating them on a three day schedule. Monday’s and Thursday’s I did Color and Light, Tuesday’s and Friday’s Perspective, and Wednesday’s and Saturday’s Anatomy. I worked through videos just in those areas and tried to also do sketches in those areas on those days. It was really helpful and I have definitely improved more quickly than I would have otherwise and am now deciding on my winter “semester” of courses.



  • @lee-white Thanks for the information. I'll be watching for the new classes!



  • @demotlj Thanks for your response! I have been trying to do that...but just in my head. Great idea to formalize a curriculum and assign days! Are you posting/sharing work in the forum for feedback?



  • @pamm I just put up a painting today in the forum (in the Art Work category) that I did working on color and light. I'm trying to be braver about sharing what I'm doing but as an amateur I feel definitely out of my league :)



  • @demotlj I saw your piece and I am impressed! Great job being brave and putting your work out there. I'm going to try and do the same when I have something to share. Seems like it can only help me get better;)



  • @pamm Thanks. I'll look forward to seeing yours!



  • @demotlj Good for you to be brave! I still feel like my art is less than a lot of the work I see on here but my first ones were more embarrassing :-) Sometimes it can be hard to be critiqued, but, you start to get a better idea of where you need work and how to improve. I went to an Illustrators Day a couple of years ago and brought a portfolio. I thought it looked pretty good but when I saw how great th eothers were, and so professional, I just wanted to grab it and hide it in my backpack. But, I didn't. I also turned in illustrations for a prompt that were critiqued on a big screen in front of evreryone (no names used). That was scarey too! But I did learn from it and this year I felt much better prepared !



  • I'm pretty new here at SVS, too. I wasn't sure where to start either. Here's a list that was posted in the forums that might be helpful for you:

    The person who shared it said, "Here is the course order recommended by Jake Parker when this question has come up in the past."

    I don't know how old this list is, so I'm sure there are more classes available that aren't on the list--most notably, the live classes Lee mentioned--but hopefully, it will help you figure out your plan.

    PHASE 1: Fundamentals
    HOW TO DRAW EVERYTHING
    DRAWING FUNDAMENTALS
    VISUALIZING DRAWING IN PERSPECTIVE
    LIGHT AND SHADOW
    MASTERING PERSPECTIVE
    CREATIVE COMPOSITION

    PHASE 2: Learning Digital
    BEGINNING PHOTOSHOP
    10 STEP DIGITAL PAINTING

    PHASE 3: Color
    WORKING WITH COLOR
    PAINTING COLOR AND LIGHT
    PAINTING IN PHOTOSHOP

    PHASE 4: Characters
    DRAWING HEROES AND SIDEKICKS
    DRAWING ANIMALS
    DRAWING VILLAINS AND MONSTERS
    POSING CHARACTERS - CHILDREN'S BOOK EDITION
    STYLIZING HUMAN CHARACTERS
    BREATHING LIFE INTO YOUR CHARACTER DESIGNS

    PHASE 5: Illustration
    CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT DESIGN
    VISUAL STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES
    MIXED MEDIA-WATERCOLOR AND DIGITAL
    LUMINOUS LIGHTING IN MIXED MEDIA
    ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN'S BOOKS PART1

    And here's something Lee shared on a forum post recently:
    "To get the most out of these videos, I suggest watching only 2 or 3 and the doing a ton of work in that area. You could spend 6 months just doing the environments, then another 6 months making a picture book dummy based on will and jake's class. In other words, watching videos is not the same thing as learning from the videos. If you guys really use the videos correctly, it could take a few years to get through them all."



  • @miriam said in Using SVS instead of Art School:

    And here's something Lee shared on a forum post recently:
    "To get the most out of these videos, I suggest watching only 2 or 3 and the doing a ton of work in that area. You could spend 6 months just doing the environments, then another 6 months making a picture book dummy based on will and jake's class. In other words, watching videos is not the same thing as learning from the videos. If you guys really use the videos correctly, it could take a few years to get through them all."

    Just want to say that this statement really struck a chord with me, so I've started over with some of the basics with the goal of getting much more solid. It's frustrating and at times a little dull, but I really want to improve those basic skills so I can eventually make images I'm happy with.



  • @kat
    I was starting to realize I was doing this & needed to focus on the basics before watching more classes, when I saw the comment from Lee. So it was good to know I was turning toward the right path. Now I just have to make myself do it!



  • @miriam Thanks for sharing this. I had seen it somewhere but lost it again:)



  • @miriam said in Using SVS instead of Art School:

    @kat
    Now I just have to make myself do it!

    Me too! I was watching a basic drawing video, and stopped until I practiced the one specific thing being taught 50 times. It took me all week, literally, but I did it. Feeling like it’s something I actually learned now, instead of just something I saw. Patience....harder than drawing!


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