Absolutely beautiful, lovely pieces throughout, both digital and traditional! Cheering you on and welcome to the forum!
Posts made by smceccarelli
RE: Faerie Wings and Old Man's eyes - the last Wizard
Very very beautiful and suggestive, especially the low viewpoint. I agree that you do not need to be too literal - art is about imagination and connection, right? It can be a mask or melt into his own face and keep a suggestion of both. A long time ago I was trying to paint the child empress of „The never-ending story“ ( the book....never the film!) by making her look young and old and good and evil at the same time...I ended up painting faces into her hair - illustration makes thoughts visible.
I think the old eyes into the pretty womanly face are very suggestive. The crown looks good to me too. Two things that you may consider changing are the position of her shoulders (they look slightly too high, as if she was shrugging) and the wings. Without reading your description, I read them as a corridor of bark in which she is standing, not as butterfly wings - maybe it is the directionality of the markings. Since you normally do not color, maybe you want to have them look more clearly as wings. It may also be the position - it looks like they are attached to her neck.
RE: A question about working with art directors.
Hi @natiwata ! Welcome back and glad to hear that everything is fine!
I cannot say what is "typical" - I do not have enough experience. So far, I have worked as illustrator for educational books and there I have been given very tight briefings (in educational, apparently, that is very common), including outfits, expressions, etc...However, the AD let me completely free with regard to composition, layout and viewpoint and they only made very minor changes to the sketches (none to the finals).
The book I am working on now is for a company's marketing department, not for a publisher. They have given me an indicative brief but they are very open to suggestions and changes from my side and I feel quite free on the content and layout of the illustrations...but they split hairs when it comes to technology details (the book explains electronics to children).
When I work as art director myself it's only for editorial illustration. There, I normally give to the illustrator the editorial content (aka, the text of the article), a few keywords and the specs and let them free to interpret the topic whichever way they want (that's what they are paid for, right?).
RE: Some food for thought: Being a polymath artist
I have the feeling this has more to do with personal balance and satisfaction than with career choices. I was a research scientist for nearly 17 years before switching careers and getting deeply involved with art and design.
Does that make me approach art differently? Definitely! Would I recommend it as the ideal path to become an artist? Definitely not!
It was my path, and I loved every step of it and it makes me unique in some ways I like and in some ways I like less...but it's what I did and every time I took a decision, it was a conscious, deliberate decision. The only advice I can give to anyone is to do what you think and feel is right at every step of your life and to put your whole energy into it - to be, maybe, a "life-phase specialist" and a "whole-life generalist" ;-)
One of my favorite quotes is from "The Fast and the Furios": "Life is simple: you make choices and you don't look back".
Of course, people that do many different things and jobs in their life seem more interesting and more rounded...but does that make them more impactful on any given field? I don't think that's the rule.
The scientist that specializes his whole career on one protein is more likely to bring about a breakthrough than the one who does a little bit of everything. The Renaissance artists were often polymaths - but the Renaissance was a very different time and society, and people like Leonardo da Vinci are exceptions in all ages.
Maybe the major impact of having a wider set of experiences is that it makes you feel less anxious and more grounded, helps to set priorities and to feel in control - all states of mind that help being creative.
RE: Sketch Advice, please!
Hi, very fun idea!
I think you could decide on an emotional tone and convey it better in the poses and expression. Is the boy helping the dog to drink? Then he should look happy and look at the dog with a friendly expression. Is the dog taking advantage of him? Then he should look much more uncomfortable and annoyed. At the moment it’s a neutral setup, it could be either way. One of my teacher used to say that the moment you have two characters you have an emotional relationship to manage.
The poses feel a bit stiff and unnatural, especially the boy. To hold the weight of the dog he would probably stretch his arms, or put a knee on the pavement. The backside feel too stretched out. Try to avoid having both limbs (and dog legs on both sides) in exactly the same position and pose - it´sa sure recipe for a stiff pose
Maybe you could act it out with something of equal weight and take some pics as a reference ;-))
RE: Give it to me straight - do I need to get Photoshop
@andyg Have you ever tried Rebelle? It’s a very bleak piece of software but it’s the best watercolor simulator I have ever seen. I use it sometimes for backgrounds or special wash effects (never to paint from beginning to end, it’s very clunky). Maybe it would solve your search...
RE: Give it to me straight - do I need to get Photoshop
Nobody cares in the least what software you are using as long as you are providing files according to specs. The majority of specs will be standard file types (.jpg or .png), resolution and color mode (ProCreate cannot handle CYMK, but Corel can).
The rest is personal preference.
For myself, I ended up hating Corel - it crashed in my hands way too many times to be practical. I did not relish very much the „natural media“ feel either - I find Photoshop mixer brushes can do the same with much better control.
I am an Adobe person - I love being able to save my color palettes and textures to the Adobe Cloud and have them available in any software for any file.
I like to layout in InDesign and do flats and patterns in Illustrator. I love Adobe Bridge and I love being able to jump between software with so much ease. I am going to layout a book next week, and I have the native files in Photoshop - I do not even need to export .jpgs. I can link the photoshop files to the InDesign document and then go on and make all corrections and changes the client will want in Photoshop and the InDesign document is automatically updated. I can publish a flipbook to the cloud and share the link with the client.
For me, an integrated workflow is totally worth the cost - which you can book as business expense, by the way.
But, it is a very personal view - I realize it is not only a cost factor but also how much comfortable you are with graphical software in general.
One thing is for sure: if they like the art, nobody gives a damn how you did it (to quote one of my teachers!)
RE: Hey SVS, Very Important
@andyg I was very worried about „the race to the bottom“ when I started freelancing myself - I knew all too well that there are excellent artists in low-cost countries. After a few years striding the line (aka: working as art director by day and as artist by night) I am much less worried...
I think most solid clients (and publishers) are well aware that you mostly get what you pay for and budget accordingly. At the least, the problem you have with hiring a designer from a country where the cost of living is low is that his/her style may not be well suited to other cultural environments. Sometimes it´s difficult to transmit what you want and there are communication challenges. It’s not always the case - I have a long-standing working relationship with a production designer from Belgrade whom I very much like to work with.
The one thing I can say is: do not base your value on cost...ever. You can’t win that race if you live in Europe or the US. People should hire you because of your style, your vision, your creativity - never because you’re cheap(er).
You can build your business upon hiring other people to do the work: it´s called having an agency ;-) As long as it´s clear to everybody, it`s a perfectly legitimate business. Just know that you are acting as creative director or art director and not as artist - it’s a different job.
RE: Hey SVS, Very Important
I realized I am assuming people are familiar with Upwork because it is such a household name, but maybe not so known to Illustrators.
In 2014-2015, two of the biggest freelancer marketplaces, o-Desk and Elance, merged, creating Upwork and joining their roster. This new marketplace literally has millions of freelancers hireable with a very very simple process and standard contracts. I think it is more than 18 millions, from copywriting to design to web coding to app creation - whatever service you can imagine. Upwork retains a percentage of each transaction.
Anybody can register as a freelancer there - which means the quality of work offered and the pricing ranges through the whole spectrum. There are freelancers living in Calcutta who will charge as little as 2 USD/hour and established New York agencies offering work for 150 USD/hour or more.
Upwork is only one of many - each with a different philosophy. Fiverr, as mentioned, is the worst of all. Freelancer.com is very similar to Upwork, but smaller. WorkingNotWorking is trying to establish itself on the claim that it only allows top people to register...
I encourage you to visit these portals and have a look at illustrators portfolios - not to spot plagiarism but to get a sense of what the competition landscape is, especially from Asia, Africa and other low-cost countries. The world is very small today....
RE: Hey SVS, Very Important
Being in the design world since a while as art director, I can tell you that Fiverr has a terrible reputation and that no art director in his sane mind would go there to hire anybody. - it’s almost a running joke.
It is famigerate for „portfolio stealing“, delivering stock art and design and claiming it to be original work, and „designers“ plagiarizing other people`s work....as weil as, of course, for ridiculously inappropriate prices and practices.
The site survives because it appeals to a certain type of client you would not want to work with anyhow.
There are many sites with a similar setup, and literally millions of freelancers on them. The majority of portfolios on these sites are not google-searchable
(It´s just a setting you can choose when you register there as a freelancer), so there is no way to know how many are using other people’s art as a hook. I hire production designers and other type of low-creativity jobs on Upwork and I always run a check when I see an unusually good portfolio. Twice I found the person on Upwork was claiming somebody else`s portfolio as their own.
The bottom line, I guess, is that I would not worry too much. Of course it sucks, but this type of deception is factually not fully detectable, has very short legs and does not really damage your business - not more than what sites like Upwork as a whole do already since years.
It´s much more damaging not to put your work out there for people to see...
RE: Do I need to make a website?
Actually, I have been asking myself the same question, especially since re-activating my Behance account.
I am not sure what you mean with „a larger audience“, given that a website does not promote itself and google could not care less about it until it has gained a seizable traffic (my website was listed on the third page of google search at the beginning, even if I searched with my name).
You can start a website to host a blog and use your blog to promote the website - but keep in mind that blogging at any level that interests people is an enormous amount of work and for it to have any effect on traffic it needs to drive traffic by itself - that is interesting content, well written and on a relatively frequent basis (weekly or so). I blogged a bit at the beginning and then I stopped for three reasons: a) it was too much work; b) according to stats, only a handful of visitors came to the blog: the majority went to the homepage (which is linked from my profiles on all social media channels) — may well be my content was not attractive enough though...; c) I had to disable comments because I got fed up of moderating enormous amounts of spam comments every week. The worst was when somebody hacked the comment section of the blog so that when you tried to leave a comment you actually got redirected to an outside page. I ended up disabling comments entirely, which seemed to defy the purpose of a blog.
This is only anedoctical of course - but maybe it points out that hosting a website also means caring for the security of it.
Now, from the other side, a website is the symbol of a professional. When I am looking to hire an illustrator and find out that he/she does not have a website it gives a bad vibe for me as art director. I ask myself if I can trust this person, if he/she is a legit business and works as a professional. When I see somebody who just has a sponsored website , I wonder how come he does not have the business volume/seriousness/commitment to have his/her own website. BUT, more and more I come across artists whose work is great, who have many accolades etc... but only have a Behance account or a Dribble or a Blogger home page. So, maybe it is not that necessary if you have other credentials and the work is really good.
As for getting leads - who knows. My website currently has between 50-100 visitors per day. But people who contact me seem to come mostly via Behance or social media. Maybe they start there and then go to the website to take their decision to reach out, maybe they don’t...there is no way to know...
RE: December 3rd Thursday: Ask us Anything!
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.
RE: Sketchbook question
I never did - I used them on separate sheet of paper. Canson, medium gray paper, normally, sometimes pastel paper (feels like a short velvet surface). Then I put very thin white paper on top and stored them piled in a drawer.
You can use pastel pencils in sketchbooks - I use them still today. Those you can fix very well with a fixative spray, so they do not smear anymore. The most beautiful effect you get on mid-gray paper using red and white pastel pencils.
Check out Donato Giancola sketchbooks for a masterful example of this.
RE: Sketchbook question
@demotlj You could try pastels. It’s a wonderful medium in-between drawing and painting and the colors are the brightest you can ever get with traditional media. Good quality pastels (Sennelier are some of the best), have a lot of pigment and as little medium as necessary to hold together - it’s like painting with pure pigment.
On the downside, it’s a very delicate medium once the work is finished. You cannot really use fixative (it makes the air escape from in-between the pigment particles, which then collapse to a smaller size, making the paint look thin and unfinished) and the work is sensitive to touch (but has excellent light-permanence).
It used to be my medium of choice when I worked traditionally, together with oil. When I left my former career, my colleagues pooled money to buy me a whole box of Sennelier pastels as a farewell gift. Sadly, I was already switching to digital at that point, and the box is still untouched....
RE: Holiday promos
Thank you all!! @tombarrettillo @DanetteDraws @Sarah-LuAnn @Lawnz @aska @Lawnz @Renske-D So great suggestions - I am seeing all the issues you mention and clearly need to play around with the drawing and the poses a bit more before moving on.
Meanwhile sketching out more ideas - really rough thumbnails! The reference to Calvin and Hobbes has reminded me of all of Watterson's fabulous snowmen...
RE: HELP! I need to learn color management - looking for resources.
Here is a video that talks about it - it may be only for certain models of the Pixma. We have exactly the same printer this guy talks about at the agency and it prints very very close to what we see on screen. Unfortunately it’s too big and expensive for my private studio....some more time...