Featured Student 2020 Review Edition

  • @xin-li This is lovely! I’ve never heard of picturehooks before, that looks like a great resource.

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    How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn:
    Thanks to SVS I've been putting more energy into questioning the concept and story of an illustration, in order to make sure it's solid. There has been a lot of joy in creating and solving the visual puzzles that are a part of making an illustration. Thinking more about concept and story has not only helped me in my own process but also when analyzing and studying the work of another illustrator.

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece:
    Through the Podcast and Crit Arenas, SVS has really enforced the importance of the "the viewer" and thinking about what they're seeing when they look at a piece. I was constantly asking myself that question with planning out this illustration. I wanted the viewer to have fun putting together what happened to Lisa's Robot in this garage and why she looks worried about these tire tracks.

  • How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?

    I think, i have learned the most this year from Lee White's class on Storytelling techniques. To understand that story is the driving mechanism of every part of the picture, helps me a lot with thumbnail, character and prop design and with color and light.

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this image?

    This picture was originally done for the Inktober challenge (prompt SLEEP). Even though done digitally, it was heavily influenced by some techniques in new SVSLearn classes for inking. They were a big push to do Inktober this year.


  • Aug 2020 DragonFly125.jpg

    I have been a member a year. I have learned lighting and process techniques from Will. I love his illustrations. I learned character and inking from Jake and I took a shading class from Lee and have learned from his more whimsical styling. I have also learned so much from the participants in the forum from their feedback and the artwork they have created. On a recent podcast they mentioned doing master copies. I have identified at least 12 pieces done for the 'Together' prompt by the forum participants I would like to do that with. I might use them to do 3x3 pieces to learn from their work.

    This piece has a story - the dragon fly is a superhero that is healing a city and bringing life back after the riots. The line work is varied and I desaturated the colors behind the dragon fly. I think the drawing is pretty good too. I think this was one of my best pieces. It wasn't chosen as a top 16 piece, so it wasn't good enough, but maybe one of these days I'll come up with a piece that will be chosen. Thank you everyone for all your good work and feedback!

  • @AustinShurtliff 923A857E-7537-4D16-AAD6-84B8A528003B.jpeg

    SVS has been an amazing addition to my skills and knowledge level! This is the first character that I felt “I finally got it!” Or at least a good start with conveying the action of my character.
    The lessons are amazing and allow you to go at the pace you feel you need. It’s a wealth of information at your fingertips!
    Watching the critiques of submissions has provided a path with direction to take my illustrations where I would like them to be. Thank you everyone!

  • @chrisaakins I love this piece and your responses to the questions for this post.

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    1. How has SVS helped me improve?

    Having access to SVSlearn has helped me improve by having a community to feel a part of and to bounce ideas back and forth with. On top of that there has been plenty of motivation by seeing some fellow artists who are really great and almost painting a picture of where I’d like to move towards with my craft.

    The Curriculum addition this past year has been great as well. It’s nice to get a clear cut direction and order of sequence as to where to develop your skills as recommended by three accomplished illustrators.

    1. How did SVS impact the creation of this piece?

    Well, first off, this was created for one of the SVS Critique Arena submissions so without SVS, I wouldn’t have even been prompted to make this cover mock up. Secondly, this piece was impacted by all of the techniques I’ve learned so far from the various courses through SVS as well as Jake, Lee and Terry and their individual YouTube videos. It was fun to play with some newly learned skills involving shadow and light, foreground and background and even hidden foreshadowing (the witch in the clouds).

    So far it’s been a blast picking up new skills and working to apply them in every new piece that I design. SVS has been for a while, and will continue to be a strong influence in the work I create for years to come. Thanks guys.


  • @marek-halko this is such a great piece! It really captured me as I was scrolling and I had to pull back for a second look. I love the colours and use of light and shadow. Fantastic work!

  • 1. How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?

    The main way I've made use of SVS this year has been submitting artwork to the monthly contests. Getting critiques from professionals during the monthly critique arenas has probably been the most valuable thing for me. It is also interesting to see how others approach the prompt and how the judges react to those entries too.

    2. How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?

    While I do know that things like composition and color choices were impacted by what I either picked up in SVS courses or in monthly contest critiques, the thing that stays with me the most is the idea that WHAT you draw is more important that HOW you draw it. I'm not exactly sure where I heard that – an SVS course, the podcast, or maybe during the critiques. In fact, the sentiment has probably come up in all three places. So when I'm brainstorming ideas for the monthly prompt I'm always trying to find a unique or interesting take on it. For me personally, the April 2020 prompt was a good example of this. I discarded a number of early ideas, but I eventually landed on this one that I was pretty happy with. (For reference, the April 2020 prompt was "Lisa's robot invention worked great, until it did this...")

    illustration_SVS April 2020_v1_SVS.jpg

  • TheChangelings-WMSmall.jpg
    How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn
    COVID has made this year difficult and discouraging. My first book project went out on submission at end end of 2019 and and by the time publishers started responding in 2020, COVID was already starting to have a negative impact on the book industry. Any interest that was shown seemed to fizzle out as meetings were being canceled and employees were being furloughed. This year, I had a hard time finding the motivation and focus to create. It felt like ... what's the point? But SVS was like the old friend I could count on to keep me grounded. When I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, SVS was there with a new class or a skill or a challenge for me to work on. When felt isolated I could turn on the 3 Point Perspective Podcast and my friends Will, Jake and Lee were there to cheer me up. If not for SVS, I would have made a lot less work this year and if you don't make work, you can't improve.

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece
    This is a piece I made for Folktale Week based on a story from John Bauer's Swedish Folktales book. The style I'm working in now is something I've been developing for a long time, but Will Terry is the first person who introduced me to the idea of mixing traditional and digital in his mixed media class. I still use the texture downloads he provided for the class in almost all of my work, including this one. I keep thinking I should make my own, but I worry I won't like them as much. Don't tell anyone. 🙂

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    How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?

    Thanks to SVSLearn I have been able to challenge myself in my illustrations. Taking these classes and courses has helped me learn to use the mind mapping method to help me come up with creative ideas. I have learned to take risks and make bold moves to help bring my characters to life, as well as being more mindful in my composition in using it to tell a story. When I look at my old drawings and compare them to my current drawings, I have seen great improvement in both my illustration and style.

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?

    In this piece, I was inspired by taking Lee White’s course “Visual Storytelling Techniques”. Taking his course helped me be bold in my composition as well as lighting. My focus in this illustration was to portray the characters in a sense of curiosity and mystery.

  • How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn:

    There are a lot of things that I didn't recognize before I join with this SVS class, no wonder I look at my drawing and realize there was something missing from it. I try to fix starting from the basic things and fundamentals such as the background story of each piece. After trying some sketches and artworks, I look at it again and was amazed that I actually enjoy it and sure that this was the career path that I want to take. My artwork becomes more lively, meaningful, and beautiful in terms of color and drawings.

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece:

    In this piece, the story was about a family capturing their togetherness in the times such as now during the pandemic which might be unfavorable. After deciding the story, I decide which might be my focal point, how my colors would enhance the focal point, and importantly how the audience looks at it. Thank you SVSLearn can't describe how much I'm thankful to find SVSLearn!

    Gardening Together.JPG

    Portfolio link (behance.net/juventia_)

    1. How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?
      I learned a lot about children's illustration through SVSLearn online course. I had felt so frustrated before because my style most are look like animation style. I know I am still have many things! to improved and I will keep learning through SVSLearn. Thank you SVSLearn!

    2. How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?
      This piece I recreated from one of my old works. I learn a lot about basic character's design that I never knew before through Anna Daviscourt's course about character's design. There are so much fun in learning with SVSLearn! Thank you!

    dream keeper remake color 2.jpg

  • How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn:
    I started with SVS learn at the end of last year and was amazed at all the resources offered. But as I was starting a new job and realised that I hardly had time to spend working on it beginning of February, I stopped my subscription. But one thing that stuck with me was making the characters pop. Before, they often did not stand out as much as they should have. I often did not have enough contrast. Now I joined again in November and took the class for character creation, and I love how much variety in characters I will be able to create for future projects. Additionally I learned a lot about tackling bigger projects. The importance about the planning phase and setting up deadlines

    How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece:
    On this one I really looked int having the characters pop and getting the contrasts right.


  • Pro SVS OG

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    I am submitting today because last night I saw an email from SVS that the deadline was the 7th, above it says the sixth, I hope to be included-thanks

    SVS has so helped me to improve this year, I have printed off a check list of Lee's and use it when I start an illustration, especially thumbnailing, it has propelled my work!. And I still use the idea of "puzzles for a dumb guy" from the ideation class.
    SVS was the reason for the creation of this piece. I submitted earlier to the monthly contest with Lee's prompt word "superstition." It is completely different now to what I submitted. I went back using @davidhohn perspective class to work on the clock. And re fleshing out the character was a combination of classes, Jake's character class, Will's lessons on color etc., And the birds were an inspiration from another artist, since Lee White said we can stand on the backs of giants. Cheers everyone!

  • man and grociery.jpg
    How Have you improved this year thanks to SVSlearn?
    I started with SVS only a month ago, but I really was amazed by all those courses and information, I was and still not satisfied with my style and feels that something is missing, so I found the course of Lee White how to find your style and yes it helped me a lot to figure out what I like my style to look like, and now I decided I will start all from the very beginning to improve my skills.
    How did SVSlearn impact the creation of this piece?
    This piece is the first one I did after Lee white`s course finding your style, and it is some how to close to the style I like.

    1. How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn?
      I’d really like to change careers and as someone who doesn’t even work in an artistic field, it’s hard to figure out where to start. I like that the curriculum gives me a (literal) road map, so I’m not confused about which classes and it’s affordable. This year I started with “How to Draw Everything” and I’ve worked my way up to the character design classes. I’m also watching the previous critiques, which is helping me spot the same mistakes in my work.

    2. How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?
      It’s a mixture of everything I’ve revisited & learned so far, from the mark making and color choices to the shading & perspective.


  • 1)How have you improved this year thanks to SVSLearn? - Between the classes and the critiques the biggest thing I have learned this year is viewing art through many lenses. Specifically being able to differentiate between composition, color, light, perspective, interest, etc. They are all ingredients of a picture but a better knowledge of what makes those individual ingredients work has really elevated my thought process.

    2)How did SVSLearn impact the creation of this piece?- I tried to focus on an interesting composition, using a triangle of interest. I also tried to maximize contrast. Lastly I tried to tell a whole story in a single picture while (hopefully) getting additional interest into "what happens next".