Greetings From Leicestershire! also requesting some general counsel!

  • Greetings from Leicestershire!

    I've just joined the community, and am looking very much forward to working on some of the courses that SVS has on offer. I've been listening to the podcast for months (starting from the first-ever episode, I happen to be half way through last year currently). I am a student at Loughborough University taking a degree in Graphic Design and illustration, and I hope to become an illustrator as my full-time profession, but I won't need to worry about this for a couple of years.

    My dad is a Graphic Designer and my mum happens to be a fine artist, so I happen to have been around art all my life more or less. I've done art all of my life but in particular, I had a couple of photorealistic drawings which were my calling card in most youth art competitions I entered. I have been lucky enough to win 2-3 times in the last 6 years but don't really enter them anymore for a multitude of reasons. My photorealistic drawings taught me the techniques I need in regards to penmanship, patience, etc but I'm trying to stray away from that kind of art and push more into digital work and more simplified work that requires more technical knowledge.

    I am confident in my ability and I know that if I can learn to apply myself instead of play video games all the time I could be quite successful in the world of art and illustration (or at least I like to think so). I already have a lot of art resources and books like Loomis, Gurney, Robertson, etc, but haven't studied one book in full yet.

    I'm making this rather drawn out post to ask any illustrators of experience what resources (books, courses on this website, youtubers..) I should be consuming and studying in my spare time in order to further my art and style digitally. I am in a position where I am struggling to transfer from traditional to digital as "style" is something I have always had an issue with (due to only pushing for realism) I hope one day to illustrate books, childrens or adults, and also create graphic novels, though, any job which can pay and additionally provide creative fulfilment would be a great start

    I'm afraid this is a very vague and open ended question, but I would love to start a conversation with a couple of illustrators on this site in regards to what direction I should take towards developing my work. I'm showing below my favourite realistic drawing I ever did, it happens to be my calling card in a way for my art instagram. the piece is called "Thinking With" and is a pencil drawing. It's a favourite of mine because although it's main goal was realism it's an interesting and original piece, unlike most of my realistic drawings. I worry that the scan has always looked quite gritty and I assure you that the drawing doesn't look like that in person! My art account can be found at @lukejustdraws but I treat it as a showcase page and as a result do not often post to it.

    Any suggestions in regards to how I should go about developing myself, or anything I should prepare myself for, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time, Luke.

    Thinking with scan .JPG

  • Also realised quite quickly that if I wanted any advice from anyone it would probably be a good idea to post some digital work that I have done.. you know.. the thing I actually want to work on. Oops πŸ˜•

    Below are some of the more recent pieces that I have done (art, but also some poster design for my coursework) . thanks in advance for any suggestions I get, Luke.

    Cyberpunk Biker.jpg


  • Pro

    @Luke-Sheppard Welcome Luke!

    You're obviously very skilled, but coming from realism I can understand why style is difficult. My advice is that style cannot come out of nowhere of "from within". I tried for years to make a style happen in isolation and it just felt like trying to squeeze water out of a dry sponge - just pointless and going nowhere.

    A style is basically a mix of all your influences and tastes, which you have interpreted and combined in your own unique way. But to "output" style you must first "input" information. Research the kind of art that you absolutely love, analyze what you love about it, try to copy the style and see if it feels right. While you cannot copy a style 1 to 1 (that would be just copying) you can mix. Say the way of drawing eyes from that artist, the linework of that other artist, the watercolor technique of that other artist, the texture work of that other artist, put it all together and you have a style πŸ™‚

  • @NessIllustration wouldn't it be lovely if style could just pop out of thin air!

    Thank you Ness, I appreciate your time giving me some advice. I think a good step forward may be some master copies to force myself out of trying to work out a problem by myself. Perhaps trying out an Ian Mcque drawing or a Lee K portrait. I'd love to learn something from either of them.

    I love your work, especially your work with colour. Is your work 100 percent digital? or does it begin somewhere traditional?

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Pro

    @Luke-Sheppard It's funny because both those examples (Ian Mcque and Lee K) both still look super realistic to me! The rendering is more stylized, but in terms of proportions it's still realistic. Are you looking to stylize only your rendering, or are you looking to play with funky proportions as well?

    Right now it's almost all digital (sometimes I overlay a watercolor texture but that's it). However my goal for 2021 is to go back to traditional media more and incorporate that in my style. In fact, I was hitting up the watercolors and pastels today for the first time in a long time!

  • @NessIllustration Well now that you word it like that I suppose it's stylized rendering that i'm looking for and not a full style itself. That's definitely not a conclusion that I would have come to by my lonesome... It may be a by-product of the work that I did in the past but when I think of the kind of artist I would want to be right now I imagine works like Leyendecker's, Shaun Tan, or drawers like Mcque, Karl Kopinksi or any of the other brilliant draftsmen that are out there. I think if I were to develop a style in regards to my proportions they wouldn't necessarily stray far from those that would be considered realistic.. and I think it's particularly because I'm interested in creating graphic novels or illustrated stories from writings on myths or legends.

    I think that a rendering that appears to have more realistic proportions would help support the idea that whatever I'm illustrating may actually exist in real life, such as a fairy, an elf, orc, or any other mythical creature that may come to mind!

    And I suppose, in regards to Lee K, it's not really his rendering that I look for, but more that I adore his control of 'chaos'. I like the idea of having work that looks just as chaotic but still creates a sound and concise overall final image. A lovely but not directly comparable example of that in regards to children's illustrating would of course be Winnie the witch :). I grew up on a Winnie the Witch book and I had the absolute joy of going back through my childhood kids' books recently.

    And I think I will always have traditional with me as I wouldn't want to lose it, I enjoy it too much. I adore the idea of watercolour and pen art and I really hope to learn the craft at some point myself! I can't say I've tried watercolour at any point in the last 5 years, or, generally speaking, at all. Seeing your brilliant use of colour I would love to see some watercolours being made! From what I see it seems it could be a good fit for you πŸ™‚

  • Pro

    @Luke-Sheppard You seem to have a real good idea of what you want to accomplish with your style, so you're already halfway there! What most people struggle with is liking everything and having trouble narrowing it down. This was my problem as well!

  • SVS OG

    @Luke-Sheppard hi, what market do you want to get into?

  • @NessIllustration I suppose I can be quite glad that I know what I want.. though of course it's likely my tastes may change in the future. I hope very much to have some good development in my quality of work next year! Thank you for your time! πŸ™‚

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Hi Nyrrl πŸ™‚ . I would be interested in doing more or less any form of design or illustration, as I've always thought as long as I would be creatively fulfilled and was also paid for my work then I would be enough. I also would get great satisfaction with having my artwork out in the world in any general form. I feel like if I were to have my art out in the world I would have changed the world, at least a little bit. And any change for the better is a good step forwards. ( just as an example of this belief of mine, I was actually an apprentice at a tattoo parlour for some time prior to my degree.. though it wasn't a good fit for me in the end)

    That being said, the concept of working on an action-like graphic novel or a noir comic, perhaps even on illustrated horror stories or the like would be something that interest me.

    This being said, I also like the idea of forming children's ideas and help to bring them up, and turn them into good people. I think that I would enjoy illustrating kid's books. There's a chance that I would become an art teacher of some form after my degree in fact.
    I'm aware that the two interests I have do not often mix, and it's likely in my best interest that one or the other are done under a different name in order to help separating the two, which I have already taken some steps towards.

    To sum up my answer to your question, I think as long as I was exercising my creativity a lot of markets would fulfill me to a great extent. While my degree is based a lot on graphic design, I am definite that I would at the very least end up doing illustration on the side. Exploring and illustrating more action-like stories with an adult or teen audience in mind is something that fascinates me

  • SVS OG

    @Luke-Sheppard I know you're still in school and you still have a couple of years before you graduate but it would be great if you start narrowing down your interests early on and start tailoring your work towards that field. An expert in one industry most of the time will trump a jack of all trades who dabbles in a number of other fields.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Yes, I think for sure you have got a point there. I think I'm slightly afraid of closing some doors but I think at the worst-case scenario I could just open them again if I change my mind in the future! for me, I would prefer/love to specialise in working on comics and graphic novels for teen/older audiences I think if I were to narrow down my choices. Focusing on one thing is good advice.

    I would have to say that I do think quite broadly with my art. Maybe I would see a lot of benefit from specialising. I'll try to make an effort on keeping that in mind! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Pro

    @Luke-Sheppard Agreed with @Nyrryl-Cadiz on that one. It's all well and good that any market would satisfy your creativity, but from a practical standpoint you have more chance of breaking into illustration if you narrow that down and become an expert in a specific market. Your market of choice will determine the kind of work you put in your portfolio for instance, as well as the type of client you reach out to for work.

    It's a bit like if you ask a med student "what kind of doctor do you want to become?" and they tell you "as long as I can heal people, I don't mind". That's cool in theory bro, but in practice you gotta pick so you can get your qualifications and all.

    I have not seen much realism work at all in children's books though, so the graphic novel path sounds like it would be a better fit. You could also be a good fit for concept art or portrait art as well as fine art.

  • SVS OG

    @Luke-Sheppard comics and graphic novels is a great choice. It’s fast growing, a lot of opportunities, and your current skills would fit perfectly.

  • @NessIllustration Thank you very much for your advice :). If that happens to be the case, I think you're absolutely right. Concept art did initially interest me and I think it still does, but i've heard from a lot of people that the humble concept artist is treated like crap a lot in the creative industry. That being said, it would definitely not be the worst job I've ever had and is still a possiblity of mine.

    Perhaps my work should be more exclusive to graphic novels and the like, it's the idea that excites me most after all.

    Thank you Ness, and Nyrryl if you happen to read this! I was looking for general counsel in regards to how I should go about improving my work and I think that's exactly what I've gotten. That being said, if either of you or anyone else for that matter has something to say I'll never say no to more valuable insight πŸ™‚
    Really appreciate the warm welcome, there are nnot so many places that put so much effort into a new account's first post. Hopefully, I will become a regular here.

    Seems to be that the SVSLearn Forums is a stirring pot of creativity, knowledge, and some hard-earned wisdom/hindsight. Seems crazy to turn so much information down so I reckon that I'll be posting and interacting with this site more often.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz Thank you so much for your kind words and also your time. The first post i've made and I've already had the benefit of coming to a realisation on where I should first take the brunt of my work! I wonder how long it would have taken me if I hadn't posted on this forum...

    It's strange, the TPP podcast just now came into a conversation too on how people need to specialise into a particular form of art for their portfolio instead of just art in general. Very odd timing!

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