Updates: Art and Life Coaching…
Ive been a little absent from the art community online this last year. (Mainly because school has been so unpredictable for the kids.) But, I’m trying to come back out into the world again now. I have been working and watching classes on SVS. I have a really amazing mentor. And, in January, I took a leap and hired a life coach to help me sort though all my goals. I highly recommend this!! She has helped me with prioritizing projects and plans, and to make a practical game plan. I feel like I’m making actual progress instead of just flailing now. Currently, I’m working on 2 very big things.
The first is building a portfolio of finished illustrations. I want to learn how to do it well. (I think I’m a bit more of a writer than an artist.) But, I also haven’t really dialed in my illustration style, so I need to make things. I want to have a website up and running by July.
The other big thing is to finish writing my book. Not a picture book, but an illustrated middle grade/YA novel. I am about a third of the way through (30,000 ish words). I don’t know how long this will take. Its HUGE. I’m feeling good about it, though. I actually have momentum now!
Thought I’d post some finished portfolio pieces here. But, even though they’re “done,” I am looking for critiques, especially since I’m out of my wheel house and working digitally now. I’m posting on Instagram regularly too, but it is absolutely punishing me for taking a year off, so I don’t think much is being seen. Haha! Its a tricky beast, but I don’t want to waste time trying to satisfy the algorithm gods. To see the “very short stories” that go with these images, visit my Instagram @fraleycreates
von_Nimmermehr last edited by
I just took a look at your Instagram and man, your work is amazing! I love it!
I don't think it will be too hard for you to build an amazing portfolio only if you will be to hard on yourself!
i wish you good look with your with your goals and also your Novel!
@von_nimmermehr thank you so much! I’m hoping this will be my year to really dig in and start finishing things. ️
@pamela-fraley These are really stunning! But it isn't that clear from those what kind of work you're aiming to get with your portfolio. If so, you should be focusing on illustrations that show storytelling and show CHARACTERS!
I did the same mistakes in my first portfolio. I was very good at backgrounds, so I showed only that (to show my strengths, or so I thought!) I ended up getting 0 work contracts with that portfolio until I added characters in every piece.
Try to think of this from the perspective of your target audience, the kids, and pick themes and topics to draw that actually appeal to kids. I have a video on my YouTube channel that gives some more information about how to plan your portfolio content: https://youtu.be/jV_XefCHrqg
@nessillustration Thank you! I will watch that! I was actually just wondering if I could find a list of what to include in portfolio pieces. I think @Will-Terry has one somewhere. Its definitely a struggle for me. I can get a background going no problem. I could draw trees and rocks all day, but drawing the cat in the window and the dragon in the rocks for these, thats where I got hung up. I’m aiming at becoming more comfortable with characters. Most of the time I draw people I do slightly stylized pencil sketches that don’t match my illustration style at all. I’m trying to figure out if I should learn how to make characters more flat to match my backgrounds, or if I should move more realistic with the background to match characters. It’s very confusing. Haha. My next assignment for myself is a character in a indoor setting. We’ll see how that goes! I’ll definitely post it when I’m done!
von_Nimmermehr last edited by
also he said, you don't need to have every single thing/word as a single illustration, it's easy to combine things on the List and fill up your portfolio with nice illustrations, where you show a lot of variation in poses, time of the day, vehicles and so on.
I know there is also an posdcast episode where he is talking about it or maybe one of his youtube videos? I mix it up a lot, listening to them over and over again
@von_nimmermehr that’s exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!
Melissa_Bailey last edited by Melissa_Bailey
@pamela-fraley beautiful, beautiful work! Love your rendering, your color palette, and your illustration style.
What is the story these illustrations are telling? Are you aiming for an adult, teen, or children's audience?
The composition and rendering of both these pieces are top notch. My recommendation would be to look for ways to strengthen the visual storytelling.
For the first piece (nice ambiance!): why is the cat in the window? Are those books in the window or boxes? If they're boxes, then why is the cat left behind in an empty bookshop? If they're books, could the owner be shown locking up and the cat is alone in a closed store? Is the cat watching people pass on the sidewalk? Or is there a mouse right outside the window and the cat wants OUT? Without visual clues as to what's happening in the story, it's more difficult to read as an illustration.
For the second piece (SO gorgeous!): to be honest, I couldn't tell that the dragon was a dragon without you saying what it was and looking very close. Perhaps some shadows and definition would help it read more clearly? In terms of storytelling: why is the dragon there? What's going on in the scene? There is so much empty space on the left where not much is going on -- could you sneak in a creature or person? Are they sneaking up on the dragon? Did they come upon the dragon as they're walking in the woods? Is the dragon a friend and they're coming to visit and will wake them up? Because we don't have visual context, we don't really know what's happening in the story just by viewing the illustration.
So after saying that, I've now gone to your instagram for some story background -- yeah, you can see that I didn't immediately understand that Errol is the bookstore guard cat! Perhaps a "guard cat on duty" sign or showing something going on inside or just outside the bookshop will strengthen the visual storytelling in this piece. And just by looking at the second illustration, I didn't get that this was a Moon Dragon. Could you add some moonlight or rays from the moon? What if someone is invading their solitary space? How would they react?
My opinion (and everyone has different opinions): these are beautiful pieces and I personally would like to see more storytelling. For me, having a clear story would make these even more special.
Thank you for sharing! Can't wait to see more of your work!
@melissa_bailey Thank you for spending so much time with these! I definitely feel like I’m more of a storyteller with my writing than with my art. Its hard for me to get past wanting to just make a really pretty picture. I’m in that spot probably somewhere between gallery art and illustration. I am definitely going to try and grow in that area, though. It helps to know what sorts of questions people are asking when they look at the images. Did poor Errol get left behind? I was not at all going for that. Haha! I like the idea of putting a “beware of cat” sign in the window. It, at least, would make it clear that he’s supposed to be there. I might go back and add that actually. I was thinking about doing another storefront down the street with another animal. Kind of like the Secret Life of Pets, but more the Secret Night life of Shop Pets. I live in a super small town and its a thing here. Lots of people live above or next to their business and the dog or cat or bird is just with their people all day and had free rein of the shop.
Maybe I need to ask myself why I’m making the images I’m making and what am I trying to accomplish… other than just giving people a minute to stop and experience something pretty. I’m really going to try and push that in my next piece.
Angela Sagues last edited by
Thank you for sharing your beautiful work! A question - how did you find your life coach? I love the idea of hiring a life or career coach but am not sure where to start.
@angela-sagues I honestly don’t know how I would have gone about it on my own. But, I have a friend who just got certified a couple years ago. Honestly she’s always been one of those people - when you hang out with her you feel like you walk away with your head on straight. Haha. I think maybe just asking around or doing a google search. You probably have some people in your area, or at least accessible over zoom.
Angela Sagues last edited by
@pamela-fraley Cool, thank you!
@nessillustration I finally got a chance to go over to YouTube and watch your video! Makes a lot of sense. I feel like I need to sit down and make a plan on the things I need to include in my portfolio and design pieces specifically fit that now. I subscribed to your channel too. Nice to put a face with the artwork.️
@pamela-fraley I'm glad you enjoyed it hun!