December 3rd Thursday: Ask us Anything!

  • Practical question about colour and characters for whole books. When I am working on a book I use clear colour character designs (as in character A has certain colours...character B has certain colours...) which is great if the whole story is in the same lighting, say normal daylight. But if I put the same characters into a different lighting they will change. Moonlight is easy as it’s blues and greys...but what about other effective light conditions. I get confused as to what my choice of colour will look like under that new light condition. Do you have any tips for working out what the new colour should look like without losing too much of the original colour design?

  • I like the above question about what’s the best format for a portfolio site...especially as blog posting is also very important for platform building. And on the blog, what to talk about on a portfolio site because artists might really love hearing about your technique, but what is it clients want to know about...and how might that work with website optimisation?

    (Just to note, this isn’t the question ‘what pictures should I put on my portfolio site which is covered elsewhere I’m svs videos!)

  • SVS OG

    @quietyell Congrats on the new addition! We are due with our second in January, looks like next year is gonna start out crazy for the both of us! I love your questions about sharing your art with your children. I will say that my 18 month old LOVES scribbling and flipping through picture books, and I can't really take credit for that aside from making the things available to her... kids come out with their own curiosity and personality. It just takes a year or so for them to be awake enough of the day and have the moving/communication skills to show you that 😉

    I have a few questions floating around in my mind...

    What if you've hit on a style that you're good at, you like, and have had positive feedback on, but aren't sure how marketable it is? (I.e. isn't "on trend")

    How do you know the difference between delaying working on your career (sending postcards/querying agents/whatever) because you are legit busy and have stuff going on/coming up (asks the 8 months pregnant lady) versus you're scared of taking the next step and putting yourself out there and getting (gasp) rejected? I know thats an internal one, but thoughts are appreciated 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @sarah-luann Thank you so much!!! And much congratulations to you too! You're right, we will both have quite a 2018 and beyond! (BTW, we found out yesterday/Tuesday that we will have to up the date of induced delivery due to concerns, so we are looking at Dec. 28th)

    That's cute & fun to hear about your 18mo old. I like hearing about how you made things available and appreciate you sharing that. I look forward to having an array of writing/painting things, play-doh/sculpting things, blocks/Legos/construction things, etc. I just have to remember not to hog it all for myself!

  • I’ve asked this before and I think Lee White answered on the forums, but I would love to hear from everyone.

    What was the first book you worked on, and what was that experience like? Is there anything you would go back and do differently now, and did you feel as though you were qualified to do it at the time?

  • SVS OG

    I'd like to know: when you are doing personal projects and there's no art director and no client pushing you. How do you keep motivated and get to the finished product. I'm a fantastic starter...but finishing is so hard for me.

  • Hi instructors, thanks for doing this.

    A few questions:
    -Would there be an increase in the monthly subscription price in the future, due to growing (I assume growing) popularity of online schools and I have seen other sites like SVS and they are more pricier. Would you pride yourselves at keeping prices lower than the competition or follow suit?

    -Also, What is the lure to SVSLearn, for newbies, (everyone has artist friends) and for them to not turn to YouTube tutorials?
    I see Will and Jake also on Youtube, would you eventually stop the youtube to gain more SVS subscribers?

    -What is new coming to SVS for 2018?

    Thanks guys!
    -Todd @fauxtoddgraphy

  • I'll throw this out because it's something I'm struggling with right now:

    • Ways of establishing your workflow. As illustrators with different styles and temperaments, how do you structure your days, hours, the types of projects you take on at one time? Was your approach different when you first started, and if so - what did you change as you became more established professionals?
    • Maybe also any other tips for someone moving from student or part-time (where you have other things like classes or a day job going on) to full-time art. How do you keep focused without burning out? How many hours a day are you actively drawing? How do you set a reasonable schedule for self-assigned projects until you are getting consistent paid work?
    • Any tips to deal with promoting yourself while you are still developing your skills in the early years of freelancing.

    ~ Pam

    (PS: @fauxtoddgraphy I can only speak for myself, but I have watched about all of Will Terry's YouTube videos and many of Jake Parker's - it was actually watching those that initially brought me to SVSlearn, and then I purchased a standalone small course, then I was hooked and have been subscribed ever since. I still love the casual conversational nature of the YouTube videos, especially Will Terry's, and watch them while I'm working :D).

  • Pro SVS OG

    When working digitally is it best to stay with one medium ie., oil, pastel, watercolor or can you mix the medias?

    • Do publishers pay extra for any illustrations you do for marketing purposes, or are you just expected to do however much you can on your own?

    • If the author of the book is offering to pay the illustrator for doing any extra illustrations for marketing efforts (ie. asking you do a few colouring pages based on your book's character/environment), is it okay morally to accept it? Or should the illustrator just put in the extra time to make these various marketing pieces? (I'm asking for a traditionally published book where the illustrator is getting paid from the publisher, nothing from the author). How would you recommend the author and illustrator go about collaborating on marketing efforts?

  • SVS OG

    What books or similar resources would you most recommend for understanding the business end of illustration, or business in general (aside from the pricing and ethical guidelines handbook and your own videos/courses)?

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    All great questions. I'm writing them all down to present to jake and will. Keep em coming! : )

  • Brace yourself, I've got a lot of long questions!

    • What do you recommend students do to prepare for graduation/post-graduation (aside from the obvious of building a strong portfolio)? When I graduate, I blessedly won’t have any debt, but I also won’t have any means/large savings. I want to freelance, so theoretically, I could work anywhere. I’ll probably have to move back home right after, and get a non-art job to make some concrete ‘starting out’ savings. Let’s pretend we’re playing a game of Sims: If you could ‘set up’ a recent grad looking to work on novels and children’s trade books, how would you do it?

    • What should students looking to go into the publishing industry research/do to prepare during breaks (Internships, etc.)? Many of our counterparts go to internships in animation/toy/greeting card studios, but most illustrators who work for publishers are freelance. I want to get that ‘real-world’ experience, but I’m at a loss.

    • How does one actually find freelance jobs? I’m a student and I’ll be out of school in about year and a half, and I want to start looking for work now, starting with small local jobs. Even if I get rejected, I can at least familiarize myself with the process/industry and see if my work is up to par. I’ve scoured the internet and can’t find anything. I have no idea who to call or email or where I should go? I don’t want to graduate and have no idea or experience as to what to do. I know I should be networking, but when I’m at school, I’m busy studying, and when I’m at home during breaks, I don’t know what to do. I suppose that I network with my peers at school, but most if not all of them aren’t in the field yet. My hometown doesn’t seem to have a large illustration/art community that I can find. What should I be doing online as well?

    • What are some things you wish you could do differently in your career/art life? Everything helps form us into who we are, but I’m sure there are certain foibles you look back on with 20/20 vision and would change.

    • How to balance personal projects in art school with intensive school work? I have the maximum amount classes that require more homework hours than there seems to be enough time in the week to accomplish. I would have to sacrifice the quality of my assignments to do additional work, which I am not willing to do. I feel like I’m constantly doing assigned coursework; I can't even find the time to 'goof off' in my sketchbook. Am I just too slow? I have 2.5 years to hack this and still haven't figured it out. Even when I’m hanging out with my friends we are 9/10 times also working. I did ask for this when I applied to the school, but being able to do my own ideas on my own time would be nice. Is this a problem that won’t be solved until I either get faster or graduate?


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @teju-abiola what school are you going to? Are they addressing these questions at all?

  • @lee-white I attend Ringling. I guess the answer to your question would be yes and no.

    This semester, juniors had to attend Professionalism lectures about copyright, portfolio, contracts, and agents, and also complete corresponding workshops in our Illustration classes. This was really helpful, but there's always more to learn/discuss, and a few hours on each topic isn't really enough guidance. It used to actually be an entirely separate course they got rid of, but are now planning on reimplementing because this model hasn't been working as well as they had thought.

    My school is very oriented towards VisDev or Editorial Illustration. Many professors, while well-meaning, are too removed from the industries. I've heard from alumni that some of the teacher advice is outdated/misguided in today's market. There's only a handful of professors, mostly recent hires, who even understand how important social media is. Ringling also has the misfortune of being in small Florida city far away from industry hubs. There isn't really any resource for info on publishing; we've never had publishing representatives visit campus, at least as long as I've been there. Lots of animation/game/concept studio recruiters and such (which, admittedly, is why I elected to attend there in the first place).

    I get lots of anecdotes and advice that sort of tell me what I want to know, but they haven't been as detailed, applicable, or helpful as I'd like. Getting good non-general, up-to-date, relevant answers is tough. I will say, some advice is really sound, and they give great technical advice, but professional/industry stuff is hit or miss. I'd like to think I'm asking the right questions, but I could probably pester them all a bit more. Asking professionals, like you, Jake, and Will, who work in the industry and aren't within the 'Ringling Bubble' would help me round out my information and get more perspective.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    ok guys, Thanks so much for your questions. I have rephrased some of them and combined a few for the actual broadcast tomorrow. Should be fun!

  • @lee-white gonna be looooong! 🙂 awesome for us. Will it be on svs download as usual? ... I’m in the uk so depending on whether I am leading an outside carol service or nit will depend on if I’m with you!

  • Late breaking news - kidlit artist David Hohn will be joining Lee and Will today! He co-teaches the live Turbocharging Your Creativity class with Lee 😀

  • My question are bit more fun, not really deep or thought provoking.

    Favorite Breakfast Cereals?

    Where did the crazy hat idea on 3rd Thursdays come from?


    Pirates or Ninjas?

    Thanks for all you do guys!

  • @gdbee Great questions, unfortunately, I missed the last session! 😞 Got any good advice regarding agents?

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