Hello, I'm Amber!

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    I'm a farm girl from Appalachia raising a pile of boys in the big city. I drew my way through all the messy days of toddlerhood but hid my drawings in a box. One morning I realized I was turning 40 and all my ideas were in the closet. So I opened the door, dusted off the box, and now I'm trying to find my way.

    That's the pretty version. The reality has been pretty messy, lol. I'm currently a part time freelance graphic designer wearing too many hats while also homeschooling six boys! Technically five because the first has graduated! I didn't know where to start with illustration so I began with graphic design and I've been a part time graphic designer for two years (If you're doing the math I'm 43 - I spent a year learning AI and PS and wandering around before hanging my shingle. I've been cutting my teeth and learning a lot. I've gained a lot of digital skills and confidence and really want to marry that with my illustration aspirations.

    That's why I'm here in this space - it seems the world is full of one off/topical classes but this feels more like art school. I'm currently taking two of the level 1 curriculum classes and doing the exercises. But just for fun I watched @Lee-White's How to Discover Your Style. What a great class! I'm glad I did that one now in the beginning because it really gives me a clearer picture of where I am and where I want to go.

    Here's my edited Dream Portfolio:

    Dream Portfolio-01.jpg

    Some of these illustrators I'm more familiar with than others and I want to make learning more about them part of the process.

    And now for the Reality 'Portfolio':

    Reality Portfolio-01-01.jpg

    The first thing that jumped out at me is that I haven't finished any larger more complex pieces - true illustrative scenes. I have lots of sketches still in that dusty box but they're still in the dark. And my second thought was - get busy!😂

    So for this more long term project I have three goals that I'm adding to my workflow. 1) I'm going to pick one of these illustrators to explore in more depth. 2) Complete my first master copy - I've already selected my first piece - a simpler scene. 3) Select one composition from my box and complete that illustration drawing on inspiration and techniques from my Dream Portfolio.

    Thanks for welcoming me into this community!

  • Pro SVS OG

    Welcome Amber, your work is so sweet!

  • @Amber-Lynn-Benton I am dusting off my skills after many years too. Also 43. I have wondered in the past what my journey would have been had I chased my dreams when I was younger...but life happened and I am chasing them now. I was thinking just yesterday about how much I feel like I have to offer starting out much older than what might be typical. I feel like now is perfect.

    You have such a wonderful eye and style. I love your color pallet and your images. Good luck as you progress. I will enjoy seeing how your work takes a new shape. Welcome to the forum.

  • @Amber-Lynn-Benton hi Amber! Welcome to SVS. I loved reading your story it is actually quite inspirational. You’ve done so much in your life already! You are totally ready for this change. You’ve already got a great eye for design (way bettet than mine, totally struggling with concepts).

    You’ve also got the digital skills and the life knowledge to create great stories with your art. Im sure you’ll knock out the other technical stuff in no time.

  • @JennyJones Thanks so much, Jenny. And here's to 43 and lots of life!

  • @Aleksey ☺ Thank you. I have learned a lot in three years but have so much more to go. My mom is a fine artist and so I grew up watching her - maybe that helps my eye but it didn't affect my hand, lol. One of the reasons I started with graphic work is a lack of ability to depict motion and action and things happening. Things begin to fall apart. I love your little vignette's on your website. That's just the kind of thing I need to begin tackling! That's what I'm here to work on.

  • Moderator

    Welcome! I have a dream portfolio on a pinterest board, but I like how you laid yours all out so you can really SEE it all at once. Good idea. I agree, your reality portfolio is very sweet. 👍🙂

  • @lmrush Thanks so much, Lisa! I love your Madeline illustration!

  • @Amber-Lynn-Benton aw thank you! I am really proud of those. They were very tough to come up with for me but it is getting easier the more I do it.

  • @burvantill Yes I have mine on Pinterest as well with a little more than 20 pieces:


    That was the hardest was to weed out that board from several of my largest ones.

    I did the layout for this in AI and was only looking at the Pinterest board so it was easier to refine it just a tad more. I'm thinking about making it my desktop background. I think it would be fun to repeat the exercise in a year or so.

  • Hi Amber!
    Thanks for posting this. I'm new to the SVS forum and I'm so blown away by the talent here, including yours. I feel like I need to 'catch you up' and follow the curriculum classes. Thanks for inspiring me!

  • hi Amber! I love love love your style and your story, I'm in the exact same boat except I'm 41 with one turning 2 and my oldest with special needs turning 14 this summer. It puts a different spin on things that is tricky since it's not a cookie cutter road!
    Welcome and I can't wait to see what you do next!

  • SVS OG

    Hi Amber,

    Nice to meet you! Your illustrations are so lovely - you have such a great style! Can't wait to see more of your work!!

  • @justjax Thank you - so far the classes are great!

  • @Heather-Bouteneff yes, it is a different path with its own blessings and challenges. I think it's good for our children to see us investing time in work and stretching ourselves. Love your little gator character, btw!

  • @ShannonBiondi ☺️ Nice to meet you, too!

  • Moderator

    @Amber-Lynn-Benton LOL! I can imagine. I have a board specifically for the dream portfolio with only 10 images in it but about 100 more favorites scattered throughout several other boards.

  • SVS OG

    Hi @Amber-Lynn-Benton, Great to meet you. You'll love it here!

  • SVS OG

    Welcome! It's neat that you already have a graphic design component to your art to build on. I wish I understood graphic design better. I think you'll have a blast growing the illustration part.

  • @Tamisha Thanks, Tamisha, I love it already!

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