How to Change


  • SVS OG

    This is such a useful video. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve always felt like I’m chasing trends. As most people who’ve seen my work might have noticed, my style is very generic and the kind that’s been over saturating the market lately. I fear that I’m just getting lost in the sea of illustrators but I also know that choosing a marketable style for a beginner like me is a good move for the moment. I enjoy my style but I feel like it looks like everyone else’s. This is a huge dilema for me. I want to stand out but I must first fit in and get my foot in the door. Hopefully, when I’ve established my style, I can gradually let it evolve into whatever it wants.


  • Moderator

    As a newer explorer of the world of illustration, I will admit to being deeply confused about conflicting advice regarding "style"... It's a heady topic. For people like me still at the beginning of developing their skills, it's both heartening to hear that one doesn't have to be cemented in a particular "style" once they develop it, and disheartening to hear from so many in other corners conversely express trepidation at too much experimentation. I think it all depends on where you are in your career development and the particular field of illustration you're trying to fit into.

    In some ways it might be too easy for beginning illustrators to misunderstand and infer that it's okay to just keep exploring and never really develop or settle on a style. Constantly trying new things is certainly a developmental necessity, but at a certain point one hopes to make that deep soul connection with one's own expressiveness where "style" is a natural extension of one's self. I'm... discovering that's a real journey and a half... hehe... And it requires a lot of research, self-examination, diligently aware choice-making and perpetual risk. I sometimes wonder if everyone is waiting for some magical epiphany to happen to them, and if they just keep trying new things and different methods their style will just magically happen naturally (is that contradictory?!?)...

    To me, this podcast has taught me that style is not only about inspirational emulation and discovery but it's also about evolution. One has to first reach a point of stylistic awareness and consistency in order to embrace changing it. Confidence and commitment come before change.

    I also wonder if it's really a "change" as much as it's a "progression"? It could be argued that many of the artists with different "periods" were actually developing and maturing their creative capacities. It's clear that's easier to do in the world of Fine Art than in the world of Illustration where commercial risk is assumed by a wider number of involved parties...

    I'm not sure this podcast made a significant impact on my personal educational journey where I am now, but I know it will stick with me for a LONG time and it's nice to know you all are also providing thought-provoking material for mid-career illustrators at different junctures in their lives. It's encouraging to know that SVSLearn can serve a lot of different levels in a lot of different ways. Thanks so much for doing what you do, guys!!



  • I have a simple question, everytime I listen to a podcast of late you mention you are also doing a video where we can actually see you too. But when i go to youtube there is nothing there. Am i missing something ????



  • @Geoffrey-Gordon I had the same exact question! I came to this thread thinking maybe they post it there but all I can find on YouTube is audio only...I must be missing something!



  • This episode was really inspiring. I work in a lot of different styles and art industries and always feel like I'm doing something wrong by not having just one style or doing just one thing.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Geoffrey-Gordon good question! We are slowly catching up on the youtube channel. We only started recording video a few episodes ago. Here's our channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SVSLearn

    We will have the new episodes up there shortly!


  • SVS OG

    @rizzyfig that’s all I’m seeing too. Same episodes, audio only.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Pamela-Fraley we are still behind on getting all of them updated. They will be there shortly. : )



  • @Lee-White You mentioned taking a class on illustration history, would SVS ever consider making such a class?


  • SVS OG

    This is so well timed. Perfect. I don't like the digital art that I do anymore. It doesn't feel fulfilling. I want to go more towards a water color pen and ink style. (even it's digital watercolors) I don't have to worry about followers though, as I have almost no social media presence. So I decided to rebrand. I'm going to practice the style for a while doing book cover designs. I like the "Draw 100 Somethings" class on SVS and so I chose book covers. (I know it's not a perfect fit) I'll use these covers to kind of test the waters and see if people like what I do.
    Also, I'm so jealous that Jake moved to Arizona. I really want to move to the Phoenix area. I have this dream of growing a forest in the desert! 😊

    Thanks a lot for this!


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @StudioLooong Yes, as a matter of fact we are doing a history of illustration class! David Hohn is going to teach it and he knows that subject well. He taught it at the University level for a number of years.



  • @Lee-White cant wait!


  • Moderator

    @Lee-White OH, man, I cannot wait for that class!! That's gonna be so helpful! Thank-you thank-you thank-you!!


  • SVS OG

    Great podcast, again. Listening to these podcasts always makes me wish I could have coffee with the three of you and talk about life because you discuss so many of the things I have thought about over the years that apply to so much of life, not just illustration. And by the way, @Lee-White, I have written professionally for my job for 35 years (weekly essay type writing), and I am also an amateur musician and now dabbling in art, and I'm afraid to tell you that of the three, writing remains the most grueling. It's never gotten easier -- I've gotten better but it is still like sweating blood every time I sit down to write and from what I've read, most writers experience the same thing. I have no idea why but writing seems to be a different beast.



  • @Lee-White This is one of my favorite of the podcasts so far. I suspect I'll be quoting it a lot. And I used the inspiration of Antionio Blanco--to invent Antonia Azul, and she helped me kick some today on my various assignments (included the final project for Dynamic Expressions!)

    Maybe we should all pay @Jake-Parker to give us a challenge that would invite us out of our comfort zone.

    I really enjoy the camaraderie of the 3 of you--I fee like your the band of brothers I wish I had.


  • SVS OG

    @Susan-Marks Antonia Azul! I love that! I will have to think of one as wel..


  • SVS OG

    Alter egos! I love it. Should we all be worried that @Lee-White has so many. I love the fact that creatives don’t have to get burnt out, they just change it up. In my hobby phase, tiny babies sleepless nights, I went from a million different craft hobbies. Scrapbooking, hairbows, painting a mural in every freaking room of my house, jewelry. But the need to create was always there. Now I’ve circled back around to watercolors and have a few goals sprinkled in there. I may design some shirts for a buddy for extreme sports. I’ll need a different name for that! My flip flops aren’t going to fit into his brand.

    I also love the point that you can create whatever and however you please, but be aware of the end result you are wanting. If you are trying to get into a certain market you may need to pay attention.

    I would say, do the new styles go in your social media? Does that mess up your “brand.” But by what you guys do, I’m going to say no. You guys clearly put all your styles on Instagram. And I love it. So there ya go!

    Thanks again for being awesome.


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