Resources for Editorial Illustrators?

  • Hi there!
    I was wondering, does anyone know of any resources like SVS but specific to editorial illustration? I've been taking classes here for a few months now and love it, but there isn't much information on here about breaking into the editorial market. I still plan to stay an SVS member to develop things like drawing ability, color theory, etc., but it when it comes to resources about going pro, the options seem mostly targeted towards children's book illustration. Are there any other editorial illustrators on here? What resources do you recommend?

    • Ash

  • I'm also interested in editorial illustration. It's not really the same thing as SVS learn,but there's a blog called Dear Art Director where you can anonymously ask illustration industry questions and get replies from real art directors. I've found it to be a useful resource for my editorial illustration questions. I wish I had more precise resources to share but if I ever find them I'll certainly share them here.

  • Moderator

    It seems apparent to me that making a living solely with Children's Illustration isn't necessarily possible. Even the three guys who started SVSLearn don't rely upon that particular revenue stream as their singular source of income. It seems almost standard that illustrators have to diversify what they're doing and dabble in a number of different illustration fields. Children's plus comic art, children's plus art fairs, children's plus editorial, children's plus licensing, etc.

    As you said, this particular site is focused on one particular segment of the illustration world, but there are classes in the SVSLearn curriculum that cover things like Art Licensing. At the moment, there don't seem to be classes that specifically address Editorial projects. I say "at the moment" because it is clear that relying singularly on one discipline for a livable income isn't practical, and we have had a variety of types of illustration posted on the forums eliciting constructive criticism.

    I don't think this particular community is going to ever ever say, "That doesn't have a place here" to editorial illustration as it is clearly a viable addition to their own skill sets. We've had posts about logos, commission work, t-shirts, fabric prints... It's all visual storytelling in the end. It's just about how you define the term. Some would say that's literally what makes illustration different from Fine Art: illustration purposely sets out to make you feel and think specific things--the pieces have a story. Fine Art doesn't necessarily put its emphasis on the story it's telling primarily...

    I, too, am very very interested in learning more about editorial illustration, and I can offer you a couple print resources that are opening my own eyes to the breadth and width of what's available in the illustration industry.

    Becoming a Successful Illustrator by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies is a book I am currently reading. It discussing the plethora of options in the field of illustration and what specific traits and characteristics illustrators commonly have in order to be successful in each discipline. It is a workbook of sorts, designed to help you find the field that speaks to you.

    Illustration: Meeting the Brief by Alan Male is a book focused on helping people learn how to take a "brief" and think through all the options. This is particularly important in the editorial field. It could be very useful to you.

    Illustration That Works by Greg Houston is another book focused mostly on how to make effective editorial illustration.

    One thing I am noticing is that oftentimes illustrators explore different contexts for their style. Thomas Fluharty is an example of an artist who works primarily in the editorial field but clearly buoys it with children's illustration. I am finding more and more examples of very successful artists that subdivide their website portfolios into different disciplines. In part, this helps differentiate the different styles they have developed to cater to each of those areas.

    I, personally, don't know any communities that focus specifically on editorial illustration. While SVSLearn is predominantly about children's illustration, even their own class offerings embrace a wider spread of opportunities. I would suggest you dive right in and share your work--there are a LOT of editorial illustrators on here I'd bet, and you may find some great feedback.

  • Moderator

    The blog that @juliekitzes mentioned is part of the Drawn and Drafted collection of sites. It's a tumblr site that is incredibly interesting.

  • @Coreyartus @Ash-Weaver There is actually an editorial class:

    James Yang teaches another class here as well called portfolio promotion in which he discusses getting work and building a portfolio. He talks about the industry changes over the last couple of decades.

    Also if you can catch the ideation class live that looks like it would be helpful for editorial work.

    On the Skillshare platform I highly recommend all classes by Roman Muradov - He’s quick and dirty (messy) and really takes you inside his thinking process.

    There are some other editorial classes there, but another teacher that you should be sure to check out is Tom Froese - especially his Odd Bodies and Map classes. He also has a helpful YouTube channel. I actually found SVS Learn from one of his YouTube videos:

    Another tip I was recently given is to try illustrating NPR stories. πŸ€“

  • Moderator

    @Amber-Lynn-Benton This is AWESome!!!! I guess I didn't look hard enough at the class roster--I am very excited to take that SVSLearn class!!! Thank-you thank-you thank-you!!

  • I just recently discovered a website that has some editorial videos but for a flat fee. They also have children's book courses along with other videos. It seems a bit pricey, but is another option. Good luck!

  • @Alicja-W The MATS classes are great. My only caution is that there are so many students taking those classes I would caution against using the assignments in your portfolio. Take the same concepts to a new topic. I heard first hand from more than one agent that they recognize the assignments from those classes. πŸ˜‰

  • Great thread! thank you for asking this question, I too am more interested in Editorial as opposed to children's and I've gotten a lot out of these forums, but I have also been looking for more specific along the lines of what I'm interested in as well.

    I can highly recommend Sterling Hundley's Ideation Lab 01 class if it's offered here again. It's a live class, so the real benefit is just getting the change to get his feedback and ask him your specific questions. He was a wealth of knowledge about the industry and even though the class is focused on how to generate ideas, he really takes his time in the live sessions and I found him to be very open and generous with his knowledge.

    BTW @juliekitzes That site is brilliant! Thanks for sharing that resource.