• SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    New youtube video showing some of the techniques for the Slowvember art challenge!

    What the heck is Slowvember? Slowvember is an art challenge where I'm asking you to create ONE portfolio level painting/image in a month!

    Seems easy right?! It's not. Most of the time artists are working in a distracted way and always have the excuse "I didn't have enough time". This challenge is to push you to actually finish something! And try to show what is the best you can do right now!

    Slowvember is a great followup to Inktober (which was started by my buddy and business partner Jake Parker). Inktober is about speed, Slowvember is about slowing down and figuring out what you want to do next. What kind of work do you want to create? Post all your work from this challenge to instagram with the hastag #slowvember


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG


    Week 1: Research and development. This is all about finding inspiration, no output at this stage! Find art that you love, and do Lee’s art questionnaire (•Art Questions•.pdf?dl=0)

    Week 2: Thumbnails, value studies, color comps. This stage is for trying out different compositions and designs and seeing if they really work. If you follow Lee’s YouTube, then you’ll know that he recommends you do at least 50 thumbnails before deciding on a composition. Explore the options!

    Week 3: Paint and evaluate. You’ve done the legwork, now it’s time to go to a finish. Make the image, then evaluate. Is it working? Are there problem areas? Get feedback!

    Week 4: Paint the final! And enjoy the process 😄

  • I'll be participating, but to be honest I'll be starting with an idea I've tried to realize before but got distracted, half-assed it, wasn't happy where it was going and gave up.

    I'm going to apply the Slowvember approach and not rush through any of the stages of the development this time but actually think through each step of the process. Also I will keep in mind not to get lost or too absorbed in any of the steps, but rather approach it with a degree of emotional and intellectual distance.. almost as if I'm looking at my work over my own shoulder. I hope that makes sense.

    Good luck to everyone else attempting this!

  • I'm going to do it, I thought I would be totally ready to go today but I got some terrible news about a friend yesterday and anyhow, I'm a bit thrown for a loop but will get on it this weekend. Will watch the video and decide what I'm working on. @clipant I too, had something I wanted to do that went sideways so I thought about doing that one. It's just a girl walking through the park on an autumn day, it's a scene I love and that I basically live every day with my own dog who is a big part of my life. But it might be a little boring of a story.... On the other hand I also I did a little dragon last month that I really liked so I thought I'd maybe do something with that dragon and/or Hagrid and Norbert the Rhodesian ridgeback from Harry Potter. I haven't done fan art before and I thought doing a good job on that might good for a bit of follower gathering on Instagram via a hashtag... possibly. And maybe it's purely about the process and that's fine too. Increased following would be great tho 😜
    I will get to the video later this evening or tomorrow. Thanks @Lee-White !

  • This sounds brilliant @Lee-White thank you for sending this out. I was looking for the perfect rebound from Inktober and I think this will do it for me.
    Lee do you or does anyone else here have some suggestions for some portfolio worthy prompts for Slowvember? Should this go well, I'd like to continue this approach with further portfolio peices in future.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers guys!


  • I want to challenge myself to paint my first traditonal watercolor illustration, based on one of my inktober piece. Here is my plan
    Week 1: I will go through my inktober drawings, and using the art questions by Lee as a guide to decide one image to work with. Maybe I will also get familarise with the watercolor paint I have, doing some color mixing excises. I will also re-watch @Lee-White's watercolor tutorial videos on SVS.

    Week 2: I will play with the composition, see if I can come up with a better compositon than the image I have already done in inktober. Then I will do color study digitally. Then move on to mixing color with paint to match my digital color study.

    In week3-4, I probably will paint the same images multiple times. I just assume I will skrew up many times since this will be the first time I try to do a complete illustration with real watercolor.

    I do not know if I will have a portfolio level finished piece after Slowvember. I do this besides other projects in November. My goal is to learn a thing or two about working with watercolor in general. Any excise suggestions, resources and tips on working with watercolor are more than welcome :-).

    Anyone else working traditonaly with #slowvember?

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Eoin-Cassidy Coming up with a prompt for subject matter is very tricky for this project. Everyone is coming at it from such different places. And portfolio goals are so different for each person. Someone looking to do a book might want to do a spread or two from a manuscript. Someone who is doing character designs will want to focus on characters. For me, I'm probably going to paint some of my textural/abstract work on a larger scale than I've done previously.

    My advice is to answer the questions from the worksheet I mentioned in the video. Look at the people that really inspire you. Then make something similar as best you can. : )

    Hope that helps some! This is a personal journey and part of the process is figuring out who YOU are and the kind of work you want to create. : )

  • @Lee-White Ah thanks for getting back to me. Great advice based on where I am at actually. I will have a read through the documents and have started having a scroll through Pinterest so will start playing around with some ideas shortly.
    Your idea sounds interesting. What size were you thinking?
    I'm excited to see where everyone takes this challenge!
    Thanks Lee!

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White I'm very interested! Unfortunately I am leaving town today for a week and won't have my Cintiq with me, but I'm taking a sketchbook. Maybe I can do the research part anyway.

    Like you said, the hardest part is finding a worthy subject matter. I think I want to do either one of my neighborhood kids in the context of a larger scene, or a book spread. Ok guys, let's go! 💪

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Eoin-Cassidy The size I'm thinking about is probably 30"x48". That is big enough to be substantial, but small enough to still fit into a car.

  • I may sound like an idiot right now but i am a bit confused on how to go about this. I tried to answer the questions in the questionnaire and i got stuck. I have previously made inspiration boards for each artist i admire to help myself find my way to what i want to do. At this point i really focus on getting better at drawing in general since i am nowhere nearly as good as i should be to become a professional. On the other hand i do want to build a portfolio that aims for illustrator/comic artist.
    Can someone please help me untangle my thought train O.o?

  • SVS OG

    Hi, @Lee-White Thanks for working with all of us on Slowvember. I appreciate the explanation but still have some confusion on the R&D part. I am starting to work through the questions but wondered about the "theme." For example, for the three (of several that I like) that I chose for this assignment -- Arthur Howard, Helen Oxenbury, Andrea Zuill -- how does one determine the common theme? Is it the how the artist shows expressions? Or maybe their use of humor? Or how they show the individual characters be they human or animal? And what if they diverge in their styles -- somewhat real, somewhat abstract? They seem to use soft lighting. I like the watercolor feel of their work. Does that mean I should try work for individual expressions and use watercolor with soft lighting for my piece?
    Thanks for any guidance,

  • @xin-li I have 2 main references for choosing watercolors for a palette, which is just the first step when starting to paint, but might be useful nonetheless.

    I like Jeanne Dobie’s use of transparent watercolors to avoid mud when mixing. She has very good examples of combinations to make your own saturated variety of blacks and interesting complementary grays she calls “mouse greys”. (I have never used a tube black watercolor, because making your own is much more interesting). She has updated her palette to address criticisms of her use of fugitive colors like Rose Madder Genuine (

    I like Bruce MacAvoy’s guide to watercolor pigments to find transparent pigments and learn equivalent colors by number if I like a particular brand. For example, a nice transparent yellow by Daniel Smith that is more lightfast than aureolin yellow (PY53) is PY150. If you like Schminke, look for “translucent yellow” or Winsor & Newton’s “transparent yellow” or “Daniel Smith’s “nickel azo yellow”, all the same PY150 pigment.

    Have fun 😊I am sure your watercolor efforts will be just as wonderful as your inkings!

  • @Coley Sorry about your friend. I hope things get better. If you haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet, he says to take the 1st week to take a break, just think about things, & do research. So you're already following the steps. 😉

  • Maybe it's a bit late, but I'll join in. Just squeezing the days a bit, then it'll fit this month 😉 It's so great having people there who work on similar things and actually not to walk alone all the way ❤ Don't have an idea yet, but I have some hours tomorrow morning to get into it.

  • @Miriam thank you 🙂

  • @Inge-Permentier , You don't sound like an idiot at all! Talking things out & asking for advice often helps us figure out our own thoughts. It's really tough trying to figure out what to do. Especially when you add the pressure of wanting to make a living on it.

    You said that you want to develop artistic skills, and you want to build a portfolio. I think it was in one of Jake's videos that he shared a quote--something like: "The obstacle is the answer." Not having a portfolio is an obstacle, so the answer is creating one. You only get better at something by doing it. As you work on each new piece for your portfolio, your skills will increase.

    If you subscribe to SVS, try watching Lee's class, "How To Discover Your Style". (If you haven't already.)

    Maybe go back to the Slowvember questions, and try to answer them without thinking about what you want to do for this specific project--just answer them as if a friend asked you in a conversation.

    For example, a major theme that is important to me in my life is peace (within myself--world peace would be great & all, but we have to start with ourselves). This is true of the outlook I try to have in general, and I find that I resonate with peaceful images, and calm colors.

    What is something that drives you in life? What types of images, entertainment, activities, people, colors, lifestyle, philosophy, etc. are you drawn to? What type of person are you? What makes you happy? What kinds of emotions are important to you? What makes you feel that way? What is it you like about comics and the kind of art you want to create? What motivates you to make something? Try to open yourself up to exploration without obligation. Just jot down a bunch of words, and maybe something will surface. Either way, introspection is beneficial.

    I hope this helps!

  • @Miriam Thank you for your advice 😃 It really helps 😛
    I will try to answer those questions as you explained.
    And i will definitely take the course on SVS! I really want this to work out because it is what i love to do 😃

  • @BichonBistro thank you so much for the references. Hmmm, I have to read up a bit more, I can barely follow your reference about "transparent watercolors". I have a box of Sennelier watercolor (12 colors) for years. I use it occassionally. They are suppose to be artist grade color.
    Vesper Stamper has a video tutorial on SVSlearn, which she explains how to use 5 color to paint everyting in watercolor. I thought I might give a try since it is not a very big invenstment.

  • @Inge-Permentier I know the questionaire can be a bit hard to follow in the begining. Take your time. Watching Lee's "How to Discover your style" will help a lot with answering the questionaire.
    If your focus is to getting better at drawing in general, I recommend going through the SVSlearn's curriculum. The classes are organized in the way that you can follow from begining level to advanced.

    I personally got a lot out when I got a chance to go through classes together with other fellow SVSlearn artists here in the forum. Often people will post on the forum about the class they are working on, and post homework here in the forum for feedback and accountability. You can always join in other artists here to do the same class, or start a class thread on your own, and let other people join you.

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