Finding your tribe

  • Hi friends! Just curious how others go about finding the artists that inspire them. I have two little kids so I typically take out a lot of library books each week for them and look at the artwork but that’s a bit of a slow process. I go on Pinterest but there is so much junk on there to wade through and not everything is properly cited. Is there a website for illustrators? I feel very old asking this haha. But just in general how do you find who you admire?

  • Pro

    @lindsayturtle There is a huge creative community on Instagram! If you search hasthtags like #childrenillustration or similar, you can find so many talented artists. You can also filter by popular instead of recent to get only the most high quality.

  • Thank you! I had quit Instagram for a myriad reasons but maybe it’s time to get back on.

  • @lindsayturtle definitely found some favorites through Instagram, and lots and lots of trips to the library—I’m a bit obsessed and love using my kid as an excuse to get books for myself!

  • SVS OG

    @lindsayturtle well for me, I use good old google, Behance, and Instagram. Just search Children’s book illustrations and you’ll get a lot of results. When I don’t exactly know what I want I just browse google and instagram. When I’m looking for professional artists or projects, I go to Behance.

  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz yes I would definitely say Instagram too and then cross-reference with library books and Pinterest and also local exhibitions and art galleries! 🙂

  • Recently I try to remember from my childhood and early teen time about who actually inspired me to want to become an artist in the first place. I went back to Vincent Van Gogh, Rene Magritte, and Joan Miro. I am also going back to look at mid-century's illustrators such as Sasak, Mary Blair. I am slowing downand spending times with the art that really speaks to me.

    I can really get lost in all the beautiful illustrations of contemporary kidlit artists posting on Instagram and Pinterest. But I also notice what it does to my own art - it becomes more generic because I subconsciously draw my characters like the ones I saw on Instagram. I really noticed this when I try to push myself to work on character design recently.

    SVS community has been a huge help in terms of having a sense of community and getting inspired by each other. I learned so much by participating in this community: writing about art, and how I think about art, getting critiques, and giving critiques. All these interactions have been really helpful for my growth in becoming an artist.

  • Moderator

    @xin-li Well said! I agree with you 1000%! I'm slowly (far too slowly) finding peers in real life--mostly through SCBWI--but this particular forum has been the place I find the most engagement and quality advice. I have yet to find an actual mentor yet, but I presume he/she is still out there waiting for me to find them. Until then, I'm finding the community here to be a very very supportive substitute.

  • I agree with SVS and art history. The lessons and critiques, especially the critiques, I watch here have helped me see in a new way in just the last month. I have some background in film production so not everything here is new. Yesterday, I watched the movie, "The Birdcage", twice in a row and saw how each frame followed the rules of design, especially the lighting in the club scenes. It's free on youtube.

    Growing up, I had a membership to the, Art Institute of Chicago. Museums are a good source. It's great to see things up close. If you can't get there in person, you can find examples online. Get a book on art history. A fun exercise might be to look at a master painting and reproduce it in your own illustration style. Ask yourself what about the painting moves yu and use that in your art. For me, I can stare at a Monet painting all day long. I love lighting.

  • Moderator

    Instagram is my main source. When you browse a type of art or artist it will give you similar stuff to look at. If I see illustrations out in the world (children’s book) I immediately search on IG for the artist. 🙂

  • I get inspiration for my work on Pinterest and Instagram, but I also notice it feeds my insecurities as well. Since I work out of my home (and I have a lot of left-brained people in my life, but no one in the arts) I recently started a group in my town for creative professionals. We get together every other week to see actual humans, cheer each other on, and provide support in any way we need. They're not illustrators, but they've chosen to make their living in the creative arts and it's nice to have a tribe like that since working for oneself can be isolating.

  • I also check out a lot of library books each week for my two year old, and I check them out mainly based on whether or not I find the illustrations interesting. We’ve found some really amazing books this way! And I’ll see if the illustrator has an IG account and go see what else they’ve done. I spend a decent bit of time on IG, browsing the hashtags.

  • Thanks to everyone for such thoughtful responses!!! Definitely lot's to explore going forward.

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