Ok, I hope I submitted this right!
SVS Third Thursday: Inktober
Ok, I hope I submitted this right!
SVS Third Thursday: Inktober
Wow, everyone's doing such beautiful work! I'm learning a lot just seeing this great art. I didn't really have much internet access last week, so I'm joining this thread a bit late.
I've done Inktober each day, but here's the ones I'm able to share here: (PS I love feedback - trying to improve!)
After Inktober, I've decided to do a small personal project with the bonus goal that I would hang these in a local coffee shop. It's less important for me to sell them than it is to simply finish the project.
Anyway, I was hoping for some feedback from fellow artists! I really really like constructive criticism, so please tell me what you think doesn't work / looks bad / I need to fix.
Goal: make 5-10 pieces for Animals Drinking Coffee set by end of the month. Frame originals (about 5"x8" ink and watercolor) and present to local coffee shops, scans can be used for prints/greeting cards.
The idea: Grown-up version of nursery art. The animals are are supposed to have a cute, plush feel to them, but they're engaged in the "grown-up" activity of drinking coffee. (Or tea / hot chocolate / whatever haha)
Currently, I'm fiddling with the design.
Example of a final (quickly colored in photoshop w/ no skill in digital painting, lol)
For instance, lion could have arms up, or down...
I'd like to add winter clothing, since it would allow me to add a bit more color and interest, but I think that might "limit" them to a season, (so no one will want them) any thoughts?
Examples of winter gear vs none: (I know it's hard to see the difference without color)
Some other designs I'm fiddling with...
vvv I'm going to re-do these three for sure, but I'm posing them just for the heck of it, haha
Sorry if the images are really big! I tried to keep them small.
Well, this was a long post (sorry) but any feedback / suggestions are greatly appreciated! I'll post updates here and probably on twitter as I go along.
I would love to learn how to cleanly edit traditional art on the computer -- I want to learn a bridge between traditional and digital art.
Nothing fancy, but a great example is what I've seen on the 3rd Thursday critiques: the paint-overs that Will Terry and Lee White did last week were excellent, and Lee White gave some pointers on how he does it, but I'd really love for a full class on it (not a huge class, maybe five sessions). Another example is what Jake Parker did with his promo Rocket Raccoon sketch, turning it from something spanning two pages in a little drawing book to making it an awesome poster -- that is what I want to learn.
The class could also touch on scanners (kinds, settings, etc.) and printers. (So, going from traditional to digital, and from digital to physical.)
I paint with watercolors, and it just isn't practical to risk messing up when it's 80% done and I have to start all over. I know digital isn't magic, but I have not seen a class like this offered, just tutorials on how to fix the contrast/levels etc.
Here are my first attempts at digital painting/coloring. I have a lot to learn, any tips/feedback is greatly appreciated!
I'm especially trying out the "cell shading" look. Am I close?
Llama cell shading
Second llama attempt, variation on above (more "painterly" style)
Dino cell shading shadow practice (NOTE: drawing is not mine, I just did the coloring. Image source)
Do the shadows make sense? Should they be stronger/darker?
And my first attempt at a digital painting haha
Thank you, I really appreciate your feedback!
Oh, here's the first completely digital piece I've done. (Ignore the background! Haha)
I'm used to a pretty different coloring style, specifically traditional watercolors, and not a lot of strong, sharp shadows. I've been watching a lot of tutorials and working from references, but I just wanted to make sure I'm headed in the right direction!
I love her design! Can't wait to see more from you!
My critique: To me, it's a little hard to tell she's the toothfairy, I found the tooth on her dress at my second pass. If you want that subtlety, keep it! Otherwise, maybe add a few more 'hints" (for instance, how big is she? Could she be holding some coins that are plate-sized? Or her tooth bag could be a bit larger?)
Really nice work, keep it up!
I have been struggling with this SO MUCH lately! Thank you for this thread!
I think most of my personal discouragement comes from impatience - I want to get better faster, and when I don't have a day where I can spend hours and hours on my art, I think I'll never "get there." (Wherever "there" is - art is a lifelong craft)
And when I do have several hours for art, at the end of it, I still think, "gah it's not good enough!"
I agree with @leontine: failing is part of it. There are many examples of historical people we look at as great successful geniuses, but we don't see the enormous piles of crumpled papers and failed ideas that were also a part of their lives, and part of their success.
I just read a book about the beginnings of Disney - it was really inspiring. (He wasn't perfect, haha, but Walt can certainly teach us about persistence and vision) he went bankrupt, lost his top animator/friend to another studio, worked for almost no pay, sold the rights of one of his first characters (almost a precursor to Mickey) studio was in a garage, etc. He took a lot of risks, and some of the studio's early stuff is rather... strange. But, whatever your opinion of the company, you can't argue that they started small, almost failed, and are now a global industry.
I just have to keep reminding myself: "Where I am now is not where I'll end up" and keep drawing.
Keep it up!
Just wanted to update here that I'm still working on this! And thanks again for feedback!
My goal is to make 5-10 finished small illustrations that look like nursery art + coffee. I was aiming to finish by the end of November, but I think I'll give myself an extension with all that's going on.
Here's a sketch of a more "action shot" as recommended:
Color practice for the fox. It looks really bright on my computer (I tried to adjust the scan) but the original is a bit less saturated. I need to change the shape of the scarf, and I will be taking the boots OUT for the final version.
And a really quick sketch
Gotta fix that left foot!
Ok, that's the update!
This is a great question! Certainly something I wrestle with myself.
I learned that 99% of days, if I don't do Art Time first, I tend to not do it. It's very easy for me to get sucked into cleaning, paperwork, chores, the stuff of life... those things are endless. I try to do art for at least an hour before I move on to check off a Life Thing or two.
As for what Art Time consists of... well, I'll just tell you what I do, and you can take it or leave it.
I usually start with watching some of my current SVS lesson, which is often inspiring and gives me all sorts of good ideas/challenges. (Usually while I have a coffee or eat. Multitasking, lol)
Then, if I haven't already started doodling during the lesson (hehe) I'll start with what I call "drawing drills." I use Pintrest to save art that I like, and then I draw from those for a while. The specific thing I draw varies, but it's very good practice to try to match what you see. I suggest starting with what you like, then adding in things that look challenging. I can't tell you how great it feels to face an image and think "no way I can do that" but then an hour or so later you've been able to copy it. If I start with drawing either from photographic reference, or from my mind, that's when I tend to just do what I usually do, and I don't feel like I'm improving.
Then, I move on to my current project. Sometimes this is a piece I've been asked to do, or other times it's an online challenge/event. Last month it was Inktober, I also like to do Animal Alphabets, and this month I have a small personal project before a bigger project begins in Dec/Jan.
While I work, I like to listen to videos/podcasts like Will Terry or Jake Parker's YouTube videos, since they usually don't need to be watched, just listened to. And music or a book on tape.
I've just been able to get back into my art, and this is the routine I have right now.
The main thing, I think, is to continue working, even if you're not sure what you're doing, or you feel "blocked". Don't be afraid to try a new technique, or make mistakes. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I have to tell myself that I'm filling me sketchbook with only terrible drawings (to get them out of my system haha).
I found twitter to be a great motivator, and the SVS forums are also a great place to post art and ask for feedback. When I worked with other artists, I loved having my co-workers around to ask for critiques.
I also suggest watching Jake Parker's video on YouTube called "You Need a Project, Not a Product" (I think I got that right). He explains what a personal project is, gives ideas, and lays out why having a project is an excellent way to improve.
Hope this helps! I'm very interested in what other people have to say, too.
Wow, lots of beautiful art here! These forums are great, everyone here has something to offer - I look forward to learning a lot here with you all!
Here's my submission for July's 3rd Thursday. I hope it's submitted correctly, I had to fiddle with the size a bit.
twitter (that I got just tonight): @careybowdenart
I don't have an Instagram. (yet!)
I'm working with an author on a small children's book (so no publisher / art director to guide things). I'm happy with the project, but I have a question I was hoping to run by the great folks of SVS:
Do (published / mainstream) children's books ever show the action of one animal harming another? Or is this usually portrayed as "after action", just showing the result? Or would this kind of action be better left to the text?
Here's what the author just sent me:
...one image with [baby lamb] being kicked or headbutted by [mother lamb].
Since this is a more of a passion project with the author, we can ultimately do what we want. But I want to advise her, and since the story is already about a baby lamb being rejected by his mother, that seems pretty sad as it is. (It's based on true events of a farm where a baby lamb was rejected, hand-raised by the farmers, and then struggled to ultimately regain his place in the herd.)
Of course, I can draw the "after" shot, but there are other images of the rejected lamb sitting alone watching the rest of the animals eat because he's not welcome. It just seems like showing all that gets pretty heavy! Hahaha
Anyway, thank you so much for your advice!
This is a great topic!
One of the things that motivates me to become more disciplined is accountability. It has helped me a lot to use my blog audience (real or imagined, haha) as people who hold me accountable.
I recently read a story about a man who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. He took a picture at each mile marker, to hold himself accountable to finish. And, as he pointed out, it would be obvious if he skipped any.
When I heard Jake Parker say you have to draw enough to fill out a sketchbook a month, I knew I was doing the art thing wrong. He motivated me, but I lacked the discipline to follow through on my own. So I put myself through a drawing "boot camp" where I had to draw for an hour every day for four weeks and post the results on my blog. As a result, I became more disciplined, even on days my motivation waned (Fridays especially, I was more motivated to go to bed than draw for an hour, haha)
I think of motivation as more specific, and goal-oriented, while discipline is broad and applies to action rather than ends.
Motivation = to improve as an artist. (goal)
Discipline = work every day work every day work every day (action)
A word I like a lot is determined.
@Lynn-Larson Yes, that's a great idea! Unfortunately, I don't think I can add any more highlights down there at this stage. (When I get better at Photoshop, however...) I will post a scanned image so you can zoom in.
@Jeszika-Lee Thank you! Yeah, I was going for "dark and murky" but not so sure I pulled it off... I suppose I can emphasize the bricks, but I didn't want too much extra detail. Let me know if you can see it better in the scan!
Thank you very much for your reply!
I don't think I'll get the author to change much of the story, haha. It was a very popular local event, so people who were involved in helping care for the lamb are the (starter) audience.
I understood animals to be a great "buffer" for telling more "heavy" stories, since the same events with human characters would be too much...
Wasn't there a popular children's book that came out recently that showed a duck and a sheep trying to live a new life in the stomach of the wolf that ate them? Found it: I think it's The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett. Could you imagine that premise with humans? Haha
I'm just typing my thoughts, brainstorming about this one.
Thanks again for your advice!
I'm currently using Weebly, but I held off paying for it because I'm planning on moving to Wordpress. I think I will go with Wordpress.com instead of .org, because the self-hosting thing confuses me. (We have to do our own updates? Manually? Yes/no?) I found Weebly to be so easy, but I became frustrated with some of the format limitations, so that's why I'm moving to Wordpress, which I'm still learning. I personally grimace when I spend too much time working on Wordpress, and my Weebly site only took me an afternoon. I look forward to hearing more of what other people have to say.
@Sarah-LuAnn Your site looks very nice! Haha, maybe I should just stick with Weebly and tone down my pickiness.
Here are the sketches I have for September's prompt: "As Charly walked deeper into the forest he heard singing and dancing. He peeked out from behind a huge tree and saw..."
I usually mess around with the what for way too long. This time, I want to focus on the execution of the piece.
This is the first thing that came to my mind. (Ok, aliens was first. But I didn't want to do aliens. But I wasn't too sold on bears, so I asked my husband what I should have Charly see and he said, "Bears. Dancing bears." And who says husbands can't read minds?)
Anyway, I think "things around a fire" came to a lot of people's minds, which makes sense with this prompt. (Just like there were a lot of "things under water" for May, and a lot of "space things" for Astrid) I'm just focused on making an illustration that works, and that I can put in my portfolio. A part of me wants to do "something different" but I just don't have time to wrack my brain for this one. Plus, if someone is looking at my portfolio, they're not going to know I did one of 12 "things around a fire" images.
I had a really hard time with the angle. Even though I marched through the woods acting this scene out (really) I could not think of more than two angles that would clearly show both Charly and whatever it is he sees behind the huge tree.
The top small one is the angle from above/behind. I like Charly being closer, but his face will be partially turned away, looking around the tree.
I like the larger one because Charly's face can show completely, but he's further away. The line is where I'm toying with cropping it, like this:
I don't want the fire to be too bright, distracting from Charly.
Any comments/critiques are welcome! This stage is focused on the composition, layout, idea... basic stuff. There are details I will add in the next stage (for instance, the bears will have actual paws, not stumps...)
But who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and decide it must be aliens. (Dancing aliens)
Stupid question alert! I'm way more stumped than I should be, but maybe you can help me out here.
I'm taking the SVS Illustrating Children's Books class, and I'm working on my own book dummy. Once it's finished and goes through several rounds of feedback and revisions, I'll either submit it to publishers, or self-publish. I haven't decided. Either way, it's mostly for fun / learning.
So, can someone please clarify what a good starting-point layout would be for a book dummy? On pg 24 of the illustration workbook it says: "8.5"x11" is a very standard size and, proportionally, if the editor wants to make your book bigger, they can easily do so before you get started on the final art." Does this mean each page is 8.5"x11"? Can you choose horizontal or vertical? That seems really big to me, even though many children's books are big.
When Jake Parker made his example book dummy in the class, the entire two-page spread was 6"x13" with .25" margins. Maybe I can start there, but I just want to make sure I understand!
On pg 109 of the handbook it gives the example of bleed: "If you are asked to add a half-inch bleed, your art director means a half-inch on each side; therefore, you will need to add one inch to both dimensions - so 8.5"x11" would become 9.5"x12" "
Bleed is left blank, right? Margins include some "extra" art, while bleed is ultimately extra, physical paper... is that correct?
I know the art director / publisher ultimately decides the exact page size and margins, but where do I start? I've watched the book dummy lessons on SVS, searched through the handbook, and looked at standard sizes for independent publishers / printers.
I don't know why I'm so confused, but I'd really appreciate some clarity!
Thanks so much!
Love the drawings, very creative, and awesome, energetic line work!
@Jonathon-B @Lee-White - The conversation you just had about skill showing first in sketches before showing in commissioned work is SO helpful. I get so impatient with my slow progress, glad to hear there are tiers to growth. I'm catching up on the SVS forums after a couple busy weeks, and I'm so glad I found this thread.
PS- @Lee-White: I'm currently watching your visual storytelling class - loving the clear instruction and valuable content.
@Naroth-Cow Thank you! I'll try that crop and see how it looks. I suppose I am a bit nervous about making the shadows "work" in that one. I gave him a backpack to add to his story, since he's the focal character - an option I also like.
@Christina-Taylor-Brown Thanks so much! But I think you should go for your original idea! We're not going to end up with the same thing, even if the prompt were more specific. I've seen a lot of similarities in other 3rd Thursdays, but even similar pieces are totally different works of art.