My first monthly challenge piece - and my first post. Boom!
A continuation of a piece started in October (like, obvi, right?). Loosely inspired by the hallowed Poe poem.
Hi! Just realized this Introduction forum exists. Already made one post in the Slowvember Challenge. Faux pas!
I'm jumping back into the idea of illustrating after taking a much-too-long hiatus. I started (brick and mortar) school for it 9 years ago, then various economic life events forced me me to move and broke my resolve. Since then I've been working as a low-key freelance graphic designer and copywriter/editor.
But writer-illustrator has always been my pie-in-the-sky profession. I'm a storyteller by nature - have a few short story awards under my belt, and I LOVE making art. Always have.
And we only get one life, right?
Recently I decided to switch from Adobe softwares to Affinity, partly for cost reasons and partly because I hate the abuses of monopoly. As a way to teach myself the minor differences between Photoshop and Affinity Photo, I decided to take up digital painting - and I frickin' love it.
I'm glad platforms like svslearn.com exist now. It's making a big difference.
And this forum seems like a good place for constructive criticism!
People are throwing fits about the trademarking of Inktober.
I hate watching Twitter-mob ******** like this happen to good people. It’s one of the most maddening things about social media.
Jake, I know you didn’t mean for the trademark attorneys to go after incidental #inktober artist sales. I have a law degree, and even I would have assumed the attorneys would only have gone after people using the Inktober name as if it were their own property.
I can only imagine that most people on this forum have your back, for what little it’s worth.
Wow - lots of astronauts this month! Heh.
I'm thinking it might be a good thing to see if I can meet some other illustrators and illustrator-hopefuls in my area. For some reason all of the societies and organizations focused on the applied arts in this part of NY state are in Syracuse (WHY??).
So ... anybody around?
Wow - lots of astronauts this month! Heh.
@Lee-White That's an insightful parsing of the issue. I do graphic design as part of my - ahem - portfolio career - and would like to press deeper into the illustration element. Actually, I've been paid for illustrations in the past, but they were for political mail and nothing I would feel comfortable (or even proud) to post to a website portfolio. And I would like to write and illustrate my own books, in sort of a painterly-yet-primitive fashion. I know I've come to the right place - where an illustration career begins. So as far as that goes, it's like you said: time and effort.
Maybe my hang-up is in this concept I've got that I need to combine everything into one big effort. It's probably in reaction to my [cough] portfolio career, where it feels like all these different fractured efforts that, yes, are making me money, but leave little time for me to put effort into other things that I care to combine.
Then again, your observation about buyers of landscape paintings valuing the physicality of actual paint is a fascinating one, and something I hadn't considered. Yet when I think back on my initial experience falling in love with landscape paintings in Santa Fe all those years ago, there really was something about the paint itself (even though what my family ended up buying were prints) - and when I see landscapes online I find myself imagining the paint itself in them, which is a large part of why I try to emulate physical media as closely as I can when painting digitally.
So now that I've taught myself some of the fundamentals of digital painting it may be time to press back into acrylics. (I can't stand how long oils take to dry.) Actually, I'm thinking I'll do both: make these digital paintings as a method of composition and working out problems, then re-painting my favorites of these in physical media.
I saw your video showing how you project your sketches and make larger paintings from them. I've done this in the past - but mine is one of those old school (and old-school) projectors that require transparencies, so I find myself having to do tracings of my sketches in sharpie before I can make the paintings from them. That extra step is frustrating because, well, it's an extra step, and also because it feels like I'm making a translation from a low-res translation. Need to look into projectors that plug into my computer, perhaps. That's what you use, yeah?
@TessaW You make a good point. I suppose I haven't been posting on social media for as long as it would realistically take to gain traction - or at least not consistently posting for that long. It feels like forever - but that's probably due to the weight of emotion behind the thing rather than the actual amount of time and exposure. Gah, it's frustrating how wrapped-up in identity this all gets; and I sure wish I were less invested in what other people think about these things. But there's no way to not be when you're looking to build a money-making venture. Right? In this area of life I feel like one of those sea anenomes that furtively peeks out from its protective coral only to shoot back in at the first sign of danger - which in this case is the outward appearance that nobody gives a damn. I'm not really like that in other areas of life. I'm taking it as an indication of how much this all means to me. Leaning into the fear, as it were.
As for that tagging game: totally flummoxed about how it works. Almost seems like you've got to write an essay about the art piece with a hashtag in front of every word. But when I see that happen on other peoples' artwork some part of me balks.
Your point about the consumption of art online vs. in person is a really interesting one. I seek out landscapes online - but that's likely because I'm so taken with them, and looking to produce them. Somehow it hadn't even occurred to me that there might be a difference in how I consume online art with how most other people do. (Theory of mind, ftw!)
@RHirsch Yes - Affinity can import PSD files, though most often I just export a PNG or JPEG from Procreate (into my Dropbox account, which is how I share files across devices and os platforms) and open them in Affinity Photo on my laptop (for which I have a larger external monitor). Until I bought Procreate last month at the urging of many on this forum (and it was so inexpensive, that, well, why not?) I was painting in Affinity Photo on iPad. A lot of illustrators use Affinity Designer on iPad, which is legitimate - but I was going for more of a raster painting experience and didn’t really see the need to factor vector elements into my work, so I’ve mainly stuck with Photo.That said, any of the Affinity apps can open a file made in any other Affinity app. They share a file format.
One digital app for iPad that's very much like Photoshop (and has more functionality on iPad--even won Apple's App of the Year) is Affinity Photo (in the $20 range, one-time payment). I've been using that in combination with Procreate, and it's fun. Affinity Photo also has a high-powered desktop version for Mac and PC (and is only a one-time payment of $50 for a license--no need to pay monthly). That way you can jump back and forth from iPad to a PC/Mac (where you get the benefit of a larger monitor and potentially more processing power).
Thank you everyone for responding.
@NatLundeen I want to get into illustration because, well, I enjoy storytelling and I feel as though I SHOULD be able to bridge my interest in the visual arts with storytelling. In part because that would mean I could focus my energy more effectively--not have it feel as scattered between the two in such disparate fashion, if that makes sense? I used to also record music and play bass guitar, but I gave those things up to have more time for these other arts, because I wasn't able to put enough energy into them all to even improve. Further focus into visual storytelling, it seems to me, would leave time for promoting my skills as well, without having to give anything else up.
@Melanie-Ortins I think what you say makes sense, especially with starting with that character I feel passionate about. In my head, the book I want to write and illustrate is actually a lot more "primitive" in visual style than my landscape style is shaping out to be.
@deborah-Haagenson Thank you! I think I may just try inserting characters into some of my existing landscapes. For some reason I worry they will end up looking like one of those situations where people buy paintings from thrift stores and then paint over them or into them! But I guess it's about trial and error. I do have a newish iPad Air and Apple Pencil. Been using Procreate since about January, on top of my use of the Affinity softwares on both iPad and my PC (with a non-monitor graphics tablet).
@Jeremy-Ross Thank you! Now there's an idea ... in fact I've had people respond to pieces I've submitted for monthly Challenges with similar suggestions. I'll take this as a hint that I should consider it more seriously.
@Nyrryl-Cadiz Thank you! I'm going to continue in one form or another!
@TessaW Thank you! I have posted them on the blog where you looked at them, on instagram, and on facebook. Generally I only get a handful of "likes" in any platform. The number of times @Will-Terry, @Jake-Parker, and @Lee-White have said something to the effect of "if people are 'liking' your work on social media, that's an indication that you're onto something and can move to the next level" is part of what has got me worried, actually. Apparently there's something I'm missing about how to increase my number of followers/likers/whatevers--and that makes me question whether I could actually make any money by selling them, since those two activities seem similar in kind. Though, really, there's nothing I'd like more than to do that. And I like your idea about formulating a plan for fast-tracking the development of a sympathetic character style. I'll need to think about that. I have done the dream portfolio challenge on Pinterest, for children's books illustrations and, separately, for landscape paintings--though, go figure, I have had a much easier time finding landscape images I salivate over (so to speak). I will give a go at the specific characters/characters interacting with landscape type you mention, because I think that would go a long way.
@Heather-Boyd Heh I'm all about forming an SVS astronaut club. April is for Astronauts? I'm going to look into Andrea Korveshi. Thanks for the recommendation! And, like I mentioned above, I'll give a go at that particular sort of Pinterest inspiration board.
@Lisa-Pickard That's exactly it--I feel like I'm finding deficit in inserting narrative into my landscapes, and maybe this is why they have not found much engagement. I'm glad you get to do that set of illustrations. Let me know how that progresses, will you?
Thanks again, everyone. I really needed someone to "talk" with about all this. You've all given me some good directions to go.