Best posts made by Lee White
How to Achieve Creative Freedom
As i pack up the studio and get ready to move across country I thought I would check in and mention a few things about building a life as a creative person.
One of the things I talk about a lot is the ability to have time to work on things you care about. What is often not talked about is how what you do outside of illustration affects what you can do with illustration. We live in a culture of always going into more debt. And that debt means that you need more money which means you have to always work more. Cars, clothes, technology all contribute to this debt. And the debt will handcuff your creative life quicker than you can imagine. it forces you to take jobs you don't want, in cities that you don't want and the debt keeps piling up. Pretty soon it's too hard to get out from under it all and you don't have time, money, or energy for a true creative life.
As of June 4 (that's the day my house sale closes) I am out of debt. And I don't just mean credit cards. I mean that I don't owe a penny to anyone for anything. No house payment or rent, no car payment, no nothing. Ever. Again. This has been a 7 year plan in the making and I'm not going to say it was easy. I made very tough decisions and had to hope I was headed in the right direction. I spent 12 years remodeling 3 homes all while working and building my career and having a new born, getting my masters degree and also teaching full time at the college level. It was a massive undertaking.
In building this new life I'm also leaving an expensive city for a less expensive city. I'm moving my whole family, leaving friends and all of it still isn't easy. Lots of unknowns are still popping up. But the freedom that is coming with this whole thing is an awesome feeling.
People will say stupid things to keep you in debt. Things like "good credit" and buying things to improve your credit score, etc. Wanting to impress your broke friends, etc. We live in a society that wants you to keep buying. Keep spending. All of that is total crap.
But I want to tell you that this is possible for you too. Many people have done it before me. There were two major resources for me in trying to figure out how to go about having no bills. I thought I would mention them here in the hopes that it might help some of you too.
Dave Ramsey: https://www.daveramsey.com/
Dave Ramsey is classic and gives advice like your dad would. He's no nonsense and breaks things down simply. He has a step by step plan for having no debt. It totally works and it can change your life. Note: It isn't easy. You will have to give up luxuries. You might have to move (especially if you are wasting rent on expensive city living), You will have to change. But this is a great place to start if you are sitting there thinking "I could never do that because my situation is ......". Check out his 7 steps then listen to a few of his shows. He also has an audio book I think. It's pretty basic, but can be transformative if you have a problem with debt and spending. It's also great if you don't know what to do first.
Aside from having the coolest name ever, Mr. money mustache is also one of the OG guys I saw who was preaching the no debt lifestyle. I think this group is a little more advanced and hardcore than the dave ramsey group, but they sure have it figured out. Check out the forum and all his advice on leading a lifestyle where you hardly have to earn any money to live. Very motivational!
Remember, this isn't an overnight fix. It took me a crazy long time and sacrifice. This is a lifestyle change. A philosophy change at your core level. I hope at least a few of you out there check it out. People will call you crazy. They will say that you can't live debt free. They will try to convince you of it. But I did it, and you can too. : )
RE: JUNE ILLUSTRATION CONTEST: TREEHOUSE
I'm not entering of course, but I thought I'd post this here since it's a treehouse. I taught digital matte painting for animation for a number of years. This was one of my demos in class where I started with a background photo and painted onto it. Took about 45 min-1 hour.
![0_1496769401798_Lee_Trees flat.jpg](Uploading 100%)
RE: FINISHED SLOWVEMBER IMAGES!
For my work, I wanted to complete a dummy I had already roughed out. It's not a single image per se, but it's a project I worked on slowly and enjoyed it very much. So while I can't show you the finished thing just yet (as per my agent), I can mention it. Just working on something important in a steady and consistent way was my goal. Now I have a full dummy done and am starting another. I could literally write around 6 books a year this way. Which is a lot different than having a "daily drawing" criteria where you just draw any old thing. Approaching work this way can really move your career forward!
Here's a few sample spreads:
JULY SVS ILLUSTRATION CONTEST TOPIC: HIDDEN
Hey everyone, sorry for the late start on this months contest. We are finally getting settled in the new house and everything should be a bit tighter from now on in terms of scheduling.
So without further delay here's the topic: HIDDEN
This should be a fun one I think. I love all the possibilities of this project. There are so many different takes on what "hidden" can mean.
Remember, have fun and move in the direction that YOU want to go. Don't just try to win, etc. This contest is about getting your portfolio looking it's best. So if you are a concept artist, try to do things that work for that industry. If you are into comics, let's see some of that angle. I like it all so don't assume it won't win if it's not a typical illustration.
Post FINISHED pieces here. Share your WIP images in a separate thread. Let's see what you got! :
MAIN INKTOBER IMAGES
Hey guys, I thought it might be fun to have 1 thread where you guys upload the inktober stuff to. Might be fun to scroll down after a whole month and see it all in one place. Join if you want. I won't be participating everyday due to travel and deadlines, but I did something to start us out. "Catwalk". Ink on paper...
NEW SVS WEBSITE COMING SOON
Hi everyone! I so excited to announce that we have a new website coming soon. In addition to the video classes we have now, we will be offering more live classes too! We will have a store where you can buy books, t-shirts, and more! Overall the new site is more robust and will allow us to customize the whole experience a lot more.
This transition should be happening fairly soon (next 2 weeks or so).
We will be making more announcements and sending emails with instructions as we get closer to the launch date! : )
JULY CONTEST RESULTS (HIDDEN)
Hey guys! The results are in and I'm excited to show you the winners. This was an interesting contest and I loved seeing all the different ideas that were submitted.
As always, it's a tough thing to judge and of course my opinion is only one person's take on it. I welcome you guys to comment with your winning lists if you don't agree with mine. (but then I will delete your account). Just kidding! I think it's healthy to have multiple views on this.
So here we go:
Winner: Ashley Moore @artwithashley
Ashley knocked it out of the park with this one. The composition technique of establishing a pattern and then breaking it is a very strong tool to design with and this showcases that. It hits the "hidden" subject matter perfectly too! Then the technique is very consistent with stylized patterns and lovely calligraphic outlines. Great work Ashley!
2nd Place: Nyrryl Cadiz @nyrrylcadiz
Heartwarming image here by Nyrryl. Soft lighting and a great color balance are what drew me to this one. It looks like there is so much story here and it makes me want to know what happens next.
3rd Place: Holly Williamson @holleywilliamson
The stylization here and overall concept are working so well for this image. Holly created some great characters and then added that sneaky witch into the trees which is a great visual solution to "hidden".
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
No name on this one, but I love the energy. The "hidden" theme on this one is subtle and took me a second to figure out (which makes an image very interesting to me!). Having all the people on greenish floats and then the real monster back there is very smart!
Adrian Kuhn @Adrian-K
I could look at this one for days! It's so beautifully drawn and the design is so sensitive. I am terrified for those mice! Owls be cray-cray and they are really fierce!
Kathryn Adebayo @KathrynAdebayo
Very cool image and works well as an illustration. I really enjoy seeing solutions that highlight design in an interesting way. The little heart in the woods is a lovely payoff for the search.
One of my favorite themes in books and movies is when someone good is forced to do something bad (which is essentially the theme behind Breaking Bad). The other option there is when someone bad is forced to do something good. If you are writing your own stories, either of these is a great place to start. This image is so cool and Little Red looks very confident in her abilities.
Rachel Blackwell @rachy
This intriquing underwater scene is so cool. I looked at it for a long time and liked it more and more as I made up stories about what is happening. The book spilling out into real life is a great concept and Rachel did a great job with it.
Braden Hallett @Art-of-B
Please send this to nickolodean or some other animation studio so they will animate it!!!! Wonderful palette to up the suspense and mood!
OK Rabbits, that's all for now. Keep up the great work. I'll be announcing a new topic later today!
The business of being in business
Hey everyone, just wanted to do a quick post telling you that the first segment of my business course is going to release on Feb. 29. So just a little longer. It will go into a lot of different areas including:
• Why most artists fail
• How to figure out where you are in your
career and what you should be focusing on
• How the business of being an illustrator actually works
• How to set yourself up as a business and get work
• How to avoid mistakes that I (and many of my colleagues) have made
I'm very excited to present this information to you guys!
SVS JUNE CONTEST: MUSHROOM VILLAGE
Hey guys, you ready to get back into the swing of things with a new contest? I sure can't wait to see your entries again. I missed seeing them last month!
The new topic is MUSHROOM VILLAGE. You may be thinking to yourself "what the hell is mushroom village?". The answer is: whatever it means to you. My son came up with the concept and I think it's a cool little topic to do some concept art type work on environments, or add some story to it and make it a children's book thing, etc. The important thing is to make it your own and try to get a piece that moves your portfolio forward. This is important to remember in a contest like this. It's nice to win of course, but if you win and don't get a piece that moves you in a direction that you are trying to go, it's not worth it.
As always, post finished pieces in this thread. Post WIP images in other threads. Any media is open so do your thing! Lisa may post some more details in this thread as needed.
Good luck! : )
TREEHOUSE WINNER AND CRITIQUE
k guys, you made this one super difficult for us! So many great entries that it would be hard to cover them all here. I'd like to thank @Chip-Valecek for doing the great slide show which can be seen here:
I know every time we have a contest there will be some feelings of "why didn't mine get in?!" or "That one shouldn't have won!". I get it. I have been there too. But, like in every contest, someone has to make the call and that call is typically "what did I like the best?" haha! (Note: teachers were not allowed to make the final cut.)
So, below is the winner and runner up, in addition to the others that made it to my final round of judging. Keep your head up if you weren't in the group. There were SO many good ones! Keep submitting for the contests as they really do improve your skill set. Next month's topic is gonna be a good one and allow for more personal viewpoints.
So, The Winner is: @smceccarelli
I really loved the overall layout and she worked so hard at really nailing the pose of the boy on the zip line. The dappled light is beautiful and it seems very professional. It really captured the fun of a summertime swimming hole and I like how the treehouse is tied into this concept.
The runner up is:
This piece is so simple and sweet. I think Katrina really nailed it with just a few simple lines and tones. The technique is loose and fresh and really emphasizes how great art doesn't have to take weeks to pull off. Sometimes the quick sketches are better! : )
Here are the rest of the images that made it to the final stage with some quick notes:
@Eric-Castleman Great graphic style and the overall design and technique is super solid.
@bbmeep really pretty drawing and a great style that is very current in illustration right now. you should be able to get some pro work with images like this.
@MirkaH Loved the lighting in this one and I looked at it for a long time. I think kids will really appreciate all the things you have going on here.
@Jose-Ramos Super solid paint skills here!
@NoWayMe Really like the dappled light and concept is top notch.
@Leontine Wonderful lighting and design. Loved seeing this worked up from the sketch stage.
@JoyHeyer loved the simple style and the concept is so sweet. More great work for your portfolio.
@Majorie Such a cozy scene and very well drawn and painted!!
@holleywilliamson wonderful concept and technique. Reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg. Which is definitely a good thing!!!
@Laurie Really cool concept and design!
@KGatto lovey technique. This could really get you some pro work!
@SUSANMILLER Very fresh image. Looks classic and contemporary at the same time. Great!
k guys, that will do it for this month's contest. There were so many right on the edge. Keep it up and keep updating that portfolio!!
JULY ILLUSTRATION CONTEST: INDEPENDENT
OK Everyone, this one is a little trickier than the last two. The prompt for this month's contest is: INDEPENDENT.
This is broad enough that you have to bring your own interpretation to the topic. There isn't one direction we are looking for. It can be simple or broad and you can choose how it plays out. I LOVE prompts like this because I have to dig deep with what I think the term means. This encourages very divergent thinking and the images typically come out a little more creative for it. I hope you find it rewarding.
Here's the specs: NOTE: Please put your real name AND svs forum name ON THE IMAGE. This saves us a lot of time in the end when trying to give credit. It also allows others to quickly see who did the work later if they grab your image for reference, etc.
One more big change: KEEP THIS THREAD FOR FINAL IMAGES ONLY. create another thread for work in progress pics, sketches, etc. It gets too confusing if it's all shown in one thread
-Post your final illustration in this thread
-One entry per person
-File size no more than 1200 pixels on the longest side
-Don’t forget to include your name AND SVS name ON THE IMAGE so we can give you credit!
-Only submit if you are OK with us posting your image on social media
-Post by July 31 at midnight.
-1st place: free one month subscription
-2nd runner up: SVS t-shirt
-honorable mentions: the chance to bask in the limelight
MARCH ILLUSTRATION CONTEST: OLD AND NEW
Hi guys, We will be judging last months contest (octopus) on friday of this week.
Your new contest prompt is "OLD AND NEW"
This one will be interesting to see what you come up with. Making something old into something new perhaps? something new into something old? Maybe a combination of the two. New stories mixed with old and vice versa. I seriously have no idea what I will see with this prompt. Looking to you to interpret it as you see fit! Just make it awesome!
Post finished works in this thread. Post WIP images in separate threads.