Woo-hoo, congrats--and well deserved ;-).
Posts made by SarahLuAnn
RE: 10 Skills Every Illustrator Must Have
@smceccarelli Maybe teaching in a more formal classroom setting isn't a goal for you, but I believe the help and comments you give around the forums here on a day to day basis are most definitely a form of teaching. You help a lot of us on a regular basis, and I would venture to guess that you enjoy it and learn from it considering how regularly you do it. This is what I mean by having a broader definition of teaching.
RE: 10 Skills Every Illustrator Must Have
I'm still not through this podcast, but I just listened to their discussion of Teaching as one of the things an illustrator must have/do and had some thoughts to share, because I think I have a bit of a unique perspective and experience on this topic in particular.
I consider myself to still be barely starting my illustration career. I have only one client who regularly hires me for work and they're not even in my target industry... so I could argue that my career hasn't really started yet.
I just finished teaching my first official art class last week, and it was an awesome experience in many ways. And I feel like I was fully qualified to do it, too, despite my lack of work experience.
I understand why @Lee-White argued that you need '5 years of experience in the field' before becoming an official teacher. Like @Will-Terry implied, I think the problem is that he was defining "teaching" much too narrowly. I made the same mistake not very long ago.
You see, teaching art has long been a piece of my dream career. It's always been something that I've been interested in. For example, I read beginners How-To-Draw books even when I already know the basics of how to draw, just to see how they break things down and to discover new approaches. So not only doing art, but TEACHING art, is very interesting to me.
For a few years after graduating, I put off this piece of my dream career because I knew the "right" way to do it--I needed professional experience first! Who would want to learn from me otherwise? I looked at the classes and teachers at my college, here at SVS, and elsewhere and said, no way can I teach--I'm not near that level!
But last year I had this epiphany--Of course I'm not qualified to teach at the level of the classes I'm interested in taking. (Or even those I just barely completed!) The very reason I'm interested in taking them is that they are skills I have not yet mastered.
There are skills that I HAVE mastered that I CAN teach, which I am entirely qualified to teach. Classes that are completely off my radar because they teach skills I already have. Not only that, they are skills I believed that people would be interested in. Namely--the more basic foundational drawing skills.
So, I started looking for ways and means to teach an actual drawing class--not in just a hypothetical "wouldn't it be nice someday" kind of way, but trying to find a location (my home is too small), create an actual curriculum, etc.
I applied to teach through a nearby Continuing Education program like most school districts in the U.S. have. My proposed class outline was happily accepted ("We're always looking for more art classes to offer! People love them!").
Long story short, all 12 available seats for my Drawing Fundamentals class were filled. My original class outline was completely re-written as the class progressed. By the end of the class, every student was better able to draw what was in front of them than they had been when the class started. Interestingly, while their successes were gratifying, their mistakes were incredibly interesting and taught me more about why people have a hard time drawing what they see. (Which is why I would argue that @Jake-Parker 's "How To Draw Everything" isn't really an entry-level drawing course, its more like level 2, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.) And most of them asked me when my next class would be and what material would be covered, saying they would sign up when it became available.
So next semester I'm teaching Drawing Fundamentals TWO nights a week, and next fall I will also have a painting class available.
All this without "experience in the industry".
And really, this was more structured than teaching even needs to be. Even explaining a little bit of what you're doing to a stranger who watches you while out sketching counts as "teaching" in my book. Getting those processes out of your head into words that other people can understand is SO BENEFICIAL--to everyone involved. You will know those things better than you did before.
So I gotta agree with Will on this one. Teaching in some capacity--whether in the traditional way we usually think of or something much less formal--is important for improving your craft. I guess you probably get along without it--but its such a great short cut I don't know why you would want to.
And a tangental thought--
Who knows how long it will take me to "break in" to Childrens Publishing--it takes people years, decades even! I can send postcards and go to conferences etc etc etc, but I have a limited amount of control over when I'll first be hired by and Editor or AD. Why put all my career dreams on hold for something I have so little control over, when this is also something I want to do, which I also happen to have a LOT of control over? I CAN do it, so I am. No obnoxious gate keepers have to give me permission to do this--not even you and your 5 year rule, @Lee-White
RE: Dream Portfolio
Lee has a video on this, "How to discover your style". Its included in the subscription, or you can get it for $10. But yes, you've hit on the basics--identify artists who you aspire to be like and do work inspired by theirs. Be really picky about those you choose--I know that I personally really love the work of many artists but don't really want to work in their style.
RE: Aquatic fox
What a cute little moment! I like the soft bubbles you have in the background and I definitely think you could find success with a less line-dependent style if that is what you want to do. I don't think anything is wrong with using linework, but if you want to move away from it I suggest focusing on creating silhouettes or shapes, then adding details within those shapes, rather than making outlines and filling them in. The SVS class on Creative Composition (Is that the class title? I need to check) helps a lot with this approach. Does that make sense?
RE: Episode 14: Comic Cons & Art Fairs
I LOVED this episode! This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately and this answered many questions for me. I'll definitely be taking a close look at the suggested supplies list. I'm thinking of doing my first show about a year from now--there is a local Steampunk festival I feel my style could be a good fit for. Also, steampunk.
While I'm interested in cons/art fairs for many reasons, one of the reasons is similar to why I started teaching art classes--namely, that it is something I have more control over. I don't have to wait around on some agent or editor to like my work. Its also a way I can look more "legit" and gain more fans, so I have that much more going for me (little as it may be) if/when an agent or editor is interested in my stories. Thats my thinking, anyway.
I definitely feel like I lean more toward the "art fair" side of things--I did a lot of fan art as a teen, but I'm just not as interested in it lately. Also, the IPs that I'm most interested in are fairly obscure. Sure, I've watched the Marvel and DC and Star Wars (etc) movies, and while I enjoy them, I don't LOVE them so much that I feel inspired to make good art work based on them. On the other hand, I am really excited about creating images based on my own ideas. However, my work is definitely very illustrative, and definitely has characters front and center. This will be something for me to think about. Maybe I'll do some less character-focused work to appeal more to that market.
My family went on a road trip this week, we listened to the podcast on the drive. Then, we happened to stop at a shopping center that included an art gallery. It was very interesting to me to look at the work as a customer would. It was mostly landscapes or still lifes without characters--barns, covered bridges, trains, flowers. There was ONE image, though, with a character--the only one in the gallery, really. I absolutely fell in LOVE with it and ALMOST bought it(couldn't think of a wall to put it on... and it was a LITTLE bit more than I wanted to spend.)
I guess I'm just always drawn to character and narrative... there have to be customers out there interested in the same thing, right??
This is the image:
Isn't it fun?? I may still get myself a print of it. The artist is named Michale Sowa and I've had a lot of fun looking at his other work--surreal, weird, and whimsical.
RE: Question on: How to get your First 10K Followers.
For me, I just try to be the kind of follower that I want to have. So all that means is, I follow only people who are posting things I'm truly interested in, and if I'm not into what I see someone posting, I un-follow them. When I see something I really like or have a thought about, I make a comment. I keep my posts focused on my art with an occasional personal post now and again so they know who I am. I have slightly more followers than accounts I'm following, but a lot of that has to do with me being followed by friends/family who I don't follow back--I prefer to keep my IG feed about art and my Facebook feed about friends/family.
However, I'm not really focused on building a following right now, for where I am I'm mostly interested in networking with other artists. That means I'm following hashtags like #kidlitart and #childrensillustrator and connecting with people using those.
Speaking of, I don't think I've seen many SVS people in the #KidLitArt chat on twitter on Thursday nights, but you all should join in! Truth be told its all I really do on twitter.... someday I'll have a full social media strategy, but for now I just do what I feel good about and let the rest go. (Mothering takes all my focus, guys. )
RE: Brand new website!
I subscribed! I have my own newsletter and have been trying to figure out what to say in it, so I've been looking for other illustrators newsletters to read. And of course I also think your work is beautiful and want updates! Well done on the website, it looks awesome!