Still working on a few things but I thought I’d post an update. Here’s where I’m at with the snowglobe scene, I think the story is coming through a little better now, just need to fine-tune some of the colors and rendering.
Hey, I'm Taylor Ackerman, I am a children's illustrator making work under the name Studio Looong (an ode to my small, horizontally-gifted studio mates). I love making work that is whimsical, easy to relate to, and just a tiny bit off-beat. Knobby people, bug-eyed creatures and quirky narratives are some of my favorite subjects.
I graduated from Bradley University in 2015 with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and now I work as a Designer at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. I spend every minute I can outside of work drawing and illustrating. I strive to become a published illustrator, specializing in Children's Publishing.
If you want artistic strokes in illustrator like you can get in photoshop, you’ll need to get some good brushes. I recommend retro supply (https://www.retrosupply.co/collections/illustrator-brushes). They also have a lot of great examples of vector illustrations using their brush packs right there on the site. Even with good brushes, I think you will find that illustrator will start to lag and crash if you try to build up enough “brushstrokes” to get a full-page textured illustration. That just isn’t what the program was made for. The only illustrators I know who work in illustrator are ones with a very clean, simple, graphic style or ones who are forced to by corporate clients who want the ability to resize artwork as needed w/o losing resolution. This normally isn’t the case in publishing as page sizes are fairly standardized. If you do decide that vector is the way to go for you, I don’t think SVS has classes for that, I would check out DKNG Studio on Skillshare. They do gig posters, not narrative illustration, but their vector work is amazing and their classes are some of the best on that platform (in my opinion).
@Braden-Hallett I want him to sit back a bit more in the background and i've been trying to experiment with lighter and more muted pallets. It's a quieter scene so I don't think the colors need to shout but maybe I need to warm him up a tad more.
@xin-li this is something that I'm struggling with a lot. I've gotten feedback that my portfolio is a bit too "theatrical" in the sense that the action is always turned towards the viewer, even when I play with different points of view. The advice was that sometimes it's better to build tension by not showing all the action in a single image and then paying it off in the next image (which in this case may be the view of the snow globe?). I'm not sure if I'm successfully implementing this idea, maybe this isn't a good image to try to play with that? The idea is that this little fairy type person is hiding behind the snowman to avoid being seen, maybe I could do something more like this?
Arteza sent this set to just about every art Youtuber a while back so if you are interested in checking them out in action I'll include some links. Keep in mind these reviewers say that they were not paid to do the review but they did receive the product for free which may influence what they think of the quality (you expect more from something when you spend your own $$ on it).
I'd second the sentiment that you should take Will's advice (in this podcast episode) in buying a few high-quality paints to mix with as opposed to a rainbow of cheaper paints. When I initially encountered this brand I tried to look up what pigments they were using and in what ratios and it doesn't seem like they put that info online or on their products but it does appear to me that these are more of a beginner or student-grade product.
Danielle Phelps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VyZe-OUGqQ
Leigh Ellexson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd5GdBgM0A0
Doodle Date (they actually bought it themselves): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_s1Kohbu-g
Send it now and send it again in a year. If you send a postcard and they aren't impressed with your work (which for the record, is not what I think will happen) they will just forget about it. There's no need to wait to make some sort of magical first impression. What I think is more likely to happen is you will send it out and some people will really like it, you spend a year revamping your portfolio and when you send it out again, those people will remember you from the last time, recognize that you are kicking butt and getting better than you already were and really want to work with you. Also, I think that your work is super professional already and you are likely to get work without the updates. The only thing that I would take into consideration is that some places have restrictions as to how often you can submit. Just make sure that you don't spam them with multiple submissions that violate their guidelines (but I feel like 1 year apart should be fine for most agencies and pubs).