Here's my old Mermaid and her catfish!
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.
For Mermay I am drawing an unconventional mer-granny and her cat-fish. I want to turn this into a little series where I have this piece and I draw a handful of catfish portraits like the ones behind her in the sketch as stand alone pieces. I'm not sure how I feel about the catfish I have on granny's lap. I feel like it's lacking the character that the other two have. I might re-draw it.
My friend Hayden has revamped and relaunched his character design challenge and is putting out one character description a week, this is my take on the first one; Ozmo, leader of the merchant guild. Adding color later this week! if you want to join follow @cqprompts on twitter or instagram.
Here’s my entry for the December contest!
woo! This sounds awesome!
For me, your art looks like it would fit better with a slightly older audience (maybe 11 - 14?). It isn't as much the style for me as it is the subject matter. Your stuff is really well executed but the characters you show here are all too old for a 5-7 year old to relate to easily. The way the text is incorporated in bubbles and the panels make me think more of graphic novels for older kids than picture books. If you want to work in the 5-7 age range i'd suggest trying to develop some pieces with younger characters or less mature looking animal characters.
If you are looking for an outer space black with stars, it may be easiest to shade it then go in with a hard eraser and pull out the stars, or mask them off before hand with little bits of tape or something. If you're looking for graphite that gets really really dark, you need to choose a softer leaded pencil (Like a 6b or 8b) my absolute favorite for getting nice, dark fills is the Prismacolor Ebony Jet Black: https://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Graphite-Drawing-Pencils-12-Count/dp/B00006RVSK
As far as technique, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is not to make the overall piece too dark. Even though it's night, the image can still have a lot of brighter spots (particularly if there is a light source like the moon present, like in your example from Wait till the moon is full) I like these examples from David Alvarez
Overall I think it looks really professional and if you submit to agents you'll probably get good feedback. For me, the one image that sticks out is this one.
The way that texture is handled is not as strong as your other images and the style looks a little less developed. It is the only one that immediately jumped out to me as apparently digital. If it were me I would take this one out. I noticed that it is the only image you have including a darker skinned POC. You have a mix of white/european/american and chinese but you may want to consider doing an image or two that have more variation in skin tone and body type.
I also second the comment on the thumbnail cropping - change that if you are able. On the first image the boy's head is being chopped off and in the second to last the girl's foot is cropped off.
Another thing to consider, if you are going to have an ipad pro, will you need a laptop, or will a desktop computer fit your needs? iMacs have bigger screens and better processing at half the price of the macbook. Might be an easy way to knock a thousand or two off the total cost.
Ahh I want in on this! I've been throwing around some ideas for manuscripts. One of my goals this year is to finish a book dummy and I'd love some feedback on story ideas. From looking into it, it seems like to really be successful/seen for #pbpitch you need to have over 1000 followers on twitter (something about # of followers plays into what tweets are seen for trending topics) and it also helps if others retweet your tweet so maybe we could strategize for day of to give each other a boost