Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's Go Fishing...

Yay! Got another illustration friday done. Man, it feels like forever since I've done one. :P Not enjoying the cold press as much as the hot press, but it did force me to be a bit more loose in my technique. Which I didn't mind that so much.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Illustration Friday

The word of the week is "clandestine" which took some researching for me. I don't believe I've ever heard that word used in a sentence before. For me it translated to "sneaky" or "deception". Sooooo.....the giant otter has a hidden agenda. He seems like the perfect pet, but really, he's deceiving the little fairy girl. Why is she a fairy? Because I haven't drawn one in a while and kinda miss it. :P

This is on watercolor cold press (something I never paint on but got a beautiful pad of it for Christmas), inked, and will be painted with watercolors. My question to you is how does the composition feel? Do I need to add something else or does it work? I'm thinking the piece will be 9x7, so almost square but not quite. And I'm debating whether to give it straight edges or a more rounded edge. Dunno yet. Thoughts?

Technical Difficulties...

For some reason, I can't leave comments at this time. I get a verification request but there aren't any letters to type...I'll keep working to figure this out. Sorry.

Thanks for the comments, all!

I've been going back and forth on using a firm line in my illustrations (as evidenced in my portfolio). I think you're right that the lines maybe have gotten a bit heavy in certain areas...I'm thinking that by varying the intensity of the line, ala Candace, I might be able to set a limit for dark/light in the fore and backgrounds.

This critique is awesome. It's exactly the kind of information I'm seeking.

Again, thanks!

Does anyone have a preference of line vs. no line in my stuff? Just wondering.

Monster Tea Party

I'd be happy to be the first to go, if nobody minds. Not sure if we need to wait for more members to join...or should we just go for it?

Image is pretty small on my monitor, so you might view it at my website for a closer look.

This is acrylic on watercolor paper (140#) piece I finished late last night. The dimensions are 10" x 13". The image was digitally photographed and color-balanced using Photoshop (although I'm still not 100% comfortable with the photo vs. real quality).

The purpose of the piece is strictly to support my portfolio. I'm trying to place more emphasis on color usage in my paintings. Painting is a new animal to me...I've always been a pencil and paper guy. Please let me know how you think I'm handling the color. I'm going for a saturated and contrasting style...not sure if I'm achieving it yet.

I'd also like to know if you all think this could be a good postcard selection. I've been painting and painting for awhile now and feel I'm close to the point of showing to publishers. Do you have a preference for images on my site that you feel would be good to show my style? For me its between this one and the crooked old man. This will be my first postcard, so I want to make the right decision.

I look forward to participating in this group. You all are VERY talented.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Critique Rules

I liked the ones off of SCBWI's forums....I fully agree with them...but they are originally from an article by Linda Sue Park. Visit her site and read what she has to say about critiques, she's awesome at explaining critique!

The method I like best is often referred to as “the sandwich.” A commenter begins by saying something s/he likes about the piece, then goes on to point out weaknesses and finishes up with another positive comment -- ‘sandwiching’ the negative between two positives. When an artist hears something good first, s/he is more likely to be open-minded about the criticisms. And finishing with a positive point keeps the critique friendly.

Everyone should offer both positive and critical comments on the piece.

No nasty, hateful, or degrading comments. The point of critique is to build the artwork forward and upwards, if it's not constructive, then it doesn't need to be posted. Excessive use of this behavior will result in cancellation of membership to group. It's simply not tolerated.

No "I like." or "It's nice.". Think about getting deeper in describing how you read the piece. "I like this piece because....." or "This works because....". Don't forget the sandwich rule! Positive feedback, some constructive criticism, then more positive. :)


To post up onto the blog, its like any other blog, just start a new post, add the image, give the information needed, and submit. We then review the piece through comments which appear at the bottom of the post.

Post one image at a time for review. If we place up too many images per person I have a feeling this will get way hectic and we'll all go further into craziness.

Indicate the medium and size of your work below or above your image, e.g., Acrylic on canvas. 60"x72". Also describe the project it's for. Sometimes it helps when we know the audience...especially in children's books.

All imagery should be connected and related to children's books. Absolutely no adult imagery please. We all, I'm sure, draw and paint other subject matter (I do high fantasy), but that is for another place. Our focus here is children for children.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hello There!

For the last couple of months now I've had a desire to start an online critique group for aspiring children's book illustrators. A lot of groups are for writers/illustrators, writers, or they are all full and not looking for more illustrators. I've been invited to a couple, but feel the need to create one for other illustrators I know of who don't have a crit (slang for critique) group. Although I much appreciate the invites, and look forward to possibly becoming a member of those, to leave a fellow illustrator behind just isn't an option.

What I'm hoping for this blog to be is a way for illustrators, of all levels, to come together and lean on one another. It's competitive out there....very competitive, and it's just not possible without a support group of fellow artisans. I miss the group I had while in school. A huge rectangle table, all of us sitting around doing our homework till the wee hours of the morning, helping each other, chatting, and becoming support beams. Even in class, during the five hour long crits, I direly miss.

So it's my prayer that this group becomes a solid part of an illustrator's life, and a strategic move for their career. All of us need it, we all know it, and we all know the importance of our portfolios.

If you're interested in joining here are some guidelines, which you'll also find a link in the right hand column.
  • Be a member of SCBWI
  • Finished with education (currently not a student)
  • Have a strong desire to work hard
  • Understand that criticism is to help us move forward, and to never take it personally, we're talking about the work and want to help it grow. We are not judging character or the individual
  • Join with an open mind
  • Be prepared to be challenged. If it's not hard, then you're not learning
  • Must participate. Critique groups do not work without feedback
  • Understand some constructive language. We are willing to help you build that communication, but "It looks great." isn't constructive. What's great about it? Why? Those are constructive questions
These are the general guidelines, and in my mind, as a teacher and as an artist, they're guidelines we all already follow. If you know that this is something you want to be a part of, then please contact me, sara.b, and I will send you an invite to join.

God bless and be well.