Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting out of a rut

Hi guys,
I am in a rut. Since I came from a background in fantasy art licensing, I am so used to painting single characters without ever repeating that character for another painting. I must stop doing this! Anyone else find they have that problem, not really working with the same characters/stories? How do you break this habit?
I'm thinking for one of doing like Pete is doing, and picking a folk tale or similar to do complete illustrations for.
What do I lack in my portfolio? Please have a look: http://www.carmenkeys.com/illustration.html
I need a serious game plan for getting back on track and moving forward towards my book illustration goals. Should I have some line art in there? Nature art?
And how do you all keep yourselves on track with your goals?
Thanks in advance!!

6 comments:

Patti said...

Why not expand on one of the images you already have. Create a story line that you can show a few different images with the same character?

pete said...

Carmen, I look at your portfolio and it all looks great! It's very complete...containing examples of animals, children (including different cultures), fantasy, and fun. I also like that you include your color work and graphite work.

As I look at it, as a whole, it does seem that many of your paintings could double as portraits. Maybe that's where you're getting the weird vibe. Perhaps pushing more interaction between your characters might give you the boost you're looking for. I've read, in some of the SCBWI market guides that AD's recommend that the characters don't look to the viewer...that they should be going about their business and lives without the knowledge that some little kiddo is watching them.

I can tell you that the reasoning behind my fairy tale decision was to show sequential character work and crank up the number of pieces in my portfolio...but I'm already not as happy with the potential within Tom Thumb as I was when I started. So, long story short, I might only go as far as 4 paintings with that story before I move on.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that your portfolio work is beautiful. Perhaps the only thing left to do is paint more and replace the paintings you feel that you can "outdo." You have many examples now, so I'd be hesitant to add more...but that's just my opinion.

As far as keeping on track, I just try to keep my head above water. I'm sending my second postcard out ASAP! Ultimately, I have the goal of having an organic portfolio...one that changes constantly...removing the old and including the new.

Not sure if that helps, but it's my two cents! Good luck and keep the awesome work coming! :)

Carmen Keys said...

Great suggestions from you both, thank you!
Pete, you know I think that's exactly it. My stuff feels really portrait-like, and that is such a great idea about having them go about their business without knowing a kid is watching. I'm going with it!

Steve Harpster said...

The thing I notice is something I notice in my own work too. All the images are dead on, meaning the camera is straight on the subject manor. Maybe try some of the same character but from a high angle pointing down or various other angles. I'm trying to do that with my own work too.

Isaac Marzioli - Freelance Illustrator said...

First of all, did anyone go to the los angeles scbwi conference?

Secondly - I went to a very very small conference back in February and it was the second time I've been given this information:

you definitely have to do repeat characters. I agree with the above - while you don't have to take a story that's already been done - why not pick one or two of your favorite characters that you've already drawn, and continue drawing with them! Sequential drawing is very key for art directors or editors or whoever it is that makes the children's book decisions - because they have to be able to trust that you'll be able to not only draw a character in an environment, but draw it 32 times in 32 interesting ways (or some number around that). So doing three or 4 pictures with the same character - and especially where the pictures are related - that's going to be the most important thing (besides showing that you can draw/paint/color in the first place).

Carmen Keys said...

Thank you Steve and Isaac! I think you are both right on the money. Yeah, the dead-on "camera angle" is *seriously* bugging me about my work.