POINTY by Nate Padavick


I attended last week’s free webinar, Creative Playgrounds, which was sort of a more casual pre-game event for next Monday’s online course Building a Freelance Illustration Business.

During the webinar, illustrator Nate Padavick shared his entry for this week’s Illustration Friday topic of POINTY, and you could almost hear everyone’s heart melt so of course I had to share it.

Hope this inspires you!

Posted by Thomas James on 08/12/15 under artists,weekly topics,workshops / conferences
No Comments

Online Character Illustration Class with Matt Kaufenberg


In our continuing effort to keep you inspired we’d like to tell you about this really fun online course that will walk you through the steps necessary to take your character illustrations to the next level.

In this class Matt Kaufenberg will take you through his process of illustrating a character, starting with the concept, then moving into Illustrator to create the shapes, and finally, rendering it in Photoshop.

What You’ll Learn

  • Finding Inspiration
  • Character Concepts
  • Building the Foundation in Illustrator
  • Rendering in Photoshop
  • Color Adjustment and Texture

Click here to learn more about this class >>

Find even more online classes for illustrators here >>

Posted by Thomas James on 08/11/15 under children's art,classes,Events,illustration,resources,technique,Tools,tutorial / how-to,workshops / conferences
Comments Off on Online Character Illustration Class with Matt Kaufenberg

Idea Generation Image Search for POINTY


Hello fellow illustrators!


As promised last Friday, we are now in full effect taking Illustration Friday to the next level. The natural evolution of a fun weekly illustration challenge based on ideas is a deeper focus on the art of idea generation itself.

Yesterday we shared a stream of conciousness word list for this week’s topic of POINTY, and today we’re sharing some visual inspiration based on a simple image search using some of the words from that list. Use can use the images above to brainstorm for concepts that you might not have considered otherwise, or do some searching of your own!

Have fun!

Posted by Thomas James on 08/11/15 under idea generation,IF community,illustration,technique,Tools
Comments Off on Idea Generation Image Search for POINTY

The Idea Generation Process of Shawn Ferreyra

cards 4

[Editor’s Note: In response to our announcement last week that Illustration Friday will be focusing more heavily on the art of idea generation, illustrator Shawn Ferreyra reached out with us to share his own process for coming up with new ideas. What follows is an intimate look at Shawn’s idea generation methods in his own words. You too can share your techniques through our contact page.]

I came to illustrating via theater via playwriting via screenwriting via comics. This is one of many exercises I learned back in my playwriting days that I’ve adapted for illustration. I hope this is helpful!

Go to Staples or whatever and get a 3×5 index card holder and fill it with blank 3×5 index cards. Carry it with you at all times along with a sharpie or a felt tip pen. Nothing fancy.

Start an observation diary. Not a diary of your thoughts or feelings. A diary of your observations. On index cards. Not in a notebook. On index cards. One card per observation. Don’t write on both sides. Don’t date your cards.


cards 1

cards 2

Overheard a wall street guy say something cringe worthy? Write down what you heard.
Saw an interesting person on the subway? Draw them. No more than 3 minutes.
Street preacher said something crazy? Write it down.
Saw an interesting still life? Draw it. No more than 3 minutes.
Saw a woman reading and laughing out loud hoping someone would ask her what’s funny? Describe it in as few words as possible.
Saw a gorgeous cityscape or landscape? Draw it. No more than 3 minutes.
See someone constantly blinking when they speak? Describe it in as few words as necessary.

cards 3
Do this for a few weeks, maybe a month. At the end of the month, lay all your cards out on a huge table. Start organizing them. How should you organize them? I don’t know, there is no should. Your mind is going to make you see patterns. You’re going to start to see things that go together. You’re going to start to see bits and pieces coalesce to suddenly become fully realized ideas.

You’re going to start to realize that the cards aren’t just your observations, but fragments of how you perceive the world, what you’re obsessed with, what you’ve been thinking about and wishing for. Your unconscious mind has been meditating and mulling these things over this whole time, and you’ve just tricked yourself into showing them to your conscious mind.

Thanks so much to Shawn Ferreyra for sharing his idea generation process. Want to help make Illustration Friday more of a place of learning? Leave some thoughts in the comments or send us your own process for coming up with ideas and shaking up your conscious mind here.

Posted by Thomas James on 08/11/15 under artists,community,idea generation,illustration

The First 5 Seconds of Your Portfolio Website


In the first 5 seconds that an Art Director visits your website, they are making critical judgements about you and your work, for better or worse. That’s why it’s so important to give your landing page the attention it deserves.

How do you make a strong impression in the first 5 seconds?

This happens to be a question that I hear from a lot of Illustrators, which is understandable because your Home page is one of the most important parts of your website, along with your actual portfolio. After all, if you turn Art Directors off with a poorly designed landing page that makes you look like an amateur, they’ll go elsewhere quicker than you can say “Hey, wait! Come back!”

The way I like to think about the design of a landing page is to imagine that you’re an Art Director who has never been to your site before, and consider the impression that your website makes in the first 5 seconds.

Are you putting your best foot forward?

Are you showing off your greatest work?

Is your design clean and clear?

Is your style evident?

Are you making an impact?

What is the first thing the eye is drawn to? The second?

Asking these types of questions can be very worthwhile when designing (or redesigning) your website, because they can help you to take control of the way you “introduce” yourself to your new visitor.

An Outside Perspective

In fact, I would also recommend enlisting the feedback of one or more fellow artists that you trust, just as you might when asking for a critique of your work, because sometimes it can be hard to get an objective viewpoint of your own design. When asking for help, try to ask specific questions, such as the ones listed above, so that the criticism will be more useful to you.

Another enlightening activity is to visit the websites of Illustrators you’ve never seen before, and pay close attention to the way their Home page affects your impression of them. You might even want to have a pen and paper ready to jot down notes of the things that turn you on and/or off about their landing page. Then, you can apply these ideas to your own design.

Keeping Them Around

Remember that the Home page of your portfolio website, just like every other element, has a very specific job to do, which is to impress your potential clients, make them want to see more, and get them to your portfolio as quickly and easily as possible.

Spending a little extra time getting this part right can do a lot to help achieve these goals.

Posted by Thomas James on 08/10/15 under business
Comments Off on The First 5 Seconds of Your Portfolio Website

Idea Generation Word List for POINTY



Hello fellow illustrators!


As promised last Friday, we are now in full effect taking Illustration Friday to the next level. The natural evolution of a fun weekly illustration challenge based on ideas is a deeper focus on the art of idea generation itself.

We’re starting small, with a stream of consciousness word list that one might create while brainstorming for this week’s topic of POINTY or any other of our weekly topics. I encourage you to make your own first, perhaps compare it to this list or even email yours to us if you’d like us to consider sharing it in a future blog post.

You will notice that in my own personal word process below I try to let my mind freely linger in one area for a while until some other interesting pathway offers itself up, or not. Sometimes you’ll need to give it a gentle nudge, or step away for a minute. The randomness itself is where the magic can sometimes happen. This process is pretty much guaranteed to take your mind to surprising places. This list took only a few minutes to create, but it could go on and on with further exploration.

As things progress, we’ll be adding a LOT more features to share a variety of approaches to generating good ideas, as described in last week’s 5-minute video, so stay tuned…






pointy hat
dunce cap
witch’s hat
pointing finger
pointing out
pointing at you/me/…
what’s the point
sharp (smart)
kitchen knife
medieval weapons
vampire teeth
wolf teeth
shark teek/fin
crescent moon
hammer and nail
staple gun
railroad stake
king/queen crown, etc.

 Want even more inspiration? Check out the entries that have been submitted so far for this week’s topic.

Have fun!

Posted by Thomas James on 08/10/15 under call for entries,classes,idea generation,IF community
No Comments

A Personal Message On the Future of Illustration Friday

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 3.05.54 PM

Posted by Thomas James on 08/07/15 under IF news update
Comments Off on A Personal Message On the Future of Illustration Friday

Too many ideas and not sure which to pick? Here’s help.

Amy Ng blogs at Pikaland, a popular stop for illustration lovers, students and artists who are looking for answers on how to find a balance between art, creativity and commerce.



It’s a very well known affliction that plague creatives – and I’m using the term creatives very loosely. It could very well mean entrepreneurs, who may have a pool of ideas to tap from for their next venture; or a designer who has a big sketchbook ready to go for their next collection or season. For an artist, it could come to mean experimenting with the use of various medias to come up with a series or even to redefine their personal style as they find ways to mix things up.

Creative people have ideas. Some have too many. Which one should I pick? Which one should come first? What if this doesn’t turn out well? What if I lose time on something that doesn’t work?

It’s an easy breeding ground for doubt and confusion, which can ultimately lead to paralysis.

I have lots of ideas. Some of them didn’t quite turn out, and some of them did. A few years ago I began to keep a sketchbook that listed out my ideas; I filled them with pages of pages of thoughts, comments, figures, sketches and with it, possibilities (although these days, instead of just using a sketchbook, I found that Trello is a great app in helping me sort out my ideas.) And it wasn’t just a continuation of one idea either – every other week I would come up with a new idea; or I would stew on a new idea and blend it with a previous one.

But no matter how many entries there were in my book, I was resigned to the fact that I only had two hands. I know myself enough to know that if I were to dabble in a few ideas, they would never turn out well enough for me to know if it was worth pursuing. So what I did was to just focus on one idea at a time – I owed the idea that much at least. To bring an idea to fruition takes time, dedication and effort; things that I knew would be scattered if I tried to juggle too many at a go.

It was still an experimentation none the less. But I choose to focus on one at a time so that I can properly document and figure things out as I move along. Is it working? Is it not? Can I do better? Do I want to keep doing this? Will I make a difference? I question the idea (and myself) constantly at every step of the way – much like a scientist who keeps a record of an experiment to see its progress.

And once you’re committed to the idea, you need to give it space and room to grow, to breathe, and a chance for it to live out its life. You’ll have to nurture it, see if it can stand on its own two feet, or if you’re lucky – to see if it could fly. But first, you’ll need to make a decision: which idea goes first?

The idea is simple: Pick one. Just one. And start from there.

A good friend reminded me once when I told her that I had trouble picking one idea, and she said this little gem of an advice that I carry to this day: “It’s good to have lots of ideas – this way we can execute them one by one until we’re 60. We’re all set for life!”

I’d like to think that it’s a great way to look forward to the future. Not everything needs to be done right here and now. It’s always prudent to save some of the good stuff for later. Don’t binge on everything at once. Take a bite, savour it, feel it, taste it and really enjoy the experience. Let it change and excite you. Life isn’t a buffet table for you to gorge on (although it can sometimes feel that way!) 

Here’s a couple of tips and reminders for those who are still indecisive:

Don’t let fear stop you from experimenting. And fear takes on many forms: fear of failure, fear of missed opportunities, or even plain old irrational fear.

Experiments always leads you somewhere, and often times it leads you down a path you might have considered before. Enjoy it and soak up the process!

Ideas on paper are just worth the paper they’re scribbled on – especially if you don’t start.

If you can juggle a few experiments at a go, by all means feel free to do so! Just be aware that if you drop the ball on one, the rest might follow – and you might not know what the outcome would be if you had focused on just one.

Consider that perhaps life is one big experiment.

That we’re all here just trying to figure out what works for us on many levels. Personally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and artistically. Finding a way to be able to fuse them altogether somehow, or balance them so that everything is in sync – if only for a moment. 

May we never stop trying.

May we never, ever stop experimenting.

[Illustration: Tyler Spangler]


Posted by Amy Ng on 08/07/15 under artists,business,freelance
Comments Off on Too many ideas and not sure which to pick? Here’s help.

Pick of the Week for GROW and This Week’s Topic


Happy Illustration Friday, fellow creators!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of GROW. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:


Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!


Posted by Thomas James on 08/07/15 under artists,children's art,IF Kids,illustration,weekly topics
Comments Off on Pick of the Week for GROW and This Week’s Topic

GROW by Hannah Weeks


Submitted by Hannah Weeks for the Illustration Friday topic GROW.

Posted by Thomas James on 08/06/15 under artists,illustration,weekly topics
Comments Off on GROW by Hannah Weeks


Submit your illustration:

Select an image on your computer:
Choose File no file selected