Post by Chloe
Daniel Arriaga is an illustrator based in the USA whose work often tells a narrative, depicting fun characters. He has worked in various departments at Pixar, and also Disney. He has helped to produce films such as Wall-E, Up!, and Wreck-It-Ralph. Arriaga combines digital art with a subtle painterly style to bring his work to life, and his clever colour palettes create a nice ambiance in all his work.
If you’d like to see more illustrations by Daniel Arriaga, please visit his portfolio.
Posted by Chloe Baldwin on 11/03/15 under artists
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Throughout your Illustration career, it is likely that you will be contracted by clients who have never worked with a creative professional before. Therefore it is important to be able to shed some light on the creative process. In fact, even when working with those who know how to work with an Illustrator, it is a valuable practice to educate them about your own personal process. As stated in the introduction, it always helps when everyone knows what is expected of them, as well as how the project might unfold.
How Do You Describe Your Creative Process?
A great way to do this right off the bat is at the point of your initial contact, which is often through your portfolio website. For more about this, read my article on the importance of including a Process page on your site.
In addition to this, I find value in outlining my approach when I first speak with them on the phone or via email. This lays the groundwork for the project and helps to instill confidence in the clients who are less familiar with how to proceed. Naturally, your personal style will dictate the way you tackle a given project, but in general it helps to explain such things as how you will gather information and produce concept art, as well as how your client might approach the revision process.
As a further measure, I like to reinforce this knowledge at each stage or milestone to make sure everyone stays on the same page.
Explaining Concept Art
In the beginning stages of a project, most Illustrators produce conceptual sketches that far from resemble the finished product, and this can be difficult for some clients to comprehend. After all, they’re paying you for something that doesn’t yet exist, and the quality of concept art is generally inferior to what they will eventually receive.
Therefore, it’s important to explain the way that they should look at the first work that you produce. Try to encourage them to look at the basic ideas that are being represented in the drawings, instead of the level of detail or rendering of form (or lack thereof). You may find yourself holding their hand much more through this stage, but doing your best to make your intentions clear from the start, and reminding them that the quality of work that they hired you for is still just around the corner, will help them to take the leap of faith necessary to see the bigger picture.
When you make the effort to educate your clients about the ways to interpret the initial concept art, you will decrease the amount of frustration that comes from an unsatisfactory response, or a request to improve small details in particular parts of the drawing that aren’t ready for that level of attention.
One way to get this point across might be to show the progressing stages from a previous project. This can help your client to see how your ideas develop over time, eventually surfacing as a compelling work of art.
Paving the Road
I encourage you to consider doing this extra work early on, as it will help your client to understand you and communicate with you about their needs. Anything you do to smooth the road ahead can be seen as an investment in a successful outcome that exceeds the expectations of your clients and makes your job more rewarding along the way.
Posted by Thomas James on 11/02/15 under business
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Since this is Halloween Week, I thought how better to celebrate than exploring the intricately detailed work of Cursed Pirate Girl creator Jeremy Bastian! A graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Bastian spent his years studying the works of the great engraving art masters and old time book illustrators. One of the inspirations for Cursed Pirate Girl was a children’s book called The Ship’s Cat, featuring illustrations by Alan Aldridge. It takes about a week for Jeremy Bastian to draw one page of Cursed Pirate Girl. Each page is meticulously packed with the smallest details; it’s fun to just stare at a page and let your eyes wander. You can read about Jeremy’s art process on this blog post here.
Cursed Pirate Girl follows the title character’s search for her Pirate Captain father on the mythical Omerta Seas, encountering many strange and wondrous creatures along the way. The first 3 issues were published by Olympian Publishing and are now highly sought after collector’s items. Much bigger publisher Archaia/BOOM has taken over on Cursed Pirate Girl and if you’re quick enough, you might still be able to find a copy of Cursed Pirate Girl 2015 Annual(52 pages), which hit stands this month. The plan is to do 2 more yearly specials to complete the 6 part story, but there could be more material set in the Cursed Pirate Girl world after that.
If you want to get the latest news on Jeremy Bastian & Cursed Pirate Girl, fell free to follow him on Twitter here!
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates
Posted by Andy Yates on 10/29/15 under artists,black and white,children's art,comic,design,illustration,Interviews,prints,technique,weekly topics
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Illustration by Mónica Andino
If I told you that there were people who are paying $5 for an illustration, you’d probably balk and hiss at me.
If I told you that there were people who would be willing to do it for $5, you’d fall off your chair, hissing even more and probably spewing some expletives along the way.
But that’s what’s happening right now.
The culture of Fiverr and 99Designs is very real. For those who don’t know what Fiverr is, it’s a website that connects people with others who are willing to help them out, for $5 a pop. 99Designs is a website that offers crowdfunded ideas for logos, etc; gathering a pool of designers to pitch their work for a project. As a designer, you don’t get paid for your efforts unless you were picked by the client.
There are lots of people probably throwing their hands up in the air, poo-poohing with disgust over what’s happening to the creative industry and throwing their pencils and brushes in retaliation. I get it. Everyone’s angry. Everyone’s indignant.
But there’s no reason to be.
No one can stop evolution. It happens slowly and without much fanfare, until it gains enough traction that it now becomes a threat to the previous ecosystem. This is what it is – an evolution of the design industry. And it’s not going to stop or go away.
I do want to point out that my ideas and points differ quite wildly from the masses – but with good reason. So instead of dwelling on the negative, I’d like to offer three viewpoints for opportunity, from where I stand.
MAKE IT YOUR PRACTICE GROUNDS
The Fiverr culture can be extremely hair-pulling. But the ones who do offer their services on the platform are usually creatives who offer their services for cheap to gain some recognition and traction for their work: first timers, new graduates or self-taught artists who wants to show off what they can do. Think of it as a $5 coupon for the first trial – if people liked working with them the first time, they’d most likely work with them again the second time, and it shouldn’t cost them $5 anymore (unless it is, then I’m not sure what their business model is for the long term).
The fact is, it’s a free market out there. Willing buyer, willing seller. Suppose you use the platform as a way to reach and connect with others instead? What can you gain from it? Or perhaps you pit your skills among others in 99Designs. If your work is good, you’ll shine among the rest. I’ve seen works on there – it can swing wildly between mediocre to well done. Like cream, the good ones always rise to the top.
Both of these websites to me, are great practice grounds for those who are looking to spread their name out there. Of course, there is a question that will inevitably arise – what are the quality of clients on there that you’d want to keep (especially since they’re used to paying such a low price?) The answer is this. The good clients – the paying clients – already work with great people. They know the value of a great artist or designer, and they’re willing to pay for the work done.
I recently was brought into a project involving a food-based startup. They wanted to redesign their logo after they had used the 99Designs platform. I frowned. I wasn’t frowning because they had used the platform. But rather, I was underwhelmed at the quality of the submissions that resulted. There were about 50 different logos for them to choose from, and yet none of them fit the company at all. There wasn’t a proper understanding or context from which these designers could build from, and it was glaringly clear that the startup needed help from someone who knew what to do.
Of course, if the clients are happy with their selection – it doesn’t matter. Their choosing to work with platforms such as Fiverr and 99Designs might be a bit of a gamble too. Or perhaps to them it’s not the most pertinent detail that needs ironing out. Or maybe they don’t know where else to turn to. I like to think that I give people the benefit of the doubt enough to not point to them as the sole problem. Willing seller, willing buyer, remember?
DO IT FOR YOURSELF
I know there are a lot of people out there who get really angry about this. The fact that artists are not being paid enough (or at all). And while I do agree with some of the arguments out there, I like to see things from both sides of the coin.
Five years ago when I was just starting out as an illustrator, I didn’t mind doing things for free. I didn’t mind because I had nothing to lose. Future income wasn’t something I held in my hand right now – I had nothing. My biggest worry was what if no one ever saw my work. Or that I didn’t get a chance to prove myself. So I put my hand up when someone asked if I would be willing to do work for a charity organization. Why wouldn’t I? I had time. I didn’t have money. If I stayed where I was – waiting for the right opportunity to come along – the equation would remain the same. What did I have to lose?
Five years on, I still get referrals from that stint. Good, paying ones too.
Maybe I got lucky. Or maybe it was also because I didn’t know whether I was good or not. And so by extending my hand, it was an invitation to get the feedback I needed from my market. If I wasn’t any good at what I did, then I wouldn’t have repeat customers; and it would be a chance for me to learn from my experience and improve. If I was deemed worthy, then I’d start charging for my efforts because I’d know I’m valuable. Remember that your value is almost always in the eye of the beholder.
I’d seriously doubt anyone who said that they have never been in the same position as I did – young, eager, and hungry. The only difference is, is that when I take on a job, no matter how big or small, I do it for myself first. Sure, clients will still get what they want at the end, but so will I. A lot of the whining I hear these days stem from those who feel as though they’re being ripped off, and that they are powerless to dictate the rules. And that’s not true at all.
Don’t play the victim.
START FROM YOUR STRENGTHS
Everyone can draw. The ability to draw doesn’t make you an illustrator. It’s the same with photographers and designers too – everyone with a camera can take pictures, just as much as anyone with Photoshop can design. The beauty lies in the value we are able to provide, which can’t wholly be summarised in our work. It lies in personality, process and story. It lies in the many variables that make up what we do.
Now, we can’t have people dictating that those without qualifications can’t practice or try their hand at a craft. Or even charge for it. That’s bigotry. That’s fear. Fear of being overshadowed by others who are more skilled than you (and perhaps, even cheaper than you). Fear of losing out to the many artists out there who you feel are competing for a slice of a shrinking pie.
Instead of working in fear, how about creating work from a place of strength? Say no to things that won’t allow you to shine. Recommend others who you know are more well suited to a job. Concentrate and seek out clients and briefs that gets you all giddy with excitement. Take on work that you’d be proud to show off in your portfolio. Don’t just do it for the money. If money is what you’re after, get a day job instead.
Accepting that the rules and landscape has changed for illustrators and designers everywhere is the first step to embracing it.
You say that you won’t get into it because it demeans your profession. Fair enough. But think of it this way: If your work doesn’t get seen because you’re holding out for more money, then you lose. Every time you don’t get to practice what you like doing, it’s already costing you opportunities. You’re losing. It’s a paradox.
The question then becomes: how much are you willing to lose before you’re open to the idea of trying something new? Something that might not pay off in the beginning, but pays dividends as you go along – you’ll learn to be quicker, more nimble. You’ll learn how weed out good clients from bad, and to know which projects are worth taking on and those that aren’t worth your time.
You can’t learn all those things twiddling your fingers and sitting on the side bench; watching and waiting as opportunities to sharpen your skills come and go. You’ll need to get in there and roll up your sleeves.
It’s dirty. It’s tough. But it’s necessary.
Just remember that above all else, you’re doing it for yourself first; and that five dollars is a (very) small bonus.
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.
Posted by Amy Ng on 10/28/15 under artists
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Post by Jeanine
Matte Stephens, an illustrator and painter from New England, creates wonderful, whimsical cityscapes and anthropomorphized animal scenes. The influence of Mid-Century artists like Alexander Girard, Charles & Ray Eames, Ben Shahn and Paul Klee are clear in his vintage style. His impressive client list includes Tiffany & CO, American Express and Jonathan Adler, and Chronicle Books.
Posted by Jeanine Henderson on 10/26/15 under artists
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(Illustration by Thomas James)
Are you working on any of your own personal art projects, or just giving all your energy away to your clients?
If you’re like many Illustrators, chances are you’re not making personal work a priority, and your creative self-expression and freedom is being sacrificed for the sake of running your business. This is understandable, because the demands of a career in freelance Illustration or Design require a seemingly endless supply of time and effort, leaving you with little to keep for yourself. The thing is, neglecting to work on your own projects can have a negative impact on your creativity, your inspiration, and even the quality of your work. The good news is that it’s never too late to start, or restart, your own personal projects and tap into the following benefits of creating art for art’s sake.
Freedom of Expression
Pursuit of Creative Vision
Personal and Artistic Growth
Inspired Work for Your Portfolio
Alternative Source of Income
Development of Skills and Techniques
Exploration of New Ideas
Remember the days before you were a “professional artist”? You probably enjoyed all of the benefits listed above, and more. Isn’t that what made you want to create art for a living. The challenge now is to hold on to all of these rewards while working to please your clients and executing the daily tasks of running a freelance career. If you can manage to set aside the time to focus on your own personal Illustration projects, you will be a more inspired, productive, and satisfied artist.
Posted by Thomas James on 10/26/15 under business
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Mia Charro is a spanish illustrator and children’s book author, who is inspired by nature, fairytales and magic. Her illustrations are very whimsical, highlighting her love for the outdoors. When she’s not illustrating she loves nothing more than walking through the woods and writing.
Posted by Jessica Holden on 10/25/15 under artists
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Happy Illustration Friday!
Please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Mark Brown, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of STUFFED. 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:
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!
The story goes that legendary Uncanny X-Men scribe Chris Claremont discovered Malaysian-born artist Sonny Liew at a comics convention and got him his first big break into comics, landing Liew a gig illustrating Iron Man for Marvel. It was a small gig, just one illustration, but it set the stage for Liew’s bright future in comics! In 2004, Sonny Liew won the Xeric Award(an award for excellence in self-published comics) in 2004 for Malinky Robot. Later, he would go on to illustrate such titles as Slave Labor & Disney’s Wonderland series, Marvel’s Sense and Sensibility adaptation, and collaborate with artist/inker Mark Hempel on DC/Vertigo’s My Faith in Frankie.
Before studying illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, Liew attended college in Singapore(where he currently resides) and in the UK. His work has been featured in the critically acclaimed anthology Flight and he’s served as editor of the Southeast Asian comics anthology Liquid City.
Liew has been a celebrated artist at home, winning Singapore’s Young Artist Award in 2010, but recently he’s found himself in a bit of controversy over his latest book, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. The grant that supported the making of that book was withdrawn by the National Arts Council for containing sensitive topics. You can hear more about this story from the man himself at this book sharing session.
Right now is a great time to become a Sonny Liew fan, because he’s making some of the best comics art of his career on the newly relaunched Doctor Fate series with famed DC writer/editor/former-president Paul Levitz! I see that more people are catching onto this series, now that it’s up to issue 5, so hopefully that will continue to happen and we’ll get a nice, long Doctor Fate run out of Liew!
If you’d like to see more art and learn more about Sonny Liew, check out his blog here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates
Posted by Jeanine
The Month of Fear is a weekly art challenge for the month of October, created by illustrator Kristina Carroll. A companion blog to February’s Month of Love, the idea is to inspire artists to get together, shake things up, push themselves, and create new personal work.
A curated roster of artists have been selected to participate and are challenged to create a new piece each week in response to an assigned theme related the subject of fear. But, the challenge is also open to anyone who feels inspired, by sharing work on Tumblr using the hashtag #monthoffear. The challenges are designed to be open-ended so artists can interpret them in a wide variety of ways.
This is the third year of the Month of Fear, and the work is incredibly impressive! With challenge themes ranging from villians, spooky mirrors, and the dance of death—the images are all frightfully fantastic! A few highlighted pieces here by Reiko Murakami, Sam Flegal, Lindsey Look, and Samuel Araya.
Check out the Month of Fear site for much more!