Illustration Friday

April 24 - April 30: this week at Valdraws

I finished my value studies for Art Camp week 1, and started on the color studies. Unfortunately, I saved over one of the files with three of my value studies so I can't post them, but the important thing is that I did them.

I decided I'm going to give myself two weeks to finish each week of Art Camp so that I have time to work on other things too. I still want to do Illustration Friday, but I'm going to let myself submit a sketch, rather than trying to do a finished piece, and I'm also going to work on the dummy for my picture book. Here's the rough sketch for IF and my very rough storyboard that I did this week:

Lots of scribbly notes

Lots of scribbly notes

I also filled a few more orders in my Etsy shop, and thought about getting those other items listed, but there just aren't enough hours in the day for all of it, so I'm focusing on my picture book and Art Camp right now.

So, that's it for this week; until next time!


April 17 - April 23: this week at Valdraws

This week I took Giuseppe Castellano's Business of Illustration seminar that he offers through his Illustration Department website. It left me with a lot to think about, mostly "who am I as an illustrator." I think I've been asking myself the wrong questions lately: "how do I get noticed?" and "how do I get work?" when I should be asking "how do I differentiate myself as an illustrator?" I realized that my work, while reasonably proficient, isn't terribly special and doesn't really set me apart in any way.

After the class, I went on a book buying binge (picture books and collections of illustrations by illustrators from the "golden age") and signed up for Noah Bradley's Art Camp 1. I'd been on the fence about Art Camp for a long time, but I decided the structure and focus on fundamentals will be good for me. 

One of the books I bought was The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit. One of the things that Giuseppe talked about was that books and art for children don't have to be cute and happy, and he reminded us that The Tale of Peter Rabbit was not all sweetness and light: in the third paragraph, Peter's mother matter-of-factly reminds the children not to go into Mr. McGregor's garden because their father "had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor." (Accident my foot!) When I reread it, I remembered just how scary it was to me as a child knowing that Peter would end up as DINNER if he was caught.

All of this has led me back to my Butterfly Girl picture book; I had set it aside thinking it was a bit bleak to be a picture book, but I now realize that it's probably the strongest book idea I've had, the one that I feel the most passionate about, and likely my best opportunity to show who I am as an illustrator.

My goal for the coming week is to finish the first week's assignments for Art Camp, as well as work on the storyboard for Butterfly girl. Here are a few of the master studies I've done so far (don't laugh):

Okay, you can laugh.

Okay, you can laugh.

I did a color sketch for Illustration Friday too, but I'm not that into finishing it, so I may or may not end up submitting it like this:

It's messy, but although I enjoyed working out the composition and color, I really have no desire to take it any further.

I shipped a few more Etsy orders this week; this may turn out to be my best month yet. I REALLY need to get my new products listed.

That's this week in a nutshell. See you next week!


April 10 - April 16: this week at Valdraws

This week I watched a couple of Periscopes by Holli Conger. She's kind of a marketing genius, so I'm getting back to following her advice: I added some more connections on Linkedin this week and decided to get back to doing Illustration Friday. 

This week's word is "wood" so naturally, I came up with this:

It's still a work in progress, but I'm pretty happy with the progress I've made since Friday. I decided to try a slightly different approach with this piece; I rewatched the Digital Pencil class on SVS learn and did most of this with hatching with a tiny digital pencil/brush.

Working like this feels very natural to me and I'm working much more quickly than I do when I "paint" with larger brushes. It doesn't make a lot of sense that using a smaller brush would make things go faster, but I think it's because I've done a lot more traditional drawing than traditional painting, so I don't have to think too hard about what to do, my hand just seems to know what needs to be done.

I'll wrap this piece up by Tuesday and post the final for Illustration Friday, and then get back to finishing up my second monster slippers piece.

I also discovered that my zodiac fabric is being used for these cute project bags for sale on the Jimmy Beans Wool site.

Click the image to see the bag at Jimmy Beans Wool

Click the image to see the bag at Jimmy Beans Wool

They're made by Chicken Boots, a local company here in Chico. It's cool to see the fabric in action; I hope they sell well!

That's my week in a nutshell. Until next time!