1 September 2013

Investing in my career!

So a little while back I decided I wanted to illustrate my children's books... and illustrate other people's children's books.  I then proceeded in sending out my online portfolio with a nice introduction to what I was presenting.  I did get responses... saying my work was good but nothing in the form of contracts... then I went online and discovered a whole other world of illustrators out there!  They all wanted the same thing I did... to illustrate for themselves and for others.
In need of advice, I then travelled around youtube to find out about professional illustrators.  A couple caught my eye and I went and learnt about them and their style.  I then invested in some online courses or books they were selling.  The ones I got were Will Terry's photoshop 1 and 2... after that I contacted Will on Facebook which he accepted.  That's when I found out that he was giving online classes for twenty five people... a small investment to make... $300.00... for a full class with critiques...
I decided to think about it... bad move.  It was filled up before you know it... I wasn't fast enough and I couldn,t get in.  Big disappointment.
There was however the lite version which was exactly the same except you got the taped version the next day and could not participate.  That one I jumped on without thinking.  Wouldn't make the same mistake twice. This class was $150.00.  What a gold mine.
I know what I did wrong by sending out my stuff the way I did.
my website was hmmm not my best stuff and I still have to do alot before putting up things.
I quickly saw what I had to do.
I had no real online presence.
My drawings were good technically... but for me I needed much more
I learnt a lot about how to illustrate children's books.
By doing the exercises, even though I didn't hand them in and watching the other's drawings but most importantly the positive critiques they got from Will and Jake made me re-evaluate all my stuff...
and did I ever have many a -aha moments.

Needless to say alot of lite students were disappointed in not being in the full on course, so Will decided due to demand to give  a Critiques class - for $150.00!  Needless to say, I was waiting for the exact date and I think I was the first to sign up.  So excited...
I am expecting to be another gold mine.  I can't wait for him to critique my drawing.

The assignment :

When I first got the assignment (and I must tell you having never illustrated a children's book, well not considering the Bud and Ally's Christmas and Halloween coloring activity book) I threw my head back with loud boistrous laughter... I thought this guy is nuts!  OMG! How in the heck will I draw that...
My better half's response :  Well if you want to be in the big leagues...

Here was what the assignement was :

Assignment #1

Setting: Exterior of tree-home, woods, evening

Characters: Woodland creatures - squirrels, birds, mice, chipmunks, raccoons, badger, hedgehog, owl, lizard, skunk, etc. You may choose to clothe them or leave them partially or unclothed.

Theme: Complex human emotions

Please illustrate the following:

Mrs. Pepper was so excited to see all of her friends arriving to her dinner party! They brought garden delights and roasted entrees, cider and milk and sweet smelling treats by the dozen. Everyone was happy and excited to enjoy a hearty meal except for Simon, who never received his invitation.

Notes: This piece can seem overwhelming at first. Lots of potential characters, objects, emotions, etc. Don’t get too caught up in trying to illustrate every aspect of this scene - a sure way to fail. Start with the most important part and work your way out. Make lists of things you think are important to show and then narrow down to three main elements. For instance: I would probably illustrate Simon, the tree-home, and a few people walking towards the home. Indications of more animals inside can be done in a subtle way. you may also want to show Mrs. Pepper greeting her guests. Think of the best possible perspective to highlight the important things. You may want to start with a few environment studies to get ideas. Character sketches are also a good idea before diving into the thumbnails but remember - no drawing in the thumbnail stage!

You know it's one thing to draw a nice little picture - static of a nice litte girl like Mattie.  Yup.... then you get something like this assignment and I asked myself..what have I gotten myself into.  So after looking at reference material and sketching and drawing... I never took so long to do a drawing in my life! I came up with this... This is what I think Will calls a black and white comp.  I did a couple of thumbnails before hand which landed in a basket behind me.  But this one stood the test of well acceptable comp, in my view.

I am assuming he will trample this baby and tell me all the things to make this a better image... Already I see the tangents...that he talked about in his class... Ah well.  Will resend without tangents.  Then will post the corrections that will need to be done so you can see the before and after.

So here is my first assignment : 


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