Knight Time Creations Steampunk Cat

Fantastic Customer Feedback

Feedback

I love doing what I do, I’d be mad not to. It’d be a waste of time if my illustrations didn’t make my customers happy though. I love getting good feedback, the “testimonials” page is all about some of the great comments I’ve had from customers over the years. It never ceases to thrill me, the satisfaction of a job well done.

One of my recent clients, the very charming Mark Keating from a company called Shadowcat Systems, has been writing about me on his blog on the company web page. His latest entry actually showcased an illustration that I sent over to him as a freebie Christmas present. I was really touched that he’d made a big thing out of it! Aww.

I think I should definitely put the link to that page up here, partly so I can go “Hurrah!” but also because it’s nice to share links with good people.

http://shadow.cat/news/archive/2012/december/cat-xmas/

Knight Time Creations Steampunk Cat

Steampunk Cat

Hints & Tips For Budding Fashion Illustrators

Advice and Tips

If you’ve got your mind set on becoming a fashion illustrator then you’re going to need a lot of confidence and perseverance because you’re not alone. Fashion illustration is a very, very popular area of illustration with people drawing pretty costumes on everything from exercise books to expensive velum paper. Your work will need to have an edge, it’ll need to stand out as a cut above the rest.

A good way to get started of course, like with any aspect of illustration, is to build up a portfolio of work. In this case, fashion illustration work. Have a look at the latest fashion collections of some of the big designers, Vogue is a good place to check – they seem to know what’s what. http://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/autumn-winter-2012

There’s plenty of great photos of fashion for you to base your work on. Choose a stylish outfit and get to drawing. Now, you’re going to need the right kind of equipment obviously, you don’t want your work to stand out for all the wrong reasons, so invest in some good quality pens and pencils, (http://www.cultpens.com/index.html) paper and colours – acrylics, watercolour, pen and ink – that sort of thing. Sketch the figure of the model first, the basic area of space that he or she fills, where there arms and legs are. Make sure the proportions are correct before you add any clothing at all.

Typically, fashion illustration models are very skinny with small heads, long elongated arms, legs and body and oversized feet. This is because, rightly or wrongly, fashion is usually designed with a very skinny person in mind, and for the illustrations they also want to focus on the footwear (hence the oversized feet).

Once you’ve got the body drafted out, you can start adding the clothes on. Don’t forget the creases and folds in the fabric, that’s important for creating a realistic look. Ideally you’re going to want to be able to tell just by looking at the image what the clothing is made of, is it thick and rough, velvety soft or gossamer thin?

After the clothes are outlined you then need to colour and shade the artwork. The body is usually very plain, either black and white, left as pencil, loosely sketched in fineliner or kept to neutral skin tones. The focus with these pieces is always on the clothes, models are never supposed to be the centre of attention. (Maybe someone needs to tell them that sometime…?)

Eventually if you keep at it, you’ll have a decent portfolio of work in front of you. If you’re really aiming for the best of the best, then say you’ve made ten pieces for your portfolio right? Well, once you finish the tenth one, go back and redo the first one. Put them into a nice portfolio case, here, let me Google that for you: Artist Portfolio Cases In Ascending Order Of Price

I’ve put the search in order of price, low to high. Obviously you don’t want to spend too much money, but be careful of buying something that looks like you still go to high school.

I’ll go into detail about porfolios another day, it’s a big topic. Bottom line is, make it look nice. Once that’s done, do a little research potential employers. Have a look for fashion houses in big cities, model agencies, art galleries and budding fashion designers. The internet is packed with people looking for creative talent, you need to use your imagination, where are people going to need fashion illustrations? If you’ve looked and you’re struggling, try pitching to agencies instead. With any luck you’ll get picked up by one of them and they’ll do all the leg work for you. The Writer’s and Artist’s guide book comes out every year and is full of the contact details of publishers and agencies. You can get the latest copy from here at Amazon if you like the sound of it: The Writer’s And Artist’s Yearbook 2013

Why not post your portfolio online too, places like Deviant Art and Red Bubble are free. Or if you’re a person of independent means, you might fancy buying some space on Directory Of Illustration which gives you a twenty image portfolio for the jaw droppingly astonishing price of $2,695. Is it just me, or is that really expensive? I suppose they are well known and they produce a catalogue of portfolios which important movers and shakers will check in when they’re looking for new talent, but for nearly three thousand dollars, they’re a bit of an investment on your part.

Anyway, that’s the best I can do for you for now. I hope it’s not been a total waste of time, every little helps right? Drop me a line if I can assist further.

15 Advert Listings That You Should Avoid

Advice and Tips

Well, I know it’s been a couple of days since my last posting, but there you go. Sometimes people get busy, even a starving artist like me. Although, speaking of starving, I have actually been making a concerted effort to eat something every single day, I’m a bit compulsive when it comes to sticking with proven successes though and since I discovered about a week ago that I could cook baked potatoes, that is what I have been having each and every night. Sometimes with beans, sometimes with canned spaghetti, sometimes with bacon, sometimes with cheese. Heck, I’m practically Heston Blumenthal over here with all of my culinary wizardry.

In between these feats of kitchen prowess, I have been both working on illustrations for a children’s book and, as per normal, hunting for more work. Always important to try and plan ahead for when the job comes to an end.

After spending as long as I do looking at “illustrator wanted” type adverts, you begin to see patterns emerging. The same turns of phrase here and there. If you’re new to the hunting game, you may just take everything you read at face value, so in the spirit of generosity and bon ami, I’m going to save you some time by translating 15 of the most commonly used idioms I have encountered in my travels.

1)      Quite simple job” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

2)      It shouldn’t take long” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

3)      looking for a budding artist” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

4)      will create great exposure for you” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

5)      perfect for an art student” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

6)      looking for someone who has talent and is looking to break out” means “I’m not planning on paying much money for this”

7)      OPPORTUNITY!” means “You’re going to LOVE not getting paid for this!”

8)      this is a labour of love” means “I’m working for free, so you will be too!”

9)      Looking for inspiring artists” means “I probably don’t know the difference between inspiring and aspiring AND I’m not planning on paying much money for this.”

10)   Let’s make a name for ourselves” means “I want to be a famous writer, anyone want to help me for free?”

11)   Helloooooo” means “I’m whimsically insane! Hahahahahahahahaaaaaa!!”

12)   xoxoxox” means “Lock up your bunnies….”

13)   we have LOTS of long term potential and growth” means “but right now, we can’t afford to pay you.”

14)   We could make something really magical and change our lives.” See number 10.

15)   Make some extra $$$” or “GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE EXTRA CASH!!!” means “Some way, somehow, we are going to rip you off.”

I may do more on another occasion, should the need arise. But right now, I must journey ever onwards through the tangled forests of potential employment, hunting out life giving fruit in amongst the thorns and poison berries…wow…now I’m a cross between Heston Blumenthal and Bear Grylls!

If either of them were also illustrators.

Something to Remember If You’re Feeling Blue

Ponderings

Very tired.

Before I retire for the evening I thought I ought to perhaps blog a little something short and sweet. A picture’s worth a thousand words of course, but I want it to have something to do with art or artistic principles. I’ll make a meme, I decided, that contains the word “perspective” whilst simultaneously conveying an important message. Job done.

Branching Out

Ponderings

Decided to try and broaden myself, do some painting for a while. Usually my work is hand drawn and then computer coloured but the last week or so I’ve been sketching and painting in acrylics. I don’t usually paint, it doesn’t have the lovely bonus of an “undo” button, you’ve got to go with the mistakes you make. So far though, seem to be going alright, no major mishaps and the finished results aren’t half bad. I’m posting them up onto my website and as and when they’re finished and dry, I’ve fallen a little behind actually, I’ve only posted up two out of the the four I’ve done so far.

I’m also working on the illustrations for a fantasy novel that’s in the works, it’s aimed at a twelve to fifteen age range and it’s about magic, adventure, that sort of thing. Lots of illustration opportunities, always fun. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I wasn’t drawing, I think it’s one of those addictions that you never have to feel oblidged to get rid of. Maybe as a new year’s resoloution I should endevour to draw even more than I do now…although that would really be quite hard as at the moment I tend to be doodling away for anywhere up to fourteen hours a day.

I know what I’d really like to happen this year, well, aside of course from surviving the hike in VAT which is really unsettling, and aside from not catching the dreaded flu which is actually sweeping round and causing people to die, and aside from the wish that I always have enough money to pay bills and buy some food…

As long as all those things are covered then what I’d like to happen this year is to really start to make some money doing what I love to do, art. I’d love to sell my art. Either as illustrations or framing on the wall type pieces. Of course I know you can’t just sit on your backside and wait for something good to happen, you have to go out there and make your own luck, I just need to figure out where “there” is and the best way of getting to it…

Hum…