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piper2
09-01-2004, 01:12 PM
Hi everyone. I haven't made as much use of wetcanvas as I should of, so I'm still relatively new at this. My question is this. All of you guys seem to know what you're talking about, so tell me seriously if I could pursue children's book illustration, based on what my work looks like . . . tell me what I need to work on. I trust you guys!

larsnip
09-01-2004, 01:51 PM
I don't know much about childrens illustration, but here's a link to a guy that does it and his style is similar to yours.
http://www.ronaldchironna.com/
I'm sure if you emailed him he would be happy to talk to you, he's heck of a nice guy.

Dave

piper2
09-01-2004, 01:59 PM
Thanks, larsnip . . . he's really good. I feel humbled! I sent him an e-mail, though, so perhaps he will have some gems of wisdom.

JayD
09-01-2004, 02:15 PM
There is a neat book you should check into as well. It is part of the Barron's ALL ABOUT series called Techniques in Illustration. It covers a general overview of illustrative techniquess for artist including, Pastel, colored pencil, airbrush, pen and ink, collage and so on. There are projects for each style. Hope this helps.

piper2
09-01-2004, 02:24 PM
You guys are both very helpful, but so far everyone's artfully avoided telling me if I'm any good or not. I do have a bunch of works on illustration, but they all advise having an outside party consider your work before you submit it to publishers. My family and friends are definitely biased, so I can't rely on what they say!

Please, be brutally honest!

JayD
09-01-2004, 02:43 PM
When you are talking about illustration you are not just talking about artistic technique but about artistic style and that is very dependent upon what the editor of the book is looking for. If you want to be an illustrator then you should really familiarize yourself with a variety of techniques. Here you are combining pen and CP(?). Its a good style but it adds stiffness to your characters--that being said--there is nothing wrong with that because it works. Generally, the illustrator and the editor will work together and sometime the editor will want the artist to provide several mock ups that it can be clear as to what direction the final product should take.

Your drawing is good--it is a bit stiff but we're talking about human figures here and I am the last one to criticize human form because I am not exceptional with it myself--so I will say to you--make an investigation of this area of art and you will surprised just how well your particular style fits in--but diversify and experiment. CP is one of the excellent choices for illustration. :)

Seian
09-01-2004, 02:44 PM
I don't have any links on hand, but I have seen some children's book illustrations done with a somewhat similar style of mixing line with pencil or watercolor.

It seems you need to apply the colored pencil with more patience (and layers) and practice more using inks. I think you've got a style there, but the inking seems a bit stiff in spots. I know when I try to practice inking, it can look cramped very easily, if I'm not relaxed. :wink2: You might also try using quill or brush instead of marker, if you want to try and get some variety to your lines.

As a whole though, you've got something going there, and I'd make sure to hold on to your style while you learn more technique. :)

Hope this helps.

piper2
09-01-2004, 03:16 PM
CP is actually sort of new to me. I've painted and used graphite a lot more, but the idea of having a vaguely stained glass looking style for CP (heavy inking, as Seien pointed out) kind of appealed to me, though perhaps exaggerating it more might be more effective? It would be nice to get a medieval feel to my work, though I'm not certain how to go about it.

The reason why I've moved away from graphite and painting for possible children's illustration is because I have a hard time doing anything but realistic things in those mediums, as you can see below. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd rather not look realistic with my CP illustrations. But I would like to look competent.

arlene
09-01-2004, 03:25 PM
I think you'd get better answers in the illustration forum where there are professionals. I personally think you'd be great at it.

I'm going to move this to the illustration forum...but please share your drawings with us in cp too.

larsnip
09-01-2004, 03:35 PM
You guys are both very helpful, but so far everyone's artfully avoided telling me if I'm any good or not.
Please, be brutally honest!

Like I said, I am not qualified to comment. Illustration is a whole different standard that I'm not familiar with.
I will say, to my eyes your work isn't that far off from Ron's. Alittle less refined and acomplished. But in that direction. Thats why I was reminded of him

Dave

piper2
09-01-2004, 03:41 PM
Thanks much to everyone who commented. I am spurred to greater heights. :)

I checked out the posted work of everyone who responded and I can see that I am in very, very good company.

Thanks, all!

Seian
09-01-2004, 03:50 PM
CP is actually sort of new to me. I've painted and used graphite a lot more, but the idea of having a vaguely stained glass looking style for CP (heavy inking, as Seien pointed out) kind of appealed to me, though perhaps exaggerating it more might be more effective? It would be nice to get a medieval feel to my work, though I'm not certain how to go about it.

Have a look at the latest printings of the Brother Cadfael mysteries. I think it may be what you're looking for.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0446405337/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-2925627-4136158#reader-link

Axl
09-01-2004, 03:50 PM
so tell me seriously if I could pursue children's book illustration, based on what my work looks like . . .

I say... Why not?


You work is good. You seam to have a lot of confidence in your drawing abilities. So I don't think its a question of whether or not your good enough to do it.

I think its more of a question of how hard your willing to work for it, make yourself stand out from the competition, how much you want it, and how your going to go about making your dreams become a reality.

I think all the skill is there. Now you just gotta make it happen.

piper2
09-01-2004, 03:56 PM
Seien, I love that book cover. I think perhaps I may try making my lines heavier and my colors more luminescent.

AFM159
09-01-2004, 05:53 PM
I think you'd get better answers in the illustration forum where there are professionals. I personally think you'd be great at it.

I'm going to move this to the illustration forum...but please share your drawings with us in cp too.


Thanks, we'll try and live up to it! :eek: :D

Seriously. Nice work! I like the style your working towards, though I think it needs some more development. Really try to play up the "stained glass" look that you mentioned. And refine your color application. It needs to look confident, and right now the two pieces that you have shown us look tentative to me. You can get away with a lot as long as it looks confident.

Style is an important part of any Illustrators repetoire, buyers do tend to pick illustrators based on style rather than content because each project may be different. The important thing for an individual illustrator is to maintain a consistent style across a body of work so that buyers can be sure about what they are getting.

So, if I were a buyer, looking at the 4 pieces you have posted to this thread I would be scratching my head right now wondering why I was looking at work from two different artists. The work is good and you have some skill but if you plan to approach any buyers you'll need to focus and present a consistent style.

Now having said all that, there are times where buyers want versatility and the ability to do many different styles in an artist. I just don't think thats usually the case for childrens book illustrators. Often times in the childrens book industry the Illustrator is as important as and sometimes more important than the writer, so many bookstores will shelve the book based on the illustrator and the writer.

As for taking it to the next level and actually approaching buyers the process is similar and different for each, so you'll have to do some research. Get these two books to start:

Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market: 2004
and
Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines 2004 edition

Both will help tremendously. And both, I believe, have chapters devoted to Childrens Books.

Next: stay and visit with us often. :D We love seeing the work! And there are several people here who can help, and several interested in Childrens Book Illustration.

piper2
09-01-2004, 07:48 PM
Dave,

I know that you're right on on a bunch of things, including style. The two non-colored pencil works are old works back when I was just trying to perfect my technique. The works at the top of the post are part of a style that I'd like to perfect and make my own.

I'm going to hit the books, or at least the pen and paper, again, and see if I can't create some really good, solid works that would define my style more clearly and confidently.

When I first set up this post, I had no idea that I would get such an overwhelming response. You guys are great! I'm not feeling nearly so much like I wasted my college years when I didn't get an art degree. Maybe I can actually eventually make a career of my passion. Thanks so much for inspiring me . . .

designbyjen
09-01-2004, 11:34 PM
hi & welcome!
you draw well...compositions of the 2 pieces & color etc. were fine. ya, some stiffness but if you want some stained glass feel--certainly appropriate. what stands out to me is the technique as the weakest link. liney...almost blotchy skintones on the youth hurt the piece. i concur w/ a previous poster about exploring mediums to the max. perhaps mixing more mediums is an answer to achieve that 'polish' that is needed. even if it means doing it half on the 'drawing board' & finishing it in a design program on the computer. you have to really have an unconventional & explorative attitude to do anything you can to make what you say you want to do, work.
this is all IMHO...you can do this...if you work hard learning the business & refining & polishing.
we're happy to see the process...so do continue to share :wink2:
~~~jen

TedDawson
09-02-2004, 01:34 PM
One thing that publishers want to see, and that can be an integral part of a portfolio, is page sets... A series of illustrations that would be part of the same story or article. This shows them that you can represent subjects in different settings and emotions.

Something that quite a few illustrators do is take their favorite story or fable and illustrate it. This can make a great portfolio piece and you know you're working with proven material.

Digressing a bit, but that reminds me of the monthly display at our library recently. It had classic children's stories with illustrations done by contemporary artists whom I never would have pictured in that capacity. Um... like The Seven Voyages of Sinbad by Quintin Blake... Alice in Wonderland by Helen Oxenbury.

Anyways, this is probably one of the things that makes or breaks it for picture book illustrators. It's quite a challenge to show continuity of style, a range of emotions and maintain character likenesses throughout 28 or so pages of a book.

When submitting for a book, generally publishers will want to see a dummy with pencil roughs of the story, along with three or four completed illustrations from it. For magazine publishers, page sets showing two to four pages exhibiting a knowledge of layout and flow of the pages, continue of style and range of expression of the subjects.

piper2
09-03-2004, 09:03 AM
Something that quite a few illustrators do is take their favorite story or fable and illustrate it. This can make a great portfolio piece and you know you're working with proven material.



I've thought about this a lot. I really like the fairy tale of the dancing princesses and think that it would have a lot of scenes that would make striking images. You know how the story goes: king finds that his daughters wake each morning exhausted and with holes worn in their shoes, and offers the hand of one of them to anyone who can figure out where they go at night. Of course, all of these princes appear to solve the riddle, but the catch is of course that they only have three days to figure out where the princesses go, or else they get their head lopped off. None of the princes can stay awake, and they all become approximately 12" shorter after three days. Finally a poor soldier tries his hand at it, and with the advice of a conveniently wise old woman, doesn't drink the sleeping potion that the princesses slip into his wine. So he sneaks after them as they disappear through a door in their floor, sail on ships to a magical island which has trees with leaves made of diamonds and gold and jewels, and they dance with magical princes all night long until their shoes are worn through. Ta-daa! Happy ending, he marries one of them.

Sounds rich with possibilities, doesn't it?

AFM159
09-03-2004, 11:29 AM
Maybe I can actually eventually make a career of my passion.

You can, if you believe it!


I really like the fairy tale of the dancing princesses and think that it would have a lot of scenes that would make striking images.

Sounds rich with possibilities, doesn't it?


Sounds like a blast, go for it!