Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SCBWI Conference with Will Terry

I wanted to get this post out last week. Unfortunately, my youngest was sick with the flu. He was miserable for several days, so this post got put on the back burner. But today is a new day! And he is doing very well. And I can finally do this post.
I've always felt inspired by Will Terry. He's dedicated to his craft. He rose from the bottom of his college classes to become one of today's top children's illustrators. And probably the thing that I love best about him is the way he has adapted to new technologies and social media.

He's not the kind of person that sits around and waits for good things to happen to him. He goes out and makes things happen for him.

I was surprised by Will Terry's lesson at Saturday's Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Conference. He taught about design and composition.

Often times when I go to a conference and the speaker starts talking technique, my eyes glaze over, my mind wonders. I tune out. Not because I think I know better. I don't. But because I've heard it dozens perhaps hundreds of times before. Also, I am at a level in my art where I've moved on from a basic understanding of drawing and composition.

But Will's lesson was different for me. He showed us various illustrations, from amateurs to professionals. He showed the difference in the way a professional place objects and compose their pictures compared to an amateur. I noticed that I often times compose my illustrations in a very basic way.

I took one of my latest illustrations and tweaked the composition. Here is the result.
This is what I had before the Conference. Even then I knew I had to make some changes. So, before even listening to Will's talk this is what I did to the image. I wanted this one in my portfolio so, I made some adjustments.

 You can see that I added buildings to the background. I made the robot suit more interesting, and I changed the color to my foreground character.

In Will's presentation he talked about size and the difference between what someone with a lot of experience does with big/medium/large objects in a picture frame. As I listened I realized that this picture that I had just finished for my portfolio was not good enough. I needed to make my foreground character much bigger. I also realized that there needed to be more things in the middle ground.

He also talked about contrast. Again I realized that my foreground character just kind of faded into the buildings. When I stood back from this illustration and squinted my eyes, he just kind of disappeared. 

So, here are the changes I've made thanks to Will. (Thanks a lot Will.)


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SCBWI Conference with Giuseppe Castellano

I'm going to be perfectly frank with all of you reading this blog post. Last weekend at the Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Conference, I got more out of it than probably any conference I've been to.

I love Conferences. I love going to them, and I love planning them. I always learn something whatever conference I go to.

But the things that were taught by Giuseppe Castellano, Will Terry, and Jake Parker exceeded my expectations. I'm going to make a blog post about each one of them and highlight the item or items that stood out most to me. I'll also explain why it had an impact on me.

First off can I just say that Giuseppe is a real down to earth kind of guy? (Thank you for coming to our conference and sharing your insight and wisdom with us.) He's also very straightforward with his critiques, not apologizing for anything he says, but that is what we as artists, what I as an artist need.

Giuseppe talked about getting yourself organized (having an easily navigable website), using social media to have an online presences, and sending out postcards. But then he said that none of that really matters (seems contradictory, right?) More important than any of that stuff is your art work. If your art work isn't good none of that other stuff matters.

There was one thing he said that made my heart rejoice. He talked about going ahead and doing different styles. (Though he hates the term 'styles').

I, along with most people whoever went to art school, heard over and over again that you need pick a style and be consistent with it. And if you did decide to use more than one style, you would need a portfolio for each style and a separate website for each. I also heard that it would be best to have a pseudonym for each style.

All throughout school and into my professional career I have felt that my inclination to try out different styles was a weakness. But it has also been immensely satisfying to try different styles. I figured that eventually I'd settle into one style or another and that I would eventually be content with that. (So far I haven't done either of those things.)

So bellow I'm going to share some of the various styles I've tried. They are kind of all over the place.

So, looking at these, I can understand why art directors and teachers suggested sticking to one style. No one would think they were from the same artist.

Some of these styles I haven't tried in years. And I'm fine with that. I didn't post on here all the kinds I've tried out either. There are some styles that I still want to try out. I think I get the satisfaction just from experimenting.

As I experiment I learn which processes I enjoy the most. I have found myself gravitating toward certain styles. The thing that I have found for me is that I love lines. It is likely that most of the stuff you see from me from here on out will have a lot of lines.

Then again I just might try something new.