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.
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.)