3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Illustrations

I know as an artist it’s extremely hard to break that barrier of stagnation.

There’s a moment of time with your work that always has the same results, no matter how hard you try.  There are even times when you’re working on the greatest illustration you could imagine, and when you finish, it… doesn’t come out like you imagined. It’s frustrating!

 

I know how you feel.

 

That’s why I’m here to give you three simple, actionable ways you can work toward improving your art.
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The Juiciest Brushes In My Studio

One thing that I love about making traditional illustration is not just the surface I’m working on, or the brand of paint I swear by, but it’s the watercolor brushes that I use.

Each brush has it’s own style of mark making,

Each brush has it’s own flair.

The way the handle is held, the way the bristles dance back and forth on the painting, this results in it’s own personality.

It’s time to tell you about my favorite watercolor brushes in my studio: Princeton Neptune.

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The Watercolor Brand I Swear By

When I first started watercolor, I learned from a mentor who works at a local commercial art supply store in my city. I was raised on really great quality watercolor brands, however I could only afford student grade paints.

As I tested out paint after paint, one watercolor brand that stood out to me were the Qor line of watercolors from Golden Paints.

I’ve been painting with these for about two years and I doubt I’ll go for any other brand of watercolor.

If you’ve seen any watercolor illustration from me, then it’s made with Qor.

I love the vibrancy, the clear, deep hues of each paint color. And what I love the most is the sheer mixing power these colors possess. But… how?

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Is Tracing Cheating in Art?

I am a firm believer that using photos and other media for inspiration, posing, and referencing is highly beneficial. Ideas need to come from somewhere. As an artist, I can’t pull poses, anatomy, and environments out of my head, and I definitely can’t pull them out of my ass! I don’t know where this stigma against using references came from, but it needs to stop.

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How Do You Price Art Commissions?

This is a question that many, many artists struggle with. I still struggle with this as well! The only thing I can suggest is, always have your prices be a work in progress.

When I took multiple art commissions in 2010, I started small. Really small. I had things priced extremely cheap. I remember back in the day I had a $2 sketch sale… Those were the days.

One reason was due to inexperience and lack of interest from others. What you’ll often read and what I’ll regurgitate is to check your market. Do you have any peers or people on art communities you frequent that you’re watching who works in a similar style? Research their price sheets. Research their following. Are they able to get away with a “Your Character Here” piece for $300? They probably have the followi- (I’ll rephrase that), the right following to back that up.

If you’re just starting out, it’s okay to begin your prices a little lower. But once that value, the quality of your work, and the demand for your work rises, your prices need to do the same.

Just…don’t drop your prices after charging others your current rates. Your clients will be highly peeved when they find out.

This answer will not give you a definite price, nor will any other answer. You, the artist has to decide your worth, but again that’s where that work-in-progress pricing comes in! This year, I decided to look at my prices and determine is this enough for me? Is what I’m being paid for sufficient for the amount of work I do? I’ll be honest, at the moment, no. I’m not satisfied with my prices. But once I answer these questions, I can then decide to revamp my prices depending on how the demand is progressing. And with every year or so after that, I’ll revisit, and tweak my prices as I see fit.

Next time, we’ll talk about flat vs. hourly rates, and how I charge my clients.

Until next week!

~PK

Networking is Crucial for Illustrators. Here’s Why.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “it’s who you know” in show biz. Well, that applies to the illustration biz as well. Making connections is the best thing you can do for your business and your quality of life. When you make new friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, not only can you bring value to them, but they can do the same for you.

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How to Find an Illustrator to Hire

Are you a writer? An author? A person who forms ideas into words? You might need a creative companion. Someone who forms your literary ideas into something… visual.

You need an artist. But not just any artist. You need someone who is competent, who knows their value, and knows that the possibility of teaming up with you will benefit you and them. You also need an artist who can use your hard-earned money and ensure you seeking out their talent was the best decision you ever made.

You need a hireable artist.

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How to Enjoy the Process of Making Art

“I hate my art”.
“This is ugly”.
“I need to rush to get this done”.

Hold on there, tiger!

Artists on a deadline do have to churn out things in a remarkable amount of time, but when that becomes something that needs be done day in and day out, the joy of creating gets sucked out of you, and your project.

Here’s three words to get your groove back.

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Sharing Value as an Illustrator

When it comes to sharing value, I thought it would be easy to type everything I know about illustration down and share it in a blog post format. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but I never thought leveraging video would be easier.

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How I’m Fighting My Biggest Fear as an Illustrator

As a creative, as much as I hate to say it, I’m a pretty sensitive person. Doing something artistic leaves me vulnerable, heart splayed on my sleeve as others judge me and my work. That can be scary. For others, downright terrifying. But you know what scares me the most?

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