Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Witches Now and Then

Here is the finished product of my bakery witch. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and will probably use it for a Halloween mailer!

Now to risk embarrassment. Here is my first illustration mailer ever from 7 years ago, Senior year in College. I am displaying it to point out just a few of the things I have learned since then. I still have so much to learn and so much to work on, there is still a long way for me to go, but looking back I am pleased to say that I've improved quite a bit.

By Shawna in 2003

Composition. I have learned much about composition. I had a problem with composition in College. I didn't get it. Rule number one. Don't center everything in the middle of the composition. It's just not interesting. My teachers were trying to tell me this at the time, but I didn't listen. There have been little gems of things others have told me along the way that really caught on, such as: "You need a foreground, middle ground and backgroud." Or, "Use diagonals."

Sometimes less is more. Can you see how I carefully painted every single stone on the ground in a very OCD style? This made it very tedious to paint at times. This painting took a very very long time to finish. I have learned to work a lot faster and that sometimes leaving a few things out and not painting in every single detail actually looks a lot better.

Style. I have learned a lot about stylization and drawing simply from practicing and making an effort to learn. It's funny to think back and remember that my portfolio didn't contain one painting of a child in it when I graduated. Why? Because I didn't know how to stylize children, and I was too afraid to try.

I am slowly learning about color. That not being so bold works a lot better in many situations. I am also starting to learn more about texture and utilize it more. I think texture adds a lot to a painting.

Where have I learned all this from since I'm not in school any more? First of all, about three years ago, I started a critique group of other artist friends. I think we all help each other so much have a fresh view on our art, learn new techniques, and feel enthusiastic about creating more. To all other illustrators, I highly recommend finding your own critique groups out there. I also have learned loads from going to conferences. Other illustrators and art directors have a lot of insights on what is marketable and what is not. What I have learned is that it is important to be humble and let others tell you how you can improve your art.


Samantha Walker said...

I loved how it turned out! I think it will be perfect for a mailer. This is such a great post! I love the growth you've shown since school. You have definitely inspired me to dig out some of my old work and do a similar post. It is amazing how we come out of school feeling like we've learned so much...but there is so much farther to many more things to explore. I too LOVE the illustration group and can attest that it is an awesome to see if I can ever get to our group again. Sigh. BTW...your student painting isn't so bad...I like some of the fun innovations like the spiderweb table cloth. Also...I too am so guilty of over painting...adding too much color, or making things too busy because I'm insecure in feeling that more is better. I'm learning that less is more...but it's hard to know when to stop.

Manelle said...

I love the texture in your finished piece. The old mailer is so fun too see too! Great post.

Bethany and Thomas said...

This post was enlightening to me... Since I don't know anything about art I was wondering what was wrong with the old one! I can see how it must be advantageous to not be so OCD (even though it looks great)- it definitely keeps the focus on the point of the picture and I'm sure let's you get more done. I think you are great.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Isn't it wonderful that we usually improve over time?? It's funny how much our styles change over a couple years. I had issues with being too grayed down. My teachers would always say "Come on, pump some color into it!"- I was always too cautious(Photoshop adjustments did wonders for me! lol)

Julie in the studio said...

Shawna, I just love this post!!!! Makes me wonder what goes in those cakes!!
Thank heavens for improvement!

DillyFae said...

What a wonderful post! I'm so glad to have found your page! As a college student started out in childrens illustrations I find these tips to be golden!
Thanks for sharing!