Inktober Day 1: harpy with a vulture body base.

Nostalgia Illustration: Eric Winters’ Cinderella

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Winters was so good at fabric that it makes me a little bit ill.

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This book was published by Ladybird in 1964, and the style of the times is all over the clothes, faces, and poses of Winters work. He illustrated a lot of other great books as well, but this one was a particular favorite of mine.

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This was always my favorite of the illustrations from this book. While I loved all the dresses, the image of Cinderella hurrying along, alone at night really enthralled me. She was independent to me here, and alone in the peace and quiet of night. No matter what the narrative of the story was, the Cinderella here as strong and full of purpose!

Figure Drawing
I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again. Figure Drawing
I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again. Figure Drawing
I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again. Figure Drawing
I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again. Figure Drawing
I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again.

Figure Drawing

I really appreciated it when drawing models push it a little bit. This guy held a lot of poses that made a lot of narrative sense - eating food, calling someone, mid gesture turns. He took on a lot of positions that would have been hard on other models. It’s not easy to stand on one foot for even one minute. Some of his poses were so good, I would have loved more than one or two minutes with them! I’ve never seen the same model twice at an Asifa drawing event, but I hope I’ll run into this guy again.

Nostalgia Illustration: She-Ra

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My parents always preferred exposing me to reading materials over viewing materials (until inexplicably, the Witches of Eastwick) so my introduction to a lot of the franchises of the 80’s came from second-hand bookstores and comic books. 

I loved this book (She-Ra and the Golden Goose) in the first grade. I loved all the different characters and their outfit, and I LOVED the artwork. I guzzled up all the pretty pictures without being able to say why I thought they were so appealing. It’s clear now though — just LOOK at this spread!

Not only is that background delicate and beautifully executed, the figures are fantastic. They have believable gesture. Clawdeen (the purple lion, inexplicably male despite the female name) is on model, and has a lot of weight. The character are laid out well, and when you look at Entrapta (on the far left) you really get a sense of the weight of those ropes of hair. 

Great stuff! Six year old me had excellent taste in art.

Look at Entrapta’s gesture on the right page!

Drawing Workout: Harpies

Figure Drawing

I’ve taken to warming up in figure drawing sessions with a small watercolor kit, so I can get the hand of the form of the model before diving in. Watercolors first, then micron drawings!

Advice for Aspiring Artists

Because I worked on-site for Archie, and edited some of their publications, I am regularly approached by artists for advice on how to improve their chances of getting work from comic book companies. I’m happy to respond to anyone who wants to show me a portfolio for review, or give anyone advice if they want to reach out to me privately. At the same time, there are a few basics that it doesn’t hurt to be aware of. 

I hope this is helpful! Work hard, and go the distance. I’m rooting for you!

Your email address

Your email is part of your brand. It doesn’t have to be darren@darrensartisamazing.com, but it should have your name in it. It’s better to have Darren.Artwork@yahoo.com than bdfaftrp89@ anything. Best case scenario, if an Editor you sent your work to six months ago suddenly finds the perfect project for your artistic style, it’s much easier for him to find your email if all he remembers is your name. Some Editors get multiple hundreds of emails a day!

It should also go without saying that your email address shouldn’t be darrenshotnudes@gmail (even if you specialize in nude figure drawing.) This goes extra for women. Please, please, please, for the sake of us all, don’t initiate professional contact from your hotbae69@hotmail account. 

Research

This one is probably the most time-consuming of all the tips I have. If you’re sending out a lot of letters of inquiry, it can be really tempting to cut and paste letter content. But it order to make a persuasive argument as to why YOU are the artist that should be hired by any particular company, you should be able to show with confidence that you know something about the company you’re applying for. This goes double for your portfolio: If you’re applying to a comic book company, make sure your drawings of the characters they own are the first things they see.

Portfolio

You have to have one.

Say an artist named Amanda reaches out to every comic book company she an think of. She’s worked in children’s book illustration, and wants to work with more sequential narrative. She loves comic books, and outlines this all in a perfectly drafted email, and sends it to all the Hiring Managers she can think of. But Amanda doesn’t send her website in the content of any of these emails — it’s not even in her email signature. She’s illustrated over fifty books, but no one she’s reached out to has any proof of this. They can’t even see what her art style is.

In an ideal world, Amanda has amandasillustrations.com, which shows all of her published work as well as examples of the kind of work she’d rather be doing. If Amanda, who has only worked in book illustration, has at least five samples of well executed comic book pages on her portfolio page that showing her diverse range of abilities, and and are easy for recruiters to find, she’s can at least be evaluated as a potential contributor to any comic book company.

If Amanda has amandasillustrations.tumblr, or a behance site, that might be enough for some people. Companies can vary on what they think is acceptable format. I would avoid using DA or Sheezy as a professional portfolio, but I don’t think everyone would agree with me. Some people prefer to critique artwork sent to them as a Facebook album! I would advise on professionally formatting your work whenever possible, but at the end of the day the quality of Amanda’s portfolio pieces will be more important than whether she submits them via amandaillustrations.com or amandasillustrations.deviantart.com.

Just so long as it’s not amandashardcoredrawingsofyourcomicbookcharacters.deviantart.com. 

Spelling and Grammar

Check it. I usually write my first draft of anything quickly, leaving a trail of horrendous typos in my wake in an effort to get everything down on paper. I know this about myself, and re-read everything. I use spellcheck tools like the crutch they are to make me appear to be a functioning, literate member of society. Double check your spelling of the names of people and companies. If you write a perfect inquiry letter, or follow up email to someone you had an excellent meeting with at a Con, that person might not give you the time of day if you spell their name wrong.

Try, Try Again

When an Editor, Hiring Manager, or I (in this post) point out something you did wrong, this doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Fixing the problem (a quick change for Amanda or Darren) or revamping your portfolio based on critiques from an Editor (which can take a bit longer) and returning to apply again says something about you. It says that you are someone who can work with feedback, and willing to do the work it takes to produce quality. Editors like to see an artist who’s willing to change their work to adapt to the needs of a product.

It certainly makes you look better than the art diva who writes their editor an eight hundred word treatise on why their request to redraw a leg on page seven makes them want to quit.

Q

miikesobi asked:

Did you take mahoneys portfolio development class? If you did we both did the same concept for the movie stills assignment hahaha. Great work by the way!

A

Thanks do much — I like yours too! How are you keeping up the output now that the class is over?

On the phone doodle dump

From today’s trip to the Bronx Zoo. I drew the Fennec Fox in the dark, and the three-color page on a moving monorail. Fun! From today’s trip to the Bronx Zoo. I drew the Fennec Fox in the dark, and the three-color page on a moving monorail. Fun! From today’s trip to the Bronx Zoo. I drew the Fennec Fox in the dark, and the three-color page on a moving monorail. Fun! From today’s trip to the Bronx Zoo. I drew the Fennec Fox in the dark, and the three-color page on a moving monorail. Fun!

From today’s trip to the Bronx Zoo. I drew the Fennec Fox in the dark, and the three-color page on a moving monorail. Fun!