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1. Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán

Post by James

Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán

Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán

Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán

Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán

Gerardo Suzán is an illustrator working professionally since 1985. He focuses mainly on books for young people but his work also appears in advertising, posters, magazines and newspapers. He has won several prizes in Mexico, Japan and USA.

Migration has always been a central topic throughout Gerardo Suzán’s artistic career. The work shown above from one of his children’s books speaks of the importance of self-identity and cultural roots.

Suzán’s formal education includes graphic design at the National School of Visual Arts in México, as well as etching and drawing at the Centro dell’ Incisione with Gigi Pedroli and with Giuliana Consilvio in Milan. He attended the Illustration Seminar organized by the UNESCO and the ACCU (Asian Cultural Center for the UNESCO) taught by Dusan Kallay in Moravany, Slovakia.

You can see more of Gerardo’s work on his website.

 

0 Comments on Editorial Submission :: Gerardo Suzán as of 10/21/2014 12:20:00 PM
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2. Discovering ‘Templeman Art’


 

 

After being recommended by a friend, I discovered the beautiful work by Emily Templeman of ‘Templeman Art’. Her main themes are based around nature and animals, often using watercolours to capture the beauty of what she sees.

I contacted the artist asking about her main inspirations, background and where she sees her work heading in the future. I was very pleased to receive such a detailed response, giving me great insight to her thoughts and inspirations:

 

‘Basically, my decision to start pursuing art as a career stemmed from A level art class. Part of the course was to try and get in contact with a local artist and create work inspired by theirs; similar medium, or style, or subject choice. I contacted Mary Ann Rogers and we got talking a lot; she was very helpful and encouraging and was the first person to look at my work and say ‘that would sell’.

I ended up doing a year of Computer Games Art in university but that didn’t stick and I ended up completing only the first year before deciding to leave. It was then that I chose to try and chance my luck at setting up as a self employed artist. Now my style has changed greatly; if you compare the images in the Animal Watercolour and Tribal galleries to the 2014 gallery, but it’s still very much animal focussed, with my attentions now on capturing the flow, movement and colour rather than a realistic.

I’ve also been inspired by the designs and styles you see in art nouveau pieces. Particularly, I use the vines, leaves and flower motifs in my paintings. The Showa Koi, for example, has leaves that make up the black markings and a flower design for the red crown. As for the future, I think just with more practice and experience, I hope to carve out a niche in the art world where my work is recognisable as mine. With my early pieces, I did get a few comments along the lines of ‘That looks like Mary Ann Rogers’ stuff!’, which while a huge compliment, also means I wasn’t really creating anything unique to me. Ultimately, I’d love, love, love to have my own studio and gallery. I don’t expect to become hugely famous or rich, but if I could make enough to earn a decent living, it would be an absolute dream come true.’

 

More work by ‘Templeman Art’ can be found on her website or Facebook page, don’t miss out!

 

Thanks for reading,

Carla

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3. Illustrator & Printmaker Daniel Danger

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I first stumbled across Daniel Danger’s work quite a while ago and it stuck with me ever since. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to meet him, but if/when I do, I have a feeling it’ll be like seeing an old friend.

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Daniel is a Boston-based illustrator, mediamaker and printmaker with a penchant for urban scenery, natural landscapes, vintage guitar effect pedals and creepy memories. His style is marked by confident black strokes and eerie uses of color, often looking to one solid shade to create haunting contrast. You might have seen instances of his work through gig posters for bands such as The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and Flight of the Conchords. He’s also worked with clients like Universal Pictures, Dreamworks, Penguin Books, Polyvinyl Records and ABC Television.

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His aesthetic strongly reminds me of Tugboat Printshop–the obsessive linework and powerful contrast work beautifully in a screenprinted format. I think art is especially successful when it looks good across a variety of formats (screen, print, phone, etc). He reflects the best and worst of reality, and most interestingly, his works reflect what’s neither here nor there–ghosts of forgotten cities, empty theaters, silent roads. Daniel demonstrates a sincere concern for the elements of life that continue to exist without inhabitation–an awareness that is rarely paralleled.

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I feel an extreme bond to Daniel not only over our shared love of creepy abandoned houses, but also because he’s yet another illustrator-musician hybrid (currently on tour in Europe right now, as a matter of fact). In a lot of ways, I couldn’t imagine him not being a musician–if that makes any sense. These pieces would all go entirely too well with some Neko Case or Laura Veirs songs.

The detail of his works is nearly overwhelming to the point of obscurity–as, sometimes, the most realistic aspects of life are the ones that are the most difficult to understand.

Follow along with Daniel and his breathtaking work:

Twitter

Website

Tumblr

Shop

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4. Creatively managing your time

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We’re all guilty at some point of not managing our time as effectively as we could have done. Whether you’re running late for a university submission, deadline for a client is looming or just finding it hard to keep on top of your to do’s maybe creatively managing your time better is something you could improve. Now you don’t need to make major changes to your routine to manage your time better, simply by bringing just some of the tips I have here into your creative day you’ll be surprised just how well you can meet those deadlines on time stress free.

1 . Seperate your tasks into time chunks whether 30-45 minute chunks followed by a break to refresh your mind ready for the next task.

2. Set an alarm to ring when your time is up this will prompt you to move onto the next task and if unfinished come back to your current one later.

3.Use app’s or timers to track how much time you’ve already spent on your project.

4. Pop on a tv series or film is another way of managing your time if you don’t mind abit of background noise, once the show is over you’re prompted to finish what your doing ( just don’t get to distracted watching it if you’re a adventure time fan it might be best to stick to the gardening channel instead).

5. Use a calendar whether paper based or digital to track how much time you have from the start date to finish for your project. This way you can allocate set days and time to progress with your project.

Image by illustrator Kritsten Vasgaard you can find out more about their work here .

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5. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Jamie McKelvie

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If I was creating a new super-hero team, or relaunching an old super-hero comic book, the person I’d first think of to design/re-design my character’s costumes would be the great British artist Jamie McKelvie! He’s the one behind the excellent new costume designs of Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers, and the wildly popular new version of Ms. Marvel, AKA Kamala Khan. You can see the design sheets posted above. McKelvie has been steadily producing some of the best conceived cover designs/art for many of Marvel Comics’ recent titles, including Ms. Marvel, Nightcrawler, and the recent(much too short-lived) Young Avengers re-launch.

Jamie McKelvie, and his frequent collaborator, Kieron Gillen, have recently launched a new, creator-owned series for Image Comics called The Wicked + The Devine. Their unique new-Mod take on super powered folks is a fresh addition to the usual, over-saturated fare.

You can see more art and follow Jamie McKelvie on his Twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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6. Pick of the Week for Octopus and This Week’s Topic

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Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Skim Milk our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘OCTOPUS’. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

TROUBLE

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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7. Editorial Submission :: Shauna Lynn

Post by Natalie

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Shauna Lynn is a hand lettering artist and illustrator located in Orlando, Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Florida with a concentration in Graphic Design. After graduating, she held several design jobs and now works as a full time freelance illustrator. She has an unhealthy obsession with typography and loves to create side projects based around lettering, such as her Three Word Stories project and positive quotes. She works out of her home studio with her puppy, Teddy.

See more of Shauna’s work on her website.

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8. Just say “yes” and seize creative opportunity

some-opportunities-only-come-once

For many of us just saying “yes” can be a huge obstacle to overcome. The feeling of nervousness and anxiety can well up in the pit of our stomachs , our hand’s become sweaty and minds begin to race with the thought ” Can I actually do this and should I even do this?” when creative opportunity comes our way. In any shape, size or form I realise now that creative opportunity is something to be grasped, having been quite the shy and anxious inky illustrator for years I often said no to things that could have lead somewhere because I was afraid of whether I was good enough , brave enough and strong enough the list goes on.

Many of you may feel the same at any point during your creative journey whether you’re just starting out, given the opportunity to exhibit at a gallery, pursue a design internship, go to university, take a commission and more. Sometimes its a little daunting to say yes but here’s why seizing creative opportunity no matter how scary is good to :

  1. You don’t know where it may lead but it could lead to great things
  2. You don’t know who you might meet but you may meet someone great
  3. You don’t know how you will grow but you’ll build experience along the way
  4. You don’t know until you try

 

Try to think less about why it might not work and more about what you have to gain because this will help put your creative thought in a much more positive mind set to pursue each opportunity 100%. If you’ve been brave enough to seize a creative opportunity how did you deal overcome the fear and just say yes? 

Image by artist  Sean McCabe you can find more of his work here .

 

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9. Alexis Anne Mackenzie

Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie Alexis Anne Mackenzie

 

Alexis Anne Mackenzie is a collage artist, who was born in Michigan and is now based in San-Francisco.  Her work has appeared in many publications including: Zeit Magazin, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The New York Times.  Alexis Anne Mackenzie’s work has been exhibited internationally including shows in L.A and Poland.  I’m personally a big fan of collage artists/ illustrators and I think these images have a really original and quirky feel to them, which are very inspiring.

To find out more visit her Facebook and website.

posted by Jessica Holden

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10. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Bill Sienkiewicz

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I had to post a lot of images for this week’s Comics Illustrator of the Week, because Bill Sienkiewicz has so many amazing pieces of art to share. I only just scraped the surface of his body of work! One of the first comic books I ever read was Dune, the Marvel comics adaptation of the David Lynch film. I didn’t really read it, so much as I absorbed the dynamic art by Sienkiewicz within those pages. It was the first time I’d really seen an example of comic book art crossing over into the “respectable” fine arts realm.

Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced sin-KEV-itch) is best known for his magnum opus, Stray Toasters, and his work on Elektra: Assassin for Marvel. He incorporates a combination of oil painting, acrylics, watercolor, mixed-media, collage and mimeograph into his art, which is very rare in comics. Sienkiewicz has done a lot of work for Hollywood, including The Dark Knight, The Grinch, and The Green Mile just to name a few.

He recently worked on the critically acclaimed Daredevil:End of Days series with friends, and fellow comics legends, Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Alex Maleev, and Klaus Janson. His variant cover for Wytches #1, the highly anticipated new Image series, is truly disturbing, and shows a master artist at the peak of his craft.

Other works of note are Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix, Santa: My Life & Times (An Illustrated Autobiography), and a stint designing multimedia stage productions for Roger Waters’ 2006 Dark Side of the Moon Tour.

Bill Sienkiewicz has recieved numerous awards, and nominations, but one of the biggest honors was a  2004 Eisner Award for DC Comics’ The Sandman: Endless Nights.

You can read more about Bill Sienkiewicz’s illustrious career, and see more examples of his art on his official website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

3 Comments on Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Bill Sienkiewicz, last added: 10/12/2014
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11. 25% Off ’15 Steps to Freelance Illustration’!

 

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I get asked all the time how I built my illustration career from scratch, and how I’ve gotten to work with clients like The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and many others. The most complete and useful answer I could give is all included in 15 Steps to Freelance Illustration, a step-by-step guide and workbook written specifically to give you the best chance of getting started on the right foot. Thousands of artists have already benefitted from this book, and many professors have made it required reading for their students, because it tells you exactly what you need to do to be a successful professional Illustrator, with no unnecessary filler!

We’re currently offering the Illustration Friday community a special 25% discount on this critically-acclaimed resource! But the offer ends this Friday, October 10th! Simply click here for the details.

0 Comments on 25% Off ’15 Steps to Freelance Illustration’! as of 10/8/2014 2:57:00 PM
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12. Create your own inspiration creative mood board

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There’s nothing better to get a new creative project started than by making  your own inspirational mood board.  Creating your own mood board of idea’s and inspiration will help you to build a collection of concept base ideas to build a new art piece from whether a series of illustrations, photographs or painting. It’s not all that hard to do and once you get started creating a mood board can actually be a really enjoyable part of project building,  although if you’ve not made one before here are afew easy tips to help you get started on making your own.

What do I put in a mood board?

A mood board can contain anything from doodles, words, photographs, textures , colour swatches, fabrics and much more based around a chosen theme for your project. So for example a theme maybe “ocean” to which you’d include images of its inhabitants , sea blue colour tones and meaningful words tied to the theme etc.

What do I need to make one ? 

Its really down to personal preference but you can make a mood board easily in anything from the pages in your sketchbook, sticking them to a piece of artboard or a cork board with pins. There’s really no right or wrong way because your mood board is personal, there to give you idea’s and pull together concepts for your project that will help it grow.

Putting a mood board together.

  1. To begin putting your creative mood board together collect a series of images and inspirational materials linked to your chosen theme.
  2. On an a3 blank sketchbook page ( or any page size of your preference but bigger is less limiting to your mood board ideas) begin to add your mood board research to your page.
  3. Stick bits down with patterned washi tape or masking tape to make it more visual and allow you to change things around.
  4. Make it personal and have fun.
  5. Keep your creative mood board  in sight throughout your project to stay visually inspired and consistant to your project theme to prevent getting creatively lost along the way.

Image by  illustrator Katt Frank  you can find out more about their work here .

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13. Pick of the Week for WISH and This Week’s Topic

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Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Lydia Guadagnoli, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘WISH’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

SILENCE

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

0 Comments on Pick of the Week for WISH and This Week’s Topic as of 10/3/2014 12:13:00 PM
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14. Keith Negley: emotive editorial illustration

Post by Heather Ryerson

Keith Negley

Keith Negley

Keith Negley

Keith Negley

Keith Negley

Keith Negley’s moody, evocative editorial illustrations cannot be dismissed with a glance. They instead capture and entrance viewers, provoking pensive contemplation. Negley’s work combines high concept with strong composition and refined color palettes to create sophisticated yet accessible visuals that strengthen the written works they accompany. His illustrations can be found in respected news publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR as well as among the pages of top publishing houses McSweeney’s and Nobrow. He attended The School of Visual Arts in New York and now lives in Washington.

See more of his work in his portfolio or on his blog.

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15. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Jae Lee

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I was introduced to Jae Lee’s artwork when he took over on Marvel’s Namor back in the early 90’s. He was one of the talented young artists that joined Image Comics in the mid 90’s, working on such titles as WildC.A.T.S. Trilogy and Youngblood Strikefile, before launching his creator-owned comic, Hellshock. Jae Lee returned to Marvel in 1998, when he collaborated with writer Paul Jenkins on a new 12 issue Inhumans series. His work on the Inhumans ushered in a new level of depth, and maturity to his work that would only grow, and grow into the next decade.

Other notable works are Stephen King’s Dark Tower comics adaptation, Fantastic Four 1234 with Grant Morrison, and The Sentry for Marvel. In addition to that, Jae Lee has become a highly sought after, and prolific cover artist; notably his recent string of covers for DC’s  New 52 Batman/Superman series, and the Jason Aaron Wolverine relaunch a few years ago.

Jae Lee was born in South Korea in 1972 and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1977. He started his professional comics career at the age of 19, drawing short stories for Marvel’s anthology Marvel Comics Presents.

Jae Lee won an Eisner in 1999 for his work on the Inhumans, and was nominated for Best Cover Artist in 2002.

You can catch up with the latest news, and see more of Jae Lee’s art on this website.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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16. Artist: Katie Hampson

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After attending the Buy Art Fair 2014 in Manchester at the weekend, I saw the lovely work of Katie Hampson, a fine artist and illustrator from the North West of England. Hampson’s work initially struck me with their looseness and vibrant colour depicting several animals. At the art fair, the artist was undertaking a live art demonstration where she proved her skills and talent. I was able to briefly meet Hampson and ask about her main inspirations which she responded by telling me her main influences are drawn from animals, music and from her own imagination.

K Hampson Live

Katie Hampson Live

If you want to view more of Katie Hampson’s work see her website or Facebook page.

 

Thanks for reading,

Carla

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17. Editorial Submission :: Barry Lee

Post by Natalie

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Barry Lee is an Atlanta based freelance illustrator who has a love for bright colors, weird characters and pop culture. He feels humor can be universal through illustration and gains inspiration everywhere from early eighties funk records to the Muppets. Follow him on Instagram @barrydraws for daily sketches.
You can see more of Barry’s work on his website.

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18. How to : Deal with creative disappointment

 

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There are times when despite our efforts we all feel disappointment in some of the things we may do creatively. Like for example when you didn’t quite get that illustration sketch right only to screw it up into a ball of scribbly disappointment landing on the floor behind you or when something you put alot of heart into didn’t turn out exactly how you’d wanted.

With the creatively good we get the bad , I mean if everything in each talented creatives journey went right we’d all be rolling into success feeling very happy with ourselves prancing in a field of flowers with sketchbook in hand ( you get the jist).  Even after a blow of disappointment though its what you do after that is important to both regaining your own self confidence within your creative self to overcome disappointment and continue to create something amazing.

Here’s 3 ways to overcome any creative disappointment :

1.  Sketch it out talk it out  – Disappointment and negativity can really make our creative brain foggy meaning that it’s often hard for us to see outside of the fact we didn’t do to well. I find that when I’m feeling this way talking it out with a friend or taking time to sketch out what I did and why it didn’t work, helps me to better understand where I went wrong and feedback from a friend can help me learn how I could improve.

2. Look at the bigger picture - Even though that one thing may not have worked out, looking at the bigger picture can help you see things more clearly and in perspective. Look at how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown and improved at your creative practice whatever it maybe , you may have not succeeded this time but you can use your experience to make the ” bigger picture” better in the future.

3. See an imperfect thing perfectly  – Lastly understand that nothing is perfect , being your worst critic isn’t going to help you become the aspiring creative you want to be so be kind to yourself and know that no matter what nobodies perfect. Every success creative whether illustrator or painter has had their own falls, but if you’re able to rise from the fall you’ll become all the more stronger a person.

Image by artist Aled Lewis  you can find out more about their work here .

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19. Pick of the Week for MONEY and This Week’s Topic

money

Happy Friday!

After a rough week or so where Illustration Friday was partially broken, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re back and fully operational. Thanks very much for all the positive feedback and support as we worked to keep Illustration Friday alive. You are all awesome.

We’re also excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Cannady Chapman, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘MONEY’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

NOVELTY

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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20. Claire Scully

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Claire Scully

Claire Scully is a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Her clients include; New York Times, Random House and The Guardian to name a few. She has also collaborated with furniture maker D.H Painter and illustrator Susie Wright. Her inspiration comes from 50’s 60’s and 70’s architecture and the natural world. Her work often looks at the relationship between the urban enviroment and nature. I think the amount of detail which goes into these illustrations is very stunning and exciting to look at.

You can see more of Claire Scully’s work at her website and Facebook page

Posted by Jessica Holden

 

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21. 5 reasons why you’re creative amazing

 

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Everyone’s creative story is different because we are all unique and completely individual in our own way, meaning nobody’s creative journey is exactly the same. Some of us may know early on that we are destined to be creative and set to pursue our career through college and university, where as there are other people who discover their creative meaning deep down later on like a seed that needed time to grow. Over the years I’ve come across  some very talented people, many whom have spent time in art education and some who are purely creatively self taught.

The question that has often come to mind though no doubt for those of you who may have self taught your practice is  “does it matter whether you have an art education background or whether you’re self taught?”  Many people are going to have mixed opinions on this topic and there are sometimes pros and cons to both, but whether you are self taught or have had the opportunity to study in education here’s my two cents on why I still think you’re creatively amazing whichever path you take.

1. You’ve followed your own creative path in a different way and you should be proud of how far you’ve come and excited of where you’re yet to go. 

2. The opportunity for development and learning is endless , there’s no race to the finish in either circumstance so invest in yourself and build on who you are.

3. Don’t think so much that you’ve missed out on opportunities in the past,  just look to the future, what you aspire to achieve and have to share.

4. You can draw just as good as the next guy but remeber that like our artwork we’re all works in progress.

5. You’ve got your eye on the end goal and inside have creative idea’s and potential that someone else has yet to imagine. 

Image by Artist Fredrik Rattzen you can find out more about their work here .

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22. Editorial Submission :: Jessica Roux

Post by James

Editorial Submission :: Jessica Roux

Editorial Submission :: Jessica Roux

Editorial Submission :: Jessica Roux

Editorial Submission :: Jessica Roux

Jessica Roux is a Brooklyn based illustrator and designer. She is originally from the woodlands of North Carolina, where she grew up surrounded by an abundance of nature. Using subdued colors and rhythmic shapes, she renders flora and fauna with intricate detail reminiscent of old world beauty.

You can see more of Jessica’s work on her website.

 

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23. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Julia Gfrörer

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Julia Gfrörer studied illustration at Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts before graduating with a double major in printmaking and painting. She was encouraged to get into making comics by her good friend, the late comics historian, publisher & cartoonist ,Dylan Williams. She started off making a few hand made zines like Ariadne auf Naxos, and Stupid Tales of Wolverine, but then found great critical success with her comic Flesh and Bone, published by Sparkplug Books. Tonally, her work is deeply rooted in Victorian gothic horror, and classic Medieval romances. I see a lot of David Lynch rubbing off in her stories, and a little Larry Clark in her raw approach to sex.

Her graphic novel, Black is the Color, was published by Fantagraphics in 2013. Her work has also appeared in The Thickness comics anthology, Arthur Magazine, Study Group Magazine, Black Eye, and The Best American Comics collection.

Julia Gfrörer also writes a regular comics analysis column for the Comics Journal called Symbol Reader. You can follow that here.

You can order Julia Gfrörer’s latest zine, Palm Ash, and get the latest news on her website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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24. Master Spotlight :: Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali drawn by Rama Hughes

Salvador Dali was a Spanish artist and an icon of Surrealism. Surrealism was an art movement known for dreamlike imagery. His most famous work is The Persistence of Memory, a painting of melting clocks.

Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech was born in1904, in Figueres, Spain. The young Dali was intelligent and advanced for his age, but he got angry easily and was punished for that. His father was a lawyer and very strict. His mother though forgave his occasionally odd behavior. At an early age, Salvador was created sophisticated drawings. His parents built him an art studio, organized his first exhibition, and sent Dali to drawing school. He was an oddball a daydreamer. By the time he was fourteen years old though, he earned a public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre.

In school, Dali was influenced by numerous artists and art movements, especially Cubism, Dadaism, and the work of classical painters like Raphael and Velasquez. After school, he travelled to Paris where he met influential painters like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Rene Magritte who introduced Dali to Surrealism. His first experiments were oil paintings, small collages of dream images. His classical, detailed technique created a fantastical realism in these dreamscapes. Dali’s biggest contribution to Surrealism was a mental exercise (that he called the “paranoiac-critical method”) that helped him access his subconscious to enhance his creativity. It became a way of life for Dali, and he became a living symbol of the Surrealist movement. His most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, is also one of the best-known pieces of Surrealist art. Also called Soft Watches, the painting shows pocket watched melting in a landscape. It suggests many ideas including one that time is not rigid and that everything is destructible.

Over time, Dali became infamous for his odd behavior. He grew a famously long mustache, wore capes, and attended parties in strange clothing like wetsuits or women’s clothes. Critics said that his eccentricity overshadowed his art work. His peers organized a “trial” to expel him from the Surrealist Movement. They claimed that it was because Dali refused to take a stand against Fascism, but Dali was been famously apolitical. It is more likely that the other Surrealists were simple embarrassed by Dali’s weirdness.

During World War II, Dali and his wife lived in the United States. While he was there, the Metropolitan Musem of Art hosted a retrospective of his work. Dali wrote an autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. He moved away from Surrealism to create scientific, historical, and religious paintings. He called this period “Nuclear Mysticism.” Those paintings were famous for their technical brilliance. They incorporated geometry, optical illusions, and holography.

When he moved back to Spain, he purchased the remains of the Municipal Theatre that hosted his first show. He train formed the property into the Teatro-Museo Dali or the Dali Theatre Museum. The museum opened in 1974. It was based on Dali’s designs, and is considered the largest Surrealist structures. Right now, it contains the broadest range of work by the artist from his earliest experiments to artwork that he created in the last years of his life.

In his old age, Dali’s failing health forced him to retire from painting. He died a few years later at the age of 84.
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I saw an exhibit of Dali’s work when I was pretty young, and I was disappointed to see it in person for some reason. The images I’d seen in books were so interesting and weird. The actual paintings were meticulous and more carefully created than I imagined. Now though as an artist and a teacher, I appreciate the skill and patience that went into these amazing flights of imagination.

Salvador Dali Painting

I am in the process of teaching my students about Dali right now. Besides being an incredible inspiration to them creatively, his traditional approach to painting gives me an opportunity to teach fundamental skills. In the past month, I have used his example to teach form, depth, perspective, juxtaposition, composition, and more. They’re also pretty tickled by his sense of humor and incredible quotes.

Portrait of Dali drawn by yours truly, Rama Hughes

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25. Illustrator & Writer Lisa Congdon.

This Art Crush entry has truly been a long time coming. I first came across Lisa Congdon by way of Meighan O’Toole’s former art blog and podcast, My Love For You (which is post-worthy in its own right–it was an enormous source of inspiration for me during my college years). While I definitely gravitated to Lisa’s work on a visual level, it was her personal story that drew me in. Freelance illustration had been her second career. She didn’t start painting or making art until she was 31, and here she was, participating in museum-level shows, working with clients like Chronicle Books, and just being a genuine, successful badass. Lisa is not only someone I look up to artistically–she’s also a prime example of a human being.

Lisa’s art career was secondary, after she accumulated over a decade of experience in the education and nonprofit industries. By pure chance, she stumbled into a painting class and began making art of all kinds from that day forward–fueled by pure joy instead of the desire to succeed quickly. Having always been an avid collector, her random ephemera would find their way into countless collages as well as a series of photos, drawings and paintings that would eventually make up her A Collection A Day project. As she continued to develop her craft and share it with the ever-expanding Internet, people began to catch on. Today, she is an accomplished and prolific working artist, blogger, illustrator, public speaker and writer. Some of her most notable clients to date include The Land of Nod, The Museum of Modern Art, Harper Collins, 826 Valencia and Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

Lisa unabashedly tackles the subjects she is most passionate about, and that fearlessness is expressed effortlessly in the execution of her work. She describes herself as a “visual junkie,” and is deeply inspired by patterns, travel, architecture and vintage packaging, just to name a few. A faithful blogger, Lisa writes about her own process in addition to other artists whom she admires, as well as her life “outside the studio,” which includes swimming, biking, sewing, and traveling. In other words, she’s just making all of us look bad! (I only kid.)

One of the reasons I relate to Lisa’s work is due to the versatility and ever-evolving nature of her aesthetic. Certain characteristics like neon hues and her penchant for all things Scandinavian are mainstays, but she continues to branch out and explore all kinds of mediums (block printing and calligraphy, to name a few). These explorations fuel her work and expand her direction, which is most recently geared towards abstract painting. She’s a wonderful example of why you don’t need to narrow yourself down to one specific style (something I often grapple with).

Lisa is quite a unique artist in that she is not only a creator, but a mentor as well. Breaking into freelance illustration can be a challenging and solitary undertaking, and she continues to give her generous time to those who wish to pursue and learn more about the field through classes, speaking engagements and conferences around the country. I first met Lisa at her first Freelance Illustration class at Makeshift Society back in December 2012, and it was one of my most pivotal learning experiences to date.

Lisa recently released her new book, “Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist,” which is a revolutionary and timely answer to the starving artist stereotype. It covers all areas of the freelance artist’s domain, such as photographing fine art, finding printing services, copyright, and diversifying income. It sits on the shelf above my working desk (I like to call it my “VIP” shelf) as I reference it constantly.

On that same note, I’m very excited to be taking Lisa’s “Become A Working Artist” class through CreativeLive next week! You can follow along with the class virtually by RSVPing here.

To listen to Meighan’s podcast with Lisa, click here. I also highly recommend her feature in The Great Discontent.

Follow along with Lisa below:

Website

Twitter

Blog

Instagram

Purchase Lisa’s books below:

Art, Inc.

Whatever You Are, Be A Good One

A Collection A Day

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