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Entries in References (3)


Athletic Body Diversity Reference for Artists

Back when I was an art student taking figure drawing classes, I always found the very lean models more difficult to draw than the larger ones. When studying the human form, for me, rounder models were just more interesting to draw.

An old RISD classmate posted a neat link on Facebook: a photoshoot of various Olympic athletes by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein titled “The Athlete”. These photos are a great example that strong, athletic bodies come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, too. I really like how the photographers took athletes from a range of sports and grouped them together with others of vastly different heights and weights. It's a great example of body type diversity and an excellent source of reference material for artists.

Hit the link for the whole shoot. Thanks to Jesse Smolover for the tip!


Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a great holiday! After a harrowing drive through a real Minnesota white-out (accept no imitations!), we made it down to visit my in-laws just in time for some real Midwestern revelry. It was a nice break. So now, a few days and 10 lbs. of fondue later, I’m back to work.

Getting back to work after a vacation can sometimes be pretty hard, so it’s nice to be able to find inspiration to kick-start a long stretch of painting. I love classic children’s tales, especially when found in the form of old or antique books. The typefaces, the smell, and the feel of the aging paper under the fingertips make these books a special sensory experience for me.

Fortunately for me, there are some fabulous antique stores where I live, including a few antiquarian booksellers. My latest find, which my husband lovingly gave to me for Christmas this year, was a set of hardbound children’s books from 1957. The interiors feature some ink drawings that accompanied the first print run in 1923, as well as color illustrations that were added to this edition.

Children's book holiday gifts

It is a marvelous set of 10 books that includes some of my old favorites, like Hans Andersen’s Tales, and others I’ve not read before, such as Robin Hood, Treasure Island, and more.

This was definitely one of my favorite presents this year!


Book Recommendations for the Up-and-Comers

As a published children's book illustrator, I often get asked the question, "How do you break into the industry?" from other earnest and extremely talented artists. While I can't describe the journey in only one post, I can start by recommending a few books that have more than earned their space on my bookshelf. Pick these up at your local bookstore and you'll see what I mean.

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer

#1: Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer.
I discovered this book some time after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, and it covers many things I had learned there (how to build a portfolio, design your logo/brand identity, etc.) while giving additional insight for things that one can only learn in the real world (all of the legal and tax considerations that no artist wants to think about). I'd say this book is a must for greenhorns as it gives a realistic overview of how to get started. It also offers "Professional Viewpoints" in the form of quotes from successful freelancers, and an entire chapter of forms and charts templates to assist you in designing your own.

#2: GAG's Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines.
To try to describe the entirety of this book in my own words could never do it justice; it is quite literally considered a Bible for professionals in the industries of illustration, design, and animation. The Graphic Artist's Guild (GAG) comes out with new editions regularly as industry standards change, and it is a pricey book, so keep that in mind when purchasing.

#3: Children's Writers and Illustrators Market.
This book is absolutely necessary when you want to build a mailing list for promoting yourself. Within these pages you'll find thousands of directory listings for publishers, editors, art directors, and agents who want your work. The entries for each listing include contact information, the genre they're interested in, query guidelines, payment terms and tips. A new version is printed every year (folks in publishing move around A LOT), so the information is nearly always fresh. I recommend you spend some time with the newest edition courtesy of your local library if you cannot afford one or don't want to purchase a new version every year (check the reference section, you may not be able to borrow the book depending on your library).

While these books are certainly not the "be-all, end-all" for information on the publishing industry, they're excellent places to start. I'd welcome other book recommendations, too, so please feel free to post links in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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