Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday-The Wisdom of Jolle

I can't stress how important it is to get and give great critiques! I never thought I would say that I sorely miss placing my artwork on the wall during class in college and letting the class rip into it!! I don't think I appreciated it as much then as I should have!

A few posts ago I talked about plaing artwork on forums to get input from your peers. A place I mentioned was the DrawingBoard. There was one particular person that I ran across on those forums whose crits were so insightful and eye opening that it made me happy to get my work torn apart by him! LOL!

He goes by the name Jolle De Wit or Guardstone. He is an Art Director, Designer, Developer, and Illustrator who resides in the Netherlands. And he seems to be a sincere and great guy! His crits have been phenomenal and I want to start putting some of them up to give examples of what good crits can be like. He's always honest and sincere and I have come to respect his words a great deal.

I'll start by just posting verbatim the interactions that transpired bewteen he and I on the forum. Enjoy!! I did!! I'm in blue and he is in red! Also, I only posted the image that he specifically critiqued and not all the images I posted.

Heya guys!! I am in the process of putting together a childrens book portfolio!! During the process I'd like to get input on the pieces as I go!! Any critique or help is appreciated! I want to make this the best I can make it!! Any input is appreciated!!
A study to show my ability to draw varied ages, ethnicites, body types and genders.

Let me know what you guys think so far!! And if there is anyone in the industry who already has already broken into this field any advice is more than welcome!!!

Just a couple of quick notes:

- For a children's book portfolio, be sure to include some animal illustrations
- Also, children's books are sequential: characters can be seen throughout the story, so be sure to show you can tell a story in more than one illustration and that you can draw the same character according to model in different situations and poses. In other words, be sure to include 3 drawings from the same story. [edit - I see you have plans there, good]
- Nothing wrong with a blue sky here and there, we're talking children's books!
- Any single illustration should tell me what the story is about.

Finally, am I right in thinking you're left-handed? It clearly shows, all your characters are skewed to the left, some even almost tipping over (right-handed illustrators often have the same problem in the other direction). Since you're working digitally, you can easily prevent this while working by flipping your canvas horizontally every so many minutes, this will instantly show any unwanted diagonals.

One more remark: making 20 pieces and cutting to ten is still a bit on the small side. Make like 30-50 and pick the best 12-15 out of those.

I probably should have posted in my first post how I intend to go about filling out this portfolio. Thank you so much for the tips on content to go in my portfolio and know for sure that I am going to be adding all the things that you mentioned!!

The topics and situations listed below are what I intend to cover:
1. Varying ages of people, from toddlers to the elderly. Interacting with one another in mostly familial ways.
2. Animals, most definitely. Some quadrupeds will definitely be featured, some with humans and some in a more anthromorphic state. (For those stories where all the characters are animals.)
3. Varying ethnicities, body types and genders.
4. Varying moods and atmospheres.(Not all pieces can be happy pieces. And my pieces need to not only be during the day, or inside,or on the ground, or on the planet even!!! Variety, variety, variety)
5. Multiple pieces from the same stories to show my ability to draw characters consistently from scene to scene. I intend to have two scenes from at least two stories within the portfolio.(But you suggest three though, so hmm....)
6. Vignettes, Spots and pieces that show knowledge of page formats and space for type. (I think this is where I may easily reach your advice of doing thrity to fifty pieces.)
7. I've seen some recommendations to have a dummy prepared. Not sure if I will do this but I'll keep doing research to determine if it's truly necessary.

Also...I'm not left handed..so I think I'm in deep trouble!! I'm not sure I'm seeing the left skewing that you spoke of. Is their any way to better explain this to me or use a specific piece to illustrate what you mean. Believe me, I only want to get better, so any help is appreciated!! Thank you so much Guardstone for taking the time to lay out your advice and crit. I really appreciate it!!

Well like I said, flipping your canvas is one way to spot it, butit could very well be that you don't. It is quite difficult to explain, so here's a few quick traces that may clearify my point.

As for your list, looks like you're heading in the right direction. You may find this PDF very helpful as well.
(That PDF will be a topic on a whole other Wisdom Wednesday! Stay Tuned!!)

Notice how many of your necks lean forward/backward/to the side. That's fine if you mean it like that, if the character has reason to do so, but I'm guessing that's not the case here.
Notice how many of these traced lines go in the same directions. Obviously, there will often be 'directional twins' in drawings, but this feels a bit different to me.
WOW!!!!! That's an eye opener and a design flaw I was never aware of. Never run across that particular one in my studies even!! Thanks so much for the illustrated descriptions, you definitely got your point across!!! I will be very aware of that from now on and see in what way I can address it in the aforementioned piece!!
And the link you provided IS EXCELLENT!! I have every intention of scouring this gentleman's site and teh links he provides, some I knew of in my research, but others I didn't!!! I wasn't going to just use my judgement to whittle my portfolio down to size. I was intending on having two sessions with myself and some co-workers(also artists). One session would be about halfway through the process, so that they could help influence my direction for the second half of my efforts. And a second one at the end to create my final portfolio and nail down my presentation. I will be handing out the pdf you directed me to, to them, to make sure that we are all on the same page as to what should be expected from a childrens book portfolio. Once again, thanks so so much!!! I deeply appreciate you imparting your knowledge upon me!! Please continue to do so as I move forward and post more stuff!!!

themightykwan wrote:
I will be very aware of that from now on and see in what way I can address it in the aforementioned piece!!
I don't really think that will work out too well. The adjustments you need to make here take a lot of time and would defy the groundwork they are made on, so you'll never be able to really fix that. Trust me, been there! That's the bad part. The good part is that you can take this illustration as a lesson learned, and that's the value you're going to take out of making it. Nothing wasted there if you learn from it! Now take your new insights and put your energy in something fresh, you'll enjoy that more, too!
themightykwan wrote:
Once again, thanks so so much!!! I deeply appreciate you imparting your knowledge upon me!! Please continue to do so as I move forward and post more stuff!!!
You're most welcome, I'm happy to help and glad you picked up on it. I'm not here that often but will keep an eye out for new work from you and will post comments when suitable. Good luck and enjoy!
Jolle really opened my eyes to an aspect and habit in my drawing that I wasn't aware I was doing! I am very mindful of that now and pay close attention to this habit when I work. I would not have realized or gotten this advice had I not taken the chance of putting my artwork up for review by my peers. The benefit far outweighed my initial fear of placing my artwork up to be judged by strangers. I currently post my art on 3-4 forums and 2 Critique groups! And I am in the process of starting my own critique group! (If interested, please e-mail me.) The more eyes you can get on your work, the more opportunities to grow you present yourself. So go for it!
This is just the first installment for , "The Wisdom of Jolle". I posted more and he came back with more advice! In the weeks to come I will post even more of his great crits and even greater insight! Enjoy folks!


AWells said...

Your Blog rocks, Wesley.

Are you going to meet me at NY SCBWI?

CauĂȘ Zunchini said...

Hi Wilson, how are you ??
Tank you very much for your kind words, thanks a lot !!! :)

Your work is amazing, I like the colours and the character designs !
Very Good my friend !!

sorry my failed english !! rsrsrsrs
Saludos daqui de Brasil


sara b. said...

Once again, awesome post. What a great find in Jolle! Looking forward to reading more. :)

Shirley said...

Wilson! It's so great to hear of your connection with Jolle! Awesome post. And so insightful..it takes others to view things to see what you've been missing...(I had not even picked up on what he picked up on, and to see the visuals is darned amazing). So glad you are getting such good feedback! Keep up the great work, and thank you for the posts..always good to read up on what you're up to. Also, I have an email into Amy and Laurent re: their tips/advice..I'll keep you posted.

Roberta said...

Great blog .... thanks for sharing all of your feed back... very useful!!

Robb Mommaerts said...

Hey Wilson!

long time no talk! how are you?

Awesome work as always!

Emily said...

What great and actually constructive criticism!