Illustration Journey

Have you ever wanted to do something that you dismissed as an impossible dream? Like saving the world from an evil villain with your superpowers? That’s how I thought about visual art. I believed artists were gifted with a magical power that allowed them to create in all forms of the discipline. Every so often, I would try my hand at drawing, just in case I could awaken inert abilities, but I always got stuck on some aspect or the other and I would sigh and put my pencil away.

Then I heard Brett Helquist speak and he changed my whole perspective. Brett went to school to be an engineer and while taking an art class for non-art majors, he realized he really liked it more than engineering. He jumped right into an illustration job though he had little art education and experience. While he spoke and showed us his early illustrations he was paid for, I realized he didn’t seem fazed by his inadequacies. He just kept learning on the job and acquired more education as he went.

And it occurred to me that illustrating is like writing: while a level of natural ability helps, anyone can learn it. This page will track my journey.

I participated in the Children’s Book Academy illustration course at the beginning of this year (2020), which now seems so long ago even though it is only the first of June. The course was too fast for me, but I learned some good things and enjoyed being in the company of so many talented artists. Andrea Miller of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, provided the best critiques I’ve seen. She always pointed out what was working and then illustrated possibilities of improvement. Seeing the suggestions visually like that was super helpful for me to understand the critique.

I’m obviously still working out perspective and proportions, as well as style. Next up, work I’ve done during quarantine.

Inktober 2022 highlights my growing confidence. I successfully completed 31 pieces of art without burning out.