Friday, 30 September 2011

Illustrators Pick: Daniel Egnéus

Beautiful water colour illustrations by Daniel Egnéus. I love his loose line drawings especially the portraiture ones (yes I'm a big fan of fashion illlustration.) His drawings seem so organic and almost effortless don't they?  Yet some parts of his drawings become so sporadic and intricate it draws your eye to different parts of the page. 

Oh so dreamy. 


Illustration 101: Portfolios (Part 3)

Welcome back to our mini series on portfolios. Today is our third portion of this segment. So far we look at what to put in your portfolio and online/physical portfolios. We are concluding the mini series with when to update your portfolio.

Erica: Obviously this is going to be tailored to your personal preference, so I am only going to outline some suggestions. Everything about this depends on how quickly you work, how much you output in a given span of time, and a thousand other variables.
If you aren't updating your portfolio (blogs and other sites are the same with this) then people may think you are inactive. If you are a blogger junkie, this probably isn't going to be an issue for you, but there are those of us that are not blogger junkies. For those quiet souls it is a good idea to plan out when you want to devote the time to updating everything. You may just be updating images, but there are times where you will have to update a lot of other information such as resume, cv, bio, etc. Obviously this can take time, especially if you are updating a large number of images at the same time. I try to update everything once a month if I'm not going crazy with projects (in which case I'm updating much more frequently). That way I don't have an enormous task in front of me that could take up way more time at once than I am willing to devote. Updating websites and making sure that information is spread evenly is not something I enjoy trying to do, but it has to get done.
At worst, I make sure I will update everything every three months. A lot can change in that time and even if I only add one new image, I still set aside the time.

Aside from my main portfolio I try to update other sites on a more regular basis. Especially sites with prints and product. It's not very effective to unleash a lot of product at once, people will see a flood of new product and may think you are spamming.  For sites like this I wouldn't release more than one a day. Or if I released more than one, I would only announce the general update or one product

Jo: With anything like this there's no right or wrong way of doing things, in my opinion it all depends on how much time you have. We all have jobs and other commitments outside of illustration so it's totally understandable if you haven't got the time to do this! So as long as you get into the routine of doing it then it's fine.

So your main portfolio (website) for instance could be updated like every month or so? Whereas if you have a blog, Society6, Flickr etc. then try to keep them fresh at least once a week. Set aside some time so you can do this, perhaps keep a note at what you've been currently working on and then spend and afternoon or an evening writing up a post.

The worst thing you can do is to promote so much of your work like every day that it's just spam! I find that a bit annoying and it puts me off following someone. There needs to be a fine balance; not enough updates could suggest to people you're not doing any work and too much is, well, information overload.
I find that towards the end of the year I want to change the layout of my website plus my portfolio. Mainly because I get board of looking at the same thing!

Please tell us what you do and if you have any advice, we'd love to hear from you.

Little Constructs Update: UK Version

Good news folks, printers have emailed me to confirm that the zines have been printed and shipped out. Woohoo! My goodness I'm so happy, it's been a long week.

More news and photos coming up. 

Jo x

Illustrators Pick: L Filipe dos Santos (Corcoise)

L Filipe dos Santos (also known as Corcoise) is an artist from Portugal. He both paints and draws, make sure you check out both because his paintings are equally as amazing as his drawings.
I first discovered (and fell in love) with him when I saw "see saw" which is a project he did turning ink blots in sketchbooks into drawings. After the initial discovery I went hunting for more of his work. He has a really varied sense of color in his work that provides a dynamic that is always interesting. He also has really amazing textures (and I imagine a lot of patience). 
Take a look at his website as well as his Flickr. His Flickr has a lot of progress photos, so if you are into that (like me) make sure you take a gander. 


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Video Sneak Peak!

Hey everyone! Wanted to put up this little sneeky peak video of our first issue! Isn't it exciting? It's SOO close to being officially out. I can't wait!
So here we go, I hope you enjoy and are as pumped as I am!

I would like to apologize for how shaky the video is and that I apparently couldn't turn pages. Oh well.
Also note that FANTASTIC music, it's Bach. He's pretty cool. I had to add it in order to hide that I was watching some super nerdy stuff and you could hear it. (:
This is the US version, there will be minor differences between the US and UK printings.

Let us know what you think!


Friday, 23 September 2011

Illustration 101 - Portfolios (Part 2)

Welcome back to our mini-series on portfolios. On our last Illustration 101 post we talked about what to put in  your portfolio. This week we are going to talk about you physical portfolio as well as your online portfolio.

It is obviously very important to have a web presence as an illustrator, you instantly increase your chances of having your work seen, thereby increasing your chances of landing paying gigs. Even if you don't want to be a social media wizard you still want to have a website. While none of the below remarks are "must haves" for your website, I feel they are important to keep in mind. 

1. Buy a URL. Research what you think will work for you long term. If you set yourself up right now you won't have issues later. I personally hate my URL and am planning on changing it. This means I not only have to go buy a new one, I have to do all the changes online to point things to the right place, update all of my other sites, and all of my printed materials. All because I didn't think about what I wanted to brand myself as in the first place. Oops! Don't be like me, be smart about choosing your website's name.
2. Chose a host. You can start from scratch and make a really fantastic website all on your own. HTML and CSS are amazing and you can do SOOO much with them. If this is you, awesome. I say showcase any skill you have, people will notice. For those of you more like me, not coding savvy, check out some of these sites. They are affordable, easy, and have all the coding done for you. 
Cargo Collective
You can also use blogging websites like Tumblr and Wordpress to set up a portfilio site. 
Best advice for picking out who to host, research. Take advantage of the trials. They may not show you everything they are capable of doing in the trial, but liking the interface is really important. It was a huge part of my decision to go with Cargo.
3. Look at the sites of people you like, what did they do? How did they set up their site? What makes it unique in terms of navigation? You can go clean and minimal or go crazy and make something super unique. Find out what you want, plan, sketch, then start working.

I suggest not releasing your site until you are done building it. Patience is a virtue. It doesn't take a lot of time to set up an amazing website these days, so don't worry. 

As for your physical portfolio, oh boy. If you have read any of our previous 101 posts you probably know that I already really love tangible items. You can do some really incredible things with your portfolio these days. I'll try to make this quick though. Here's the breakdown: 
1. Leave your originals at home. Don't bring a big clunky portfolio with lose originals or prints in it.
2. Size matters. While there are some sweet mini portfolios out there, it's not always practical in a professional setting. But you don't want a gargantuan portfolio either. Find a good medium. Something about the size of your laptop seems to work well. It fits in a bag or briefcase, is light, and people are comfortable with the size. 
3. Keep it clean. Seems easy, right? Don't put it in a place that you may spill things on it, that it could get damaged. This is an extension of yourself folks, so treat it nicely. 
4. Considering having more than one. Having a second copy is really useful if you have to leave your portfolio with someone for x amount of time. I recently had this happen and didn't have a second. That was not cool. 
5. Tailor your portfolio for different clients/audiences. If you have a clean well organized portfolio then you are already doing well, but sometimes we want to show certain work to specific people, knowing your audience and what they like gives you an advantage, if you have work that could tailor to their needs more than what is in your typical presentation, change it up for them. They will recognize it and you may get the job because of it. 
6. Keep it professional. Don't have it looking like your books from highschool. You are selling talent and art, not boredom.
7. This part is where I'm going to go crazy. Sorry folks. Just be patient. (: 
There are so many ways to make your portfolio special. To make it a part of your portfolio instead of just a mode of transportation. Any art supplies store these days seems to sell several kinds of portfolios. Big ones, little ones, super fancy ones, wood ones, plastic, blah blah. Soooo many to chose from. So what do you get? I have three. I have a large one with a zipper for transporting and storing originals. I have a little plastic $15 one that I use at home for planning and will take to sales events to sell prints from. And I have my "good" one. I made this one. And I'm going to make another. If you find something in a store that is awesome. They are easy to use, easy to expand, and many are very durable. Just look at them, hold them, you'll know if they are going to last or not. 
But if you want to make one... oh yes, you my kindred spirit... you are going to have fun. 
While I could go off on this forever, I won't. Here are some links I thought you might enjoy about fun easy ways of making your own portfolio. 


Jo- As Erica has pointed out having an online presence is equally as important as having something physical for people to keep/ look through. I like to think that you need both in order to promote yourself and your work. I would say that it would be quite unusual or not really that professional for an artist not to have a website or let alone a blog; just something to show people your online portfolio.

1. There are many ways to go about getting a website set up. I used to use Dreamweaver, like once a upon a time, though sadly my HTML skills weren't up to scratch and I spent more time shouting at my computer than anything else. So I've been using Wordpress as it's free (well you need to buy the domain name and the soace) and there are loads of nice themes. And as for the name for your website that's of course entirely up to the artist, for starters your name is the most obvious one but some people prefer pseudonyms... Either way keep it simple people!
Erica has suggested some good ones there is also Indexhibit which is another free website all you need to do is upload the whole thing to your server and then it's done. Most important thing is so as long as you feel comfortable with using it and you're happy with it. Or get someone to help you out!

2. Separate work into categories is a good one so it's clear for people to see what you've done e.g fashion, editorial, personal projects. Oh and images should be labelled, dated, clients name.... you know the important stuff! Please keep images low res as well, it's annoying for someone to open up a light box and the image takes up the whole screen. Well that's just one of my pet hates!

Have a few examples of your work that best represents you. Don't over do it. Less is better. Oh and update it regularly too so it keeps people interested. You can also add your CV if you are clever at doing all the HTML stuff

3. My personal opinion is not to have your phone number. Email is better.

4. Easy navigation.

5. Lovely links to your blog, Twitter and other social media sites so people can find you. Hurrah!

6. If you can add the Facebook Like button to your website or the Google plus one then great. Means more people can find you.

7. Do use Google Analytics as it's a great tool to see how many daily hits you get.

8. Update, update, update.

Now for the physical portfolio (fun, fun fun!)

1. Your name and contact should be there. I've seen people make a hang tag which is cool. And on the front page too.

2. Keep all your images nice and clear, if they're pixelated then it's a big no no! (300 dpi.) Really off putting indeed! Have a consistent layout as well so have the images and text pretty much in the same place, and obviously if it's landscape/ portrait then bear that in mind. Have your work clearly labelled as well.

3. Less is more. So as long as your portfolio is tailored to a specific area of interest as Erica has pointed out.

4. And again, keep it updated!

 5. Lastly you can be creative as you want to be. It doesn't have to be your standard folder, it could be a booklet or something which folds out. Either way spending some time putting it together and creating a portfolio that shows off your work is totally worth it.

Sneak peek!

So... just a little update about the Little Constructs Zine. Don't think we've suddenly disappeared folks! Erica and I have been working our socks off for the past few weeks. We've been emailing each other at crazy times of the day, pretty much non stop file transfers as well.

We will soon get the zines up and running and send out the winners copies too. All of the hard work from all the contributors means that the zine looks amazing, this is all down to the submissions we've had.

We would like to say thanks for your patience and more news to follow soon. Happy Friday y'all and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Illustrators Pick: Vin Ganapathy

Cobol/Garyken choo
ink & Markers on Moleskineself as shellfishyou call it fate i call it coincidencewe are. part 1.sleep study, colored in.

Vin Ganapathy is an illustrator/artist living in New York. His lose, playful line work is really amazing and he can capture the expression of a figure so well. You see the personality of the individual coming through in his drawings.
Take some time to visit his website and make sure you go through his sketch blog. He is suppppper talented and nothing I say here will do him justice.

You can follow him on Twitter as well.

Illustrators Pick: Brandi Strickland

Well where do I even begin? Brandi Strickland, who also goes by the name of Paper Whistle, is an amazing collage and mixed media artist.

Brandi creates these very detailed, mesmerizing and other worldly landscapes; it's like stepping into another realm where humans, spiritual beliefs, living creatures and nature are all bound together as one.

We are all part of something far greater than ourselves which forms our existence.


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Illustrators Pick: Magic Jelly

Loving the vintage and retro style of Magic Jelly's work (a.k.a Karena Colquhon.) I found Magic Jelly's work a few years back and it was really through her work I learnt all about Print Gocco, hence why I bought one on Etsy. It's really refreshing to see an artist who uses a wide range of medium and changes interesting paper into beautiful pieces of artwork.

I can't wait until she opens up her shop again!

Find Magic Jelly on:
Blog (this has now moved to the link above but still worth having a read.)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Illustrators Pick: Jacqueline Kari Bos\Jacqueline Kari Bos
I stumbled upon Jacqueline's work a while ago, though I don't remember how or why I was instantly in love. Her work is so soft and playful. The warmth in her colors makes my soul giggle a little while. I also love that she has branched her work into textiles. As I love textiles and fiber arts in general, it was lovely to see this application. Her zine about "I Heart The Arctic" is also something I adore.

Jacqueline is currently working out of Portland, OR and you can find her on:
and her Blog
She also blogs on Beautiful Decay, her posts are available here.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Illustrators Pick: Hannah Stouffer

When I first saw Hannah Stouffer's work about a year ago I was like "Wooooow!" (add a few more 'o's in there.)

Hannah's images depict a fantasy world of constant and never ending conflict between man and nature. There is also something really dark and beautiful about her illustrations don't you think?  The contrasting elements like the skeletal creatures, twisted bodies of snakes and the inky landscapes work in harmony with one another.

I really enjoy looking at Hannah's illustrations, they're all so visually appealing to the eye.  And it's interesting to see how her commercial work  has been applied to a variety of mediums and disciplines. That sort of flexibility for an artist/ illustrator to be able to work in many ways is great.

Hannah has an Etsy shop so I suggest you have a gander!

Jo x

Friday, 2 September 2011

Illustration 101: Portolios (Part 1, What to put in your portfolio)

Today we are starting a mini-series about portfolios. Since portfolios are a keystone in starting your career as an illustrator/artist we want to make sure we cover the topic as best we can. We encourage comments for this since there are a lot of ways to approach the topic, and want to make sure we can incorporate anything we may have missed previously in the next part of the series. We also love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to get involved.

Erica: It's pretty obvious how important a portfolio is to an artist long before you use one in the acquisition of clients. You start prepping in high school and submit them to colleges, attend "portfolio days" and ask for advice on what to include. Just like a resume, you have to have one if you want to get work. It has to highlight all of your best attributes and showcase your talent, your perspective, and not only what you have accomplished, but hint to what you are yet to accomplish.
Long after college, and after you have started working with various clients, you have to update your portfolio on a regular basis. If you never show new work, then maybe you aren't practicing anymore, maybe you quit, or maybe you have no ambition, and worst of all (in my eyes) you aren't growing and progressing as an artist. If you show everything you do, you could be showing work that actually deters clients. So what do you include in your portfolio? Obviously you show your best work; however, illustration and arts in general are highly subjective and are perceived differently by each individual. Something you, or your friends, love and think is amazing may not be the same thing that an art director or client may view in the same light. Needless to say, this complicates the task at hand and can make the process an exhaustible trial.
Take time to research how your work is received by others, your friends and family will always provide valuable insight, but don't forget to ask professionals, teachers, and other persons who can supply a more objective and varying impression. Family and friends may tend to provide responses based on what you want to hear because they know you and probably have an idea about what you spent more time on, what means more to you, etc. If you ask people less connected to you personally they are unlikely to be so subjective and can give you valuable feedback by doing so. Likewise, people such as teachers/mentors, professionals, and those that circulate the arts industry often have seen a lot of work from many different people and can give you well rounded and informed opinions and advice. Be sure that if you take the advice of others, it is not based off of the feedback of isolated individuals. Look at the results of your survey as a group, and act on what was said most by everyone. Don't ignore individual comments, but make sure that you aren't reacting to them too much or it could deter you.
As the artist, you are the person most connected with every piece that you have made. You know what went into it in every aspect, what it means to you, etc. This can often blind us to the actual "value" of a piece. However, as the artists we have the final say in what we do (unless we are talking client work, that may be different) and if we did something we loved in a specific piece, but maybe it didn't show as much as we wanted, it is still up to you whether or not to show it. Keep your wits about you, think everything through, and take your time to ensure you are choosing wisely.

Take these into consideration when you are deciding what to bring to the table: How old is the work? Is this your strongest piece/body of work? What is this showcasing? What did you do this for (school, work, personal, commission)? Does your work show your growth as an artist? Does the work as a group show a defined voice? Does the work show versatility in skill and application? Does it look like it was all created by one individual? Would you feel comfortable showing this to an industry leader as a representation of your complete body of work?

Jo: Whatever your portfolio takes in the form of the key thing to remember is that you need to sell yourself as it's pretty much a visual representation of who you are and what you do.

Here's some key points when building your portfolio:

- I've learnt that your portfolio changes as you develop as an artist. Your portfolio will of course change over time, both go hand in hand.
- It can be a difficult process so asking for other peoples advice is another good thing. I find that this process can often leave you feeling a little flustered!
- Begin to think what areas of the design industry you either see yourself in or what you have actually done i.e. categorising your work looks more professional rather than having loads of images in a random order.
- It's nice to have a balance of work from the past and the present. From prospective clients the variation of work means that you're still a practising artist/ illustrator.
- Less is more. Seriously.

The last time I looked at my portfolio I thought to myself "Why the heck did I have this in it?!" Looking back I was sort of guided by my tutors to include work which they thought was appropriate and, well me, I took a step back and let them do it.

Now I know what I want to do and what my aspirations are for the future. I have to do all the work now and not my tutors!

Illustrators Pick: Sam Weber

Sam Weber currently works out of New York with his equally talented illustrator wife Jillian Tamaki. His work is some of my favorite because of his amazing depictions of emotion. Not only hauntingly beautiful the subtlety in his work is awe inspiring. He is a big influence in some of my current work, so how could I not share him?

Check out some of his interviews at Heavy Backpack, Lost At E Minor, and Amateur Illustrator.

Oh and here is a nifty video from 2010 about his cover for Shadow Rising.

Make sure you follow Sam on Twitter!