You Can Judge A Book By Its Cover…

Books, Illustration

I haven’t really come up with a theme for this year, but I do have two main goals for 2011: improve my figure drawing, and improve my backgrounds. It’s not that I don’t like the way I illustrate. I just want to do more, really push myself. I do think I put a background in as an afterthought, when really, it’s just as important as the foreground.

People who know me know these two challenges have been on my mind for a long time. I’ve always believed that in any profession, you need to remember three things: you need to keep as current as possible; you can learn a lot from young people (I’ve learned plenty from people younger than me); and if you say you have nothing more to learn, then sit back and wait for your obsolescence. People with more drive will be happy to pass you up (and frankly, they’d deserve it, and, so might you).

For illustrators my age, what we learned 20 years ago is obviously not the same education that’s taught today. Now, I don’t have a degree. I went to college, and changed my major several times. At the end of three years, I was so tired of the rigid, cookie cutter way of teaching that I just stopped going. I think I’d robbed myself of the whole experience of experimenting, because I was so focused on just “getting through college” and I’d felt the lessons were so “assembly line.”

What I didn’t realize was that I would later take what I’d learned and really do something fantastic with it, having a career I enjoy. What if I’d stayed in college though, how much could I be doing if I’d followed through? I was watching my contemporaries pass me by, and I did deserve it. In 1991 I stumbled into my creative career by accident, I had a lot of drive and determination and (not wanting to repeat my college experience) taught myself (with some training from where I worked) Aldus Freehand, Monarch Weaving and Knitting Systems, Adobe Photoshop, and later on my own, Adobe Illustrator.

So now, rather than settle in and be complacent with a bunch of “what ifs” I’ve decided to take that determination into a new direction and add some new skills. Scary, just because I have a lot of experience, doesn’t mean I’m not insecure about some aspects of what I’m capable of! I’m now the proud owner of nine new books, one a gift, and the rest recommended to me, that will help me on my journey to achieving my main goals for the year. I know people love their iPads and Kindles and Nooks and I will be acquiring an iPad one of these days. I can’t imagine them replacing gorgeous books like these. The feeling you get when going through these pages just can’t be reproduced on a screen…I’d love to know, what did you all get for the Hols that is motivating you into high gear with your illustrations, did you make resolutions or goals?

Sketching People: Life Drawing Basics – Jeff Mellem
I rec’d this as a gift from my husband, he hears me talk about my “I’d love to…” or “I wish I could…” every day! This touches upon similar techniques as the Vilppu Manuals, but in one book I can carry around from coffeeshop to coffeeshop! ; )

Glenn Vilppu Drawing Manuals: Head and Face, Drapery, Hands and Feet, Drawing Manual – ©Glenn Vilppu. Recommended to me by Tracy Bishop, whose library must be completely amazing! I knew that these would help me tremendously ater reading the first paragraph of the Head Drawing Manual. Worth every penny…

The Art Of Ratatouille – ©Disney Pixar. I can’t even begin to describe the next four books, so please just go buy them for yourself or go to the library. They are stunning in color and texture. I just want to take a week off and totally look at nothing but these!

Dreamworks Artists After Dark

©Shannon Tindle

©Shannon Jeffries

©Lindsey Olivares

The Art of How To Train Your Dragon ©Dreamworks

The Disney Archives: Design ©Disney

I’d like to also add a couple of blogs/sites here too. I frequent them and I’m never disappointed!

In case you hadn’t noticed, another goal, but not a priority, is trying my hand at papercutting. We’ll see how that pans out! : )

2 thoughts on “You Can Judge A Book By Its Cover…

  1. Hi Andi –

    I selected you to receive a “Stylish Blogger Award” because I think your art rocks! If you would like to accept the award you just post 7 things about yourself and send it on to 15 other blogs you love! ☺

    You can see my post here if you would like to join the fun! ☺

    Thank you for being so positive and encouraging!

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