Illustration Portfolio Migration!

I’m constantly remodelling things over on this website and today marks the day when my illustration portfolio – which has been sitting quite comfortably on this website for a long time – has migrated over to its own website. This change has been a long time coming; I’ve always felt that my illustration portfolio felt a little out of place on this site – the home of my weird projects, videos, shop, etc and it felt too disjointed. People would turn up on my website expecting a portfolio and getting this weird mish-mash of things. To be fair, my weird mish-mash works for a lot of people, but if you’re looking for an illustrator specifically, you probably don’t care about my youtube videos or random nonsense, you just wanna see my illustrations straight away.

My portfolio can now be found at:

www.sarahbatesillustration.com

PS: This post needed an image so I’m using one of my favourite pieces from Inktober 2017. See all of my inktober illustrations (and buy a poster, if you want) over here.

 

Love You Lots Like Polkadots – The Kickstarter is Coming!

UPDATE: We did it! The book funded in just 14 hours and reached its first stretch goal of £1000 by the 24 hour mark 😀 I’m blown away by the success! Thank you!

Love You Lots Like Polkadots is my first fully illustrated Children’s Book. It has been available as a PDF for over a year, but I’m finally making the step to getting it put into print. To do that, I’m launching a kickstarter on the 28th February and I would love it if you would be a part of it.

This is a 36 page, fully illustrated, beautiful vibrant children’s book about love. My target goal is £600 – this allows me to print out 50 copies of the book, including the cost of shipping the book and other rewards to each location. £600 is the minimum amount needed to get the minimum number of books printed and shipped.

What rewards are there?

Of course on kickstarter you don’t just donate money with no payback! Here are some fantastic rewards that you can expect to see:

  • Digital copies of the book, and the digital colouring book,
  • Your name in the book
  • Signed copies of the book,
  • Copies of the book with illustrated inside covers,
  • Fully illustrated, handwritten thank you letters
  • Much more!

I’m also planning some fantastic stretch goals in case we smash through the above target. I can’t give too much information about these yet as I am still working out cost, but I’m excited about the possibility of reaching them!

Tell me about the book!

I originally wrote this book as a silly little poem for my boyfriend. It was three stanzas long but he loved it and encouraged me to share it online with my followers. I got fantastic feedback from there, and I was encouraged to make the poem longer and then illustrate it as a Children’s Book.

What it evolved into was a magical full colour PDF that has been available as a downloadable file on my website for some time. And it had a beautiful reaction; people messaged me saying their children loved the book and they would quote it at each other. They were requesting multiple rereadings of the book, and would join in on their favourite pages. It was bringing parent and child closer together, and I knew then that the book had to be brought into print.

What followed was a year long journey learning about self publishing. I’ve always wanted to self publish children’s books – it’s been my dream ever since I was a kid – but I had no idea how to do it. But I found a fantastic publisher who helped me edit the files, and I finally got the proof copy in my hands shortly into February this year.

The print copy is coming and I can’t wait

I can’t quite explain how much it means to me to finally see the end of this project in sight. I absolutely adore this book, I love reading peoples reactions to it, seeing the smiles it puts on peoples faces, and hearing small children shout “Love you loads like BIG EXPLODES!” at each other genuinely makes my day.

I hope I have convinced you to jump on board with us on this project. I’ve got a whole bunch of work to do in between now and the 28th when the Kickstarter launches, but I absolutely can’t wait for the day to come! Come and join me, and we’ll get this book in PRINT!

See you on the 28th!

Sarah xx

(PS: Love you most like a spooky ghost!)

Regarding the question ‘I want to improve my art’

I see a lot of people on art groups, tumblr, and a bunch of places elsewhere asking the same question: “I want to improve my art; what do I do?” And regardless of where I see it, the response is always the same: “practice”. In most cases “use reference pictures, draw from life, practice realism.”

As an artist who used to ask this question a lot, and got hella frustrated by that answer, I’m here to throw this into the mix: There’s a lot more to improving your art than just practicing.

If someone comes to me and say “I want to get better at drawing”, the first thing I’m gonna ask them is this:

“Why?”

WHY do you want to draw? What made you pick up the pencil / pen / paints in the first place? Ask yourself this: What do you want to do with your art? Some people want to draw comics. Some people want to draw photorealistic portraits. Some want to do children’s illustration, or perhaps even architecture.

Depending on your answer to that question, I’m gonna give you different advice. If you want to draw comics or illustration, you don’t need to be an incredibly detailed artist, you need to learn how to tell a story and interpret the scenes of that story in pictures. That requires a wholly different skill set than if you want to draw photorealism. There’s nothing at all stopping you from doing both but you don’t need to. A lot of artists I see on here want to draw to be able to express their story ideas, they’re not overly bothered about the technical side of drawing and that is absolutely ok. Some people get arsey about this and think you should focus exclusively on technical skill, but in order to tell a story, you don’t need beautifully detailed pieces of art. Heck, XKCD uses stick figures and that’s one of the most popular comics of all time, and some comics have been beautiful, epic examples of storytelling.

When you’re drawing characters, challenge yourself with your poses. People get stuck in the same pose over and over (I’m guilty of this myself), so find new ways to get new poses. Look at magazines and draw the people in them. Or even better, watch a DVD, pause it every few seconds and draw whatever pose the characters are in, just for practice. If there aren’t any characters then draw the scenery. That way you’re getting random poses instead of sticking to things your comfortable with.

Also, look in the mirror and make a bunch of dumb faces. Take photographs of them and draw them. See if your friends will do the same. In fact, it might even be a good idea to ask your friends if you can draw their Facebook profile pictures, it’s great practice for you in drawing facial varieties and expressions, and they get a fun picture at the end of it.

Lastly, don’t just practice. Don’t wait until you’re “good enough” to make the art you want to make, or the stories you want to tell. Partially because if you wait to make those things until you think you’re good enough, if you’re like most people, you’ll never start. You’ll “practice” constantly and you won’t have anything actually finished to say. You learn something from every art piece you finish, every story you tell, every panel you draw. What better way to practice your art then to work on actually creating the work you want to make? And then, after weeks / months / years, you can look back on that piece and use it as a benchmark to find out how far you’ve come.

Yes, my advice does boil down to “practice” but it’s important to practice in specific ways. There’s no point in practising the same thing over and over and over again because you’ll get good at that thing, but you’ll fall short in the ways you’re not practising. Practice, practice, practice – specific things and you’ll be creating works you’re satisfied with.

The last thing I want to say is, no matter what you’re doing with your art, you’re never going to stop improving. You’ll find that the frustration at not being as good as you want to be, the feeling never goes away. Don’t let that discourage you. The desire to improve is an extremely important quality that makes you constantly develop your skills. That feeling is what will get you better at art, because that is the thing that drives you to practice.

Enjoy arting, folks!

Sarah
xx

Batman vs The Powerpuff Girls

Earlier this week, I asked the Internet “Who would win in a fight between Batman and the Powerpuff Girls?” and got some rather glorious responses. The question has burned into my mind and now I’m doing terrible, terrible things that I shouldn’t be doing because I have about 50 projects I should be working on, including my Open University course, and procrastination isn’t a good idea.

Except it is because it means I create things like this.

cover

 

And I know, I shouldn’t be working on new projects because I’m still working on Space Bunnies in Space, Chapter one of that hasn’t been drawn yet, and I have a bunch of commissions to do, as well as deadlines I want to meet by early next year, but… This is fun and silly and lighthearted. And it’s helping me destress. And yes, I’ve written a semi-complete script. And yes, technically I DO have the time to finish it if I just prioritise properly.

In other words, I should stop writing and get back to drawing because once this thing is finished I will be a happy.