Keep learning, keep exploring and stay playful with your practice.
Part of working as an illustrator requires the ability to refine a personal style of work whilst pushing yourself to explore and practice new techniques. With this in mind I have been aiming to maintain my self initiated projects, as this provides the space to try new or incorporate different techniques into my working process. As an artist the constant reflection and adaptation of my work in an integral aspect, so this is only natural that the same process follows into my practice as an illustrator. Something that I have been finding particularly useful are the tutorials from digital arts . I feel there have been some strong contributions from the many creatives but I was particularly interested in Ari Liloan's tutorial about adding a bit of depth to vector illustrations. Here Liloan offers some useful tips and tricks to adding textures to your art. Onesidezero has also provides some good advise on creating works from hand drawn images to vector designs and is well worth checking out. However, not all of these tutorials will suite your style of work or portfolio, for example Breno Bitencourt's tutorial on creating low-poly portraits wasn't exactly similar to what I would produce. Although this doesn't mean it was a waste of time, on the contrary, it actually helped me create what I feel is one of my favourite pieces of work. A portrait of my wife Laura as we we are waiting in hospital for the first scan of our baby. Maybe it's the timeliness of the portrait that holds such special significance with me within my personal life or the historical events of Covid-19 that coincided with it. Either way that portrait, however removed from my usual style, remains close to my heart and I am sure will continue to do so for a large number of years to come.
So the importance, for me, to continue to explore new avenues and techniques doesn't just impact my existing style of working, but also helps me to produce work that surprises, inspires and fulfils my desire to express myself as an artist and illustrator.
I have decided to include a recent piece of work that has actually been refined, using a combination of techniques taken from all of the above tutorials and thrown into my own mixing pot. This is an image of Space cat and his fellow characters assembled together. Unlike the first version, it maintains my hand drawn style but combines tips from Onesizezero regarding composition and using the draw inside tool to add tones from Liloan.