[EDIT: 21 April, 2010]
So I've been freelancing for about 10 months straight now- full time. My client list is still pretty small, it's definitely something I am trying hard to improve (along with improving my artwork!). I was curious if anyone could comment about some of the ways they look for and get clients. I've tried:
• Emailing inquiries to companies directly
• Asking for referrals
• Trying to offer personal commissions at fixed rates
• Most recently, it's been suggested to post on forums, so I'm trying that now!
Any help would be appreciated! I am most interested in the Fantasy genre- RPG's, magazines and books.
[Original Post: June 16th, 2009]
I am on my path to becoming a concept artist. I've done a number of things that makes me either brave or stupid (depending on who you ask) in order to accomplish this. I quit my full time job in Norway and moved back to the US, back with my parents just to work on art full time until I get meet my goal. I sacrificed a lot to do this, but I feel it's important and the only way to get where I want to be.
Since April, I've submitted my portfolio and resume to over 50 different game studios, asked numerous professional art directors and games concept artists what I need to do to improve. I got a lot of positive feedback, but with the economy, I got passed up by a lot of places. I will just have to work even harder than most. I realise improvement just takes time, but I hope with all of you marvellous talented people tossing a critique here and there, my road to success will be shorter than I expect it to be!
I think the best way to start off is to just show what I currently have on my portfolio website. I basically want to kick my own ass, as it were and improve until, as one art director suggested, "you create pieces for your portfolio that are so amazing that no one could pass you up".
I am drawing everyday and I am hoping to improve bit by bit. My ultimate goal is to be a location independent freelance artist, but I feel I need to take the middle step of being a concept artist before I can reach that goal. I feel like I'm almost there, but I just need to break that barrier to get to that final step.
Any and all constructive critique is welcome! As for what kind of job am I looking for? Well, ideally, I would like to be a character/creature concept artist. Realistically, I realise how difficult a job that is to get and I know I need to expand my portfolio in terms of subject matter. I have gotten a lot of comments about my usage of colour and I know I need to amp it up, it's been described as "chalky" as if I am colourising a toned image (which I usually do). I plan on furthering my anatomy skills by trying to find a local life drawing class. Any other suggestions?
Thanks for looking!
Current Illustration Portfolio:
Last edited by CharReed; April 21st, 2010 at 02:23 PM.
I just attended the Independence in Art ConceptArt workshop. I'm so totally pumped about getting everything together and working harder to get what I want. I'm going to make a supreme effort to update this sketchbook everyday that I do art (which is pretty much every day). I got so inspired by Jonathan Hardesty (aka MindCandyMan). I'm going to strive to do the same, work and work and work to improve my art until it's loads better than it is now!
Along with the ConceptArt workshop, I'll be attending the Schoolism Portfolio class with Shawn "Cheeks" Galloway in November. Why not? I would love personalised professional advice on my portfolio. It was too good of an offer to pass up. It can only help me down the line- plus I'll be getting into gear with my networking and connection making. So many people peruse this site every day, it's worth much more of my effort to maintain a presence here than say, DeviantArt, which I've been getting more and more frustrated with anyway...
They say all you need to do is work hard and meet people. And please please please critique me! As long as you are constructive, be as harsh as you feel you need to be. I understand that you are taking the time to help ME out, so I better perk up and listen, even if it does sting.
I'm working on a project to help improve my concepting skills. I've been given the go ahead to post my work from the project since I'm not getting paid, just practice.
The project is a game called Blackened and it's set in a post Apocalyptic Earth setting with soul sucking aliens. At the moment, the setting takes place in LA, so I am working on environments, which I never really have done before. I used a photo provided for me from the project and added destructive elements to it.
I've been working with environmental stuff a lot more lately since it's a weakness of mine. Here's another one I did of a forest landscape. I did a podcast of the "making of" for it, hopefully some people find the podcast and what I had to say useful
Last edited by CharReed; August 7th, 2009 at 11:05 PM.
My recent C.O.W. entry from today. I think there are some really awesome entries this week, really quite spectacular. I wish I could have had more time for mine, but I just kind of found it and pounced on it last night and this morning.
Here's my description for my entry:
This creature, like the platypus, appears to have different animals cut and pasted together. The nose and mouth of a hippo with the poisonous fangs of a snake, the skin of a reptile and the claws of a mole. The venomous, pale blue, obese egg layer. The Venemous Blue Egger (VBE, as it's known) only becomes obese during the mating and egg laying season. The comparison sketch of the creature shows it's normal weight during the rest of the year. The females start packing on the pounds in order to lay the 100-400 eggs that they will guard with their life, much in the same way as a female crocodile. Thought to be extinct, the VBE was recently rediscovered in it's native habitat along the riverbeds of... where else?... Australia.
I am still just trying to chug away at my illustrations, networking with people and keeping this sketchbook updated. I hope to give a little, get a little... I try to take some time out to comment on other's sketchbooks, hopefully I can get some comments and crits too! *hopes*
Just have to keep on, keeping on! There are so many great sketchbooks out here, hard to bob above the sea of awesomeness!
I've noticed that in some of your drawings the planes of the chars' faces are slightly misaligned - I'm thinking specifically of the forest fire nymph, the dude with the jagged sword (not so much his companion), and MouseBot.
I think you should avoid the stance you use for the dino warrior altogether. It's used a lot in fanart and it just looks awkward and strange. I'm not sure why it's spread so widely and is copied so much because I've never seen anyone stand like that. The hammer in that drawing looks rather 2-D, as if it were a cutout.
God, that sounded much harsher than I meant it to.
jackpot_anjr90- Thanks! I'll give your suggestions a try. Thanks for comment!
ataxas- I'll keep in mind the orientation on the faces. I modelled the fire fairy off of my own face, so my face might be the crooked one lol I know what you mean about the Dragonborn commission. I didn't really copy the pose off of anywhere, I kind of worked it out based on what the commissioner wanted and the best angle that showed off most of the body and armour. Though I've seen a few other Dragonborn pieces that had a lot more interesting natural poses and it makes me think that one is off and less than inspiring (or threatening). I'm going to a figure drawing class next week, hopefully that will help me to get a better with more natural poses, even in fantasy creatures.
I've been slacking on the updates here, but thanks to the nice comments, I'm going to make an update. I have gotten to the point where I am updating my blog everyday. I wish there was a way to update a lot of forums at the same time! It would make my life easier
Here's my blog!
The pictures I've done since my last update:
- A picture of an Andalite from the series Animorphs. Done as a prize for my Animorphs graphic novel community on DeviantArt. She's a female Andalite that has an affinity for Indian jewellery, based on the contest winner's specifications.
- Flaming Coward ArtOrder contest entry.
- I took a couple of suggestions of some keywords from a friend and came up with a 3 Legged Space Bear. I think this piece was more of a learning experiment than any thing else. I think there is some disjointed elements of the creature, but overall I like it.
- I wanted to see what a fuzzy whale would look like. I figured the ancestors of whales probably had fur, so I went for a creature that could live on the land. I want a stuffed animal of him!
- This one I did for a challenge on a smallish forum called ApeDogs. I drew my interpretation of someone else's character
- I just finished this today. A made up scene from my Sabrecat world. The main sabre tooth cat, Berry, getting into trouble. I went for a "just snapped a pic caught in the act" (with the flash on) type of look with the piece, hence all the washed out whites and heavy shadows.
Thanks for looking!
I looked at the fairy again and I think what I'm noticing has to do with the eye that's mostly out of sight. I think if you made it smaller or tucked it in a little bit it would solve my qualms. To me it doesn't look like the face is crooked but like the left cheek and eye come out a bit too far giving the impression that you're drawing two angles of the face at one time. Am I making any sense here? Because I'm rambling...
What I meant was that the pose (feet and knees pointed out, arms apart, one leg slightly lifted) is something I recognize in a lot of character art, for whatever the reason, and it's always puzzled me. It looks like the character is trying to move in two directions at once. Bear in mind I'm not an artist, never went to art school and have no clue about the industry, so my observations are er, well-meaning and clueless at best.
Thanks for stopping by my sketchbook, too! The red-line was really helpful: I had an image of her face in my head, and it was completely different from the sketch you did, so you've given me a new avenue of approach. Thank you!
Haha, no worries I think I value the opinions of people who don't consider themselves professional artists because they will let you know when something isn't right. They may not be able to pinpoint it as precisely as a full time artist might, but then that makes me actually use my brain- right? That's a good thing ^^
I'm happy I could help you out with your sketch! Sometimes I fear doing redlines only because some people take offence to having their drawings drawn on top of, but I'm glad it helped you!
I really like being red-lined. It means that the person looking cares enough to get out a pen and show me what they want to see. It's also a lot easier to get the point with a red-line.
Anyway, good luck with everything!
Back again with some updates. I think it might be easiest to update this sketchbook once a week. For daily updates, just check out my blog!
Char R :artist: Blog Edition
The first one is a WIP for the project Blackened, where I am a concept artist. It's all a group effort, just working on a project together for practice and portfolio fodder. This is the (mostly) finalised linework I'm using as the skeleton and bones behind the concept. Lots of work, lots of learning with this one!
The owlbear isn't a typical one, nor should it be! This one is for the ArtOrder challenge, where you take an owl and a bear and try to blend them in unique ways. I always try to do the ArtOrder challenges because it's just so fun, interactive and gets you seen by art directors- many of which watch that blog! So go enter for yourself!
The last is a project for a calendar that illustrates rare, wild animals called Rare 2010. I chose the species tree kangaroo and wanted to depict them in traditional garb from their native homeland of the rainforests of New Guinea.
Thanks for checking out my work!
cool sketchbook wish i could quit my job & become a full time artist but alas, i just cant, you're very brave & already at great point with your art. I think it's cool that you update your blog daily but you won't really be able to get people's opions of your work there IMHO & sketchbooks here dissapear to the second page within hours of a post so it's gonna be hard for people to see your stuff if you only update weekly, sometimes i even update twice a day (sorry for all that)
anyways, your colours are great though i think you use a slightly thick brush & oversaturated brown a bit too often, the calender of the rare kangaroos is looking great, i like the way you did the fur & the subtle light on the back of the one at the centre top in the back, you could have added that to the closest one as well, i don't know if it's still WIP but i noticed they don't have shadows either.
btw, cool video i learned a couple things from it
miycko- Thanks for checking out my sketchbook! I bet you are right, once a week is not often enough to update a sketchbook. It easily gets buried under so many other great entries. I'm still working on my sense of colour, I'll pay closer attention to how I'm using browns.
Alice in Wonderland WIP- I never liked Alice in Wonderland as a kid. I only saw the Disney version and the scene with the walrus eating the baby oysters was too creepy for me. This is my tribute to how that film made me feel, so the characters all have a psychotic twist to them
miycko- Yeah, I like to use the brushset from Melanie Delon, one of my favs for hair are the brushes with 5 or 6 dots incorporated into the brush. Then I smudge a little to make the ends match with the scalp a bit better, usually I choose a similar brush for smudging the hair as I do drawing it Overall it's a good combo. I've since finished the illo and it's in attachments. I have a WIP vids on my Ustream of the process!
miycko- Thanks again!
I'm not really good at sketching... I was one of those kids that reserved each page out of my sketchbook for a whole illustration and I'd just work on that illustration until it's end, for better or worse, I'd learn from it and move on. I feel like I'm "doing it wrong" with this method, but sketching unless it's a planned activity (like 30 second gesture drawing on posemaniacs.com) just seems so foreign and unnatural for me.
Well, that said, here are a couple of finished pictures I have to show:
Her Majesty - For a contest on CGHub.com. It was a little last minute. I've been pushing myself to get something done for a lot of contests at the same time, results are a bit rushed and it shows. Hopefully after next week, I will have more time to slow down and take my time on future projects.
Celebration - An entry for Imagine FX's cover illustration. They said they picked a winner and the results will be announced in the 50th issue. I guess I'll have to pick that one up, but since I didn't get an email, I imagine I didn't win. Oh well! Got to keep trying...
Ian Miles- I'm afraid mech stuff surely is not a strong point of mine As you can see from most of my pieces, I do a lot of character and creature design work. I'd like to get better at mech and human-made stuff, but I'll have to stop hating straight lines first! Thanks for taking the time to comment
I'm totally speechless!! really amazing SB
Jo-el- Welcome to CA.org! It's a big community with tons of resources. There's plenty of room for everyone Thanks for the comments about my work! I definitely see your points and it's something I strive to change and improve upon each time I start a new piece. I sometimes think I just need more creativity!
andres333- Thanks for commenting!
Hey, this is an inspiring thread (I can't get the pics to fully load yet, my browser's being a jerk), I'm so with you on "kicking my own ass".
Where is your game set, is that "LA" Los Angeles or Louisiana?
Last edited by SpookSquad; December 24th, 2009 at 05:10 PM.
SpookSquad- The LA is for Los Angeles. I've since stopped work on that project, but I'm trying to take the lessons I've learned from that experience and incorporate it into my work still.
OMG, I almost want to start a new sketchbook, I've been so slack! Time to fix that.
I've changed my focus since the beginning of this thread.
My goal for this year is to be able to pay my bills via freelance illustration alone. I'd like to work in-house in as a concept artist too, but my lifestyle of moving from country to country every 2-4 months makes a full time job like that hard.
I've been listening and drawing along with the CRIMSON DAGGERS! Here are the studies from today and yesterday!
Char: Quitting your job to focus on art is great dedication. Way to be!
Your work has some interesting ideas, and your headed in the right direction. Keep working and really try to seek out good reference for lighting and color saturation. Nice stuff!
phizpietl - Quitting my job was scary and I might have waited longer to do so now, in hindsight, but overall, I don't think I'd have gotten to this point had I waited later to quit. I am lucky to have the support network in place to be able to do freelance full time. Thanks for the feedback and support!
It's been recommended that I try to keep up better on these forums. It's just harder for me because I use a lot of autoupdating programmes that help smooth out my workflow and as far as I know of, there is no forum cross/auto posting software out there (I've looked and looked!)
So, I'll just have to break my no posting on forums habit and try my best to keep this as updated as possible!
Here's a couple of studies I snagged from my blog, which is updated daily.