A while back, I did a post about using other skills to reduce overhead costs. The idea is whatever you know how to do (as in you’ve received training or instruction), is one more thing you can do that you don’t have to pay others to do. I still affirm that even if you are a paid editor, you should have another editor look at your work. Editing is a funny thing. A person can be pretty blind to his own work. I know I am.
Anyway, one area I wanted to improve on was my digital illustration, and I had a few pieces I wanted to share to show how I’ve been doing.
This image of Grimm is one I’ve recently done. I took the cover Collin Fogel did for Bob’s Greatest Mistake, and made a few changes. This is all digital art done with Adobe Illustrator. In my own opinion, this is fairly novice work. It doesn’t look like a kindergartner did it, but I wouldn’t’ expect anyone to commission me as a digital artist. I was reasonably satisfied with it, but it was missing something. Then I realized my biggest complaint with it is the clothing. I’m not very good with digitally illustrating cloth. So I mean to work with this more and improve my overall skill.
I’m much happier with Naruto, but when I step back and look at it in comparison to Grimm, I realized a few things. First, this is a portrait. I don’t have that many clothes to deal with, and the style of this picture is different. I think I have a pretty good grasp of gradients and faces.
So what do I do with this? Well, I’m still practicing. Any skill is honestly just a matter of time and practice. Talent helps reduce the time, but there’s no level of skill that practice can’t attain.
The idea is to increase the options I have when I go to shows. I anticipate a world in which I offer convention goers digital anime-style portraits of themselves. I won’t ever sell licensed material, because that’s frankly copyright violation. Sure, people do it, but the copyright owners can always come collect whenever they get in the mood, and I don’t want to be in the blast radius when that bomb drops. But, I CAN do portraits of people and my own characters.
I aspire to do art from my own work along with the portraits to increase what I can offer potential customers. I’m nowhere near a place where my books alone can profit me in a convention. I’ve even mentioned in previous blogs that I measure my success on books sold, not money made. Adding products and services to my table can shift that metric.
So what do you think? What would you like to see me try next? Is there a character from one of my books you’d like to see me try and illustrate? I will do fan art (because I’m not ever going to sell it), so if you have another character you’d like me to try, let me know.
Thanks for reading,