Daily Archives: February 11, 2010

The Wreck of the Salty Carrot

These images from Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies are up on my website, but they’re kind of small.  I thought you might like to see them here, so you can embiggen simply by clicking on them.

For the shipwreck scene, I wanted to mimic antique oil paintings of storms at sea.  The first three images by masters of the genre represent the kind of nautical art to which I would be tipping my hat.

Following those are my own work.  By now you know the drill: thumbnail sketch, tight sketch, color study, final illustration.

The thumbnail sketches are each about 2″ tall, the tight sketch is maybe 8″ tall, the color study is the size of a postcard, the final is about 20″ x 14″.

Eilian in foul weather, or Foul, Reuben Chappell

Ships in a Storm, Elisha J. Taylor Baker

Agamemnon in Storm

Art school question

Ashley is a high school grad in Texas who wants to be a kids’ book illustrator, and is looking for a good art school.  Here’s my response to her e-mail.

I’m afraid I haven’t kept up on art schools.  I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh long ago. They offered a 2-year Visual Communications program that included cartooning and illustration—it was a wonderful education.  I have friends who teach there now, Mark Bender and Michelle Bamburak.

Make sure the school you choose will equip you to be a graphic designer when you graduate.  I don’t recommend setting up shop as a full-time illustrator as soon as you get out of school.  Get a staff job with a regular paycheck first.

Ask the schools if they offer any business courses.  You’ll want to be taught how to make money from your art skills.

Were you considering the Ringling School in Orlando?  I’ve seen impressive student work from them.  Likewise Syracuse University.

You’ll most likely save some bucks if you choose a school in your own state.  I think you can receive tuition grants if you do.  The Art Institutes have several schools in Texas.  I have no idea how good they are, but you should take a look at them.

As a kindness, I should warn you that it’s nearly impossible to make decent money in the kids’ book illustration business.  Learn all you can about promotion and marketing.  Get a copy of the Graphic Artists’ Guild’s Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines and read it.  I caution you against blowing huge bucks on tuition.

Anyone have an art school recommendation? It’s been a long time since I graduated.  I should plug New Jersey City University, in whose art department my pal (and Society of Illustrators prez) Dennis Dittrich is a professor.  Most of what I know about the business of illustration I picked up from Dennis.

Previous posts relating to an illustration career can be found here, here, here & here.