Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thoughts on personal style

As I mentioned in my previous post about the New Blood exhibition I had a portfolio review with some very nice ladies from a company called Artworks. I asked them about their general thoughts on my artwork and where they thought I belonged in the industry.

My portfolio is not a graphic one, it is a portfolio filled with a lot of pencil drawings, ink and acrylic illustrations and heavily rendered fantasy artwork. I don't use photo montage or collage techniques and I'm not into designing fonts. Basically I am not a graphic designer/illustrator hybrid like a lot of illustrators seem to be these days. I was afraid that they would take a look at my things and say: what the hell is this? Funny enough they seemed to like it, and they seemed to be especially fond of my pencil drawings. However they would never be able to use my work for their company, as they used a very specific and, surprise surprise more graphic style.

They told me that my portfolio looked very different from the other things they had been looking at during the day. Their opinion was that I most certainly had a niche market style, and that I should focus on children's books and licensed products and the fantasy art market. I was not unhappy to hear it. Those are after all my preferred markets, I was just happy to know that someone thought I had a niche where I could belong. That is the positive thing. Moving on to the negative, because let's face it there are always positives and negatives.

The negatives is that I don't really belong in the other industry niches. Fantasy art exists almost everywhere, but it is not a big industry and I am a bit worried about being able to get the right amount of work or the right type of work so I can pay bills and afford buying food, you know the necessary stuff of life. So I have to wonder whether I should try to branch out some more and try to do more graphic and commercial looking artwork so I can get jobs in more well paying parts of the illustration business, or if I should just keep concentrating on the things I do now and the things I am apparently adept at or good at. There is no easy answer to this question and I am not sure I have a good answer to it either.

My current plan is to keep focusing on the fantasy and children's art and hopefully I will be able to make it my bread and butter. On my spare time I want to experiment with different styles. Maybe try doing some editorial illustrations and maybe some poster designs. Things like that should help me broaden my horizons a little bit.

If any of my followers have ever come across this problem in their professional life and have found a good solution to it or if you just feel like weighing in, please do so.


  1. Not a easy answered question indeed. But I think you kind of have to be more "flexible" in the beginning, to earn enough, but as you get more known and more experience you can sorta pull out what you don't consider worth doing any more. I'm not saying you should blindly take on every commission that comes your way, but maybe take the ones that leans in your direction. According to the illustrators I've talked to, the first five years is the most difficult ones. But they usually say that it's good to have a firm goal, to know what you want (and we both know what you want and that you're burning with passion for it^^), you just have to take on a few "boring" stuff and work hard. But look at you, doing a children's book already and a game, you're quite ahead of us other newbees:)

    Sorry for the long rant, but hope you find it useful:)

  2. Yeah I have considered that too. It's like they say, you're going to have to kiss a lot of frogs on the way. I don't really mind doing stuff that isn't in my general area of expertise, but I don't want it to eat up too much of the time I need to evolve my fantasy art. Just need to find a healthy balance I guess. I think we both have a firm goal, and that we're both passionate about art and illustration. So I don't think any future problems will stem from lack of focus.

    I guess I have been kind of lucky having gotten some projects, but I never feel like I'm ahead of anyone because honestly everyone around me seems to be so god damned talented(that includes you :P).