Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

iPad Art

[flickr id=”5958273894″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”none”]

I have been having a TON of fun lately drawing on my iPad. I’ve had my iPad for about a year now, but I’ve only used it to doodle occasionally. I finally decided to sit down and really see how far I can take a painting on this device. I’ve been very happy with the results.

Here’s a few more drawings I’ve made so far:

[flickr id=”5956661962″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”large” group=”” align=”none”] [flickr id=”5956100761″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”none”] [flickr id=”5956093539″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”none”]

I started a Flickr set where I can keep all my iPad paintings. You can go there if you want to see all my drawings so far, and others I may post in the future:
Read on for my answers to iPad art FAQs

How to Make Your Portfolio iPhone-Compatible

Iphone 01

When speaking about artists’ websites, an art director recently made a comment that caught my attention – he is annoyed when he can’t view them on his iPhone.

The comment was half-joke, half-serious, but it brought up an important point. You never know what potential clients are out there, and what they are using to view your work.

And so I went home and made an iPhone version of my web portfolio.

Why make an iPhone website? Is it necessary?

No, I don’t think every artist should go and make an iPhone portfolio right this minute. Quite frankly, I don’t expect a lot of visitors to my mobile site. However, I DO think artists should keep these ideas in mind. The use of iPhones and other mobile phones is on the rise, and artists should always be thinking of ways to make it easier for clients to access their work. At the very least, avoid flash and multi-media rich websites that don’t work on mobile platforms.

It was a fun experiment and it didn’t take long to create at all. I know it will make at least one art director happy, so that alone is worth it.

So if you have the know-how and a little bit of time, I say it’s worth the extra bit of effort. It might not matter to most of your clients – but it might mean the world to the few who happen to be on an iPhone.

Here is an in-depth review of how I put the site together.

Continue reading

Tips for Printing Digital Paintings at Home


You work hours and hours on a digital painting. You render in tons of details, play with the values, and fuss with color until it is just right. You finally get it about perfect. And then you go to print it…

If, for you, this story ends in disaster this article is for you.

Let me start by saying that I am not an expert on this subject. Printing can get complicated and messy, and terms like ICC profiles, color spaces, and monitor calibration can really make your head spin. For the most part, I leave these things for the professional printing arena. In my own work and in this article, I try to keep things simple – creating good quality prints to display, promote, or sell without them looking stupid.

Continue reading

Artist Portfolios


Here is a question I received from reader Kyle:

What does a professional portfolio for possible employers look like? How many pieces of work should I use? How large is the physical portfolio? Do I take the physical portfolio into interviews or do I take in a resume and a disc with all of my work? Also, how did you go about shopping this portfolio around?

Truthfully, I don’t use a physical portfolio very often. My website does most of the grunt work, which is true for many freelance artists nowadays. The most an art director will usually see from me in terms of printed pieces are postcards and tearsheets. So if you haven’t already, BUILD A WEBSITE. They are extremely useful.

However… there are many occasions where you would need a physical portfolio, such as job interviews and reviews. Here is my take:

Art directors want to see ART. So do NOT make this more difficult for them than it needs to be! Keep the images neat, organized, and easy to see, and the presentation simple to browse through.

There is a tendency to over-think the physical presentation of a portfolio, as if the right amount of trickery or decoration will magically transform the the artwork. Just make it look nice and let the work speak for itself.

General Portfolio Tips

  • Follow any guidelines set by the employer to which you are applying.
  • Never use original art. Use good color copies/scans. Original art might get lost or damaged. Plus with the copies, you can make all the images a uniform size.
  • Include samples such as postcards, business cards, or tearsheets that you can leave behind for the employer to keep in their files.

Continue reading

Build a Drawing Catalog


In a recent assignment, I had to create a sketch of a cat. In my short time as a children’s illustrator, I’ve had to draw many, many cats. At this point, they seem to come almost automatically. Say “Cat,” and I can have several sketches for you in a matter of minutes, without the need to research or look up reference.

The same goes for any number of animals – dogs, chickens, pigs – I’ve drawn them so many times, it’s easy to come up with several characters on the spot.

It’s a good idea for an illustrator to have a “catalog” of subjects that he knows really well and can draw from memory, especially when working in a specific industry like children’s illustration where you are asked to draw the same type of subjects over and over again. This kind of skill will give you a head start on virtually every assignment you receive.

Continue reading

How to Paint Faster


As an illustrator, the faster you can produce images, the better off you’ll be. It means you can fit more jobs into your schedule, which is more money in your pocket. It will also help you hit your deadlines more easily, which is absolutely necessary in this business. If you find you have trouble with this, here’s a few time-saving tips for you.

Continue reading

How to Make a Sketch Blog People Will Actually Enjoy


An art blog should showcase your work and keep people excited about it. Is it working? Or are you just boring everyone? To keep things fresh and interesting on my own sketch blog, I try to take a moment once in awhile to evaluate a few things.

Here’s a few guidelines I’ve come up with, so have them in mind before you put up your next post.

Continue reading

5 Things You Must Do Before Your Painting is Finished

5 Things You Must Do Before Your Painting is Finished

You think you are done? Sometimes the difference between a good painting and a great painting is simply a matter of a few more minutes work and a more careful eye. If you want to be sure that you have done everything in your power to get the best out of your piece, try implementing these steps before you finally declare your piece of artwork “finished.”

Continue reading