New Editorial Illustration Class!

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It’s here, it’s here! My brand new class, Editorial Illustration: Illuminating the Written Word is finally live! I was approached by Udemy to create a class for their platform based on my success on Skillshare, and jumped at the opportunity to partner up with one of the biggest online learning communities, and the chance to create a more in-depth class! I worked extremely hard on making this class, and it is by far my best class yet. Here’s the course description from Udemy:

Editorial illustration is artwork created in response to written text, usually an article in a magazine, newspaper, or blog. In this course, we will focus on how to analyze a text, develop a unique idea, and communicate that concept visually as a partner to the article.

To show you all this, I’m going to take you through my step by step process of creating an editorial illustration. You’ll see my process from the original text article to researching, sketching, drawing, revisions, digital production, all the way to final illustration. I’ll also show you many of my own personal Photoshop techniques for creating illustrations with bold colors and tantalizing textures. In addition, I will walk you through some illustration fundamentals that are often misunderstood including line, tone, value, and color, to help make your drawing as strong as possible.

By the end of this course, you will have the skills to transform a boring text-only article into a professional editorial illustration that communicates your unique voice while illuminating the written word.

This class has almost 3 hours of content, with 35 lectures and 8 PDF downloads. I’ll be taking students through the following concepts:

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Definition and History: Learn what editorial illustration is and its impressive history

 

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Thinking and Ogling: Learn about artistic style and editorial illustration trail blazers

 

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Researching + Analyzing: Learn how to analyze a written article and find visual references

 

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Sketching: Learn how to overcome blank-page-phobia and start sketching

 

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Drawing: Learn techniques for strengthening and finishing your drawing

 

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 Line, Value, and Color: Learn about color theory and linework tips

 

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Digital Process: Learn about coloring an illustration in Photoshop

 

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Textures + Hand-Drawn Type: Learn to create your own textures and drawn type

 

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Final Touches and Delivery: Learn how to finish and deliver your artwork!

 

And that’s it! Check out the Udemy class website to watch the promo video, read more about the class, or enroll and start learning! This class is a tad more expensive than my previous classes (this course is not offered as a membership pricing model like Skillshare, and is more in-depth in content), but the quality of my classes has really improved with each course, and this one is on point! As a little proof, look at the comparison of these stills from my previous class promo videos:

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I read all reviews of my classes and really take them to heart. Although I do have an overall 97% positive review on Skillshare, some reviews have mentioned aspects of my classes that could be improved. Here are a few things that I’ve learned from this feedback and improved drastically with my new Udemy class:

  • Audio quality: Brand new microphone used to record high-quality audio
  • Video quality: Improved editing and export settings to achieve high-quality video
  • Filming angles: Improved the angle of my videos so they are more balanced
  • Lighting: Improved and more consistent lighting
  • Lecture types: Better mix of talking videos, demo videos, screencasts, and downloads

UDY-editorial-illustration-class-10-blogThanks for reading and I hope you check out the class!

Solitude and Creativity

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I’ve been working on a new personal project lately that is turning out to be really meditative and gives me lots of time to get lost in my own thoughts. I also recently read this article, How To Be Alone: Musicians Confront Solitude, written by Ann Powers for NPR, and it definitely sparked something. If you’re an illustrator, designer, artist, or creative, please go read it! It’s very well-written and speaks to the contradicting nature of being an artist (at least in my experience): constantly putting yourself out there and communicating your thoughts and ideas, but also just wanting to be quiet and alone. The article deals directly with musicians, but it applies to all creative lives. And she explores the concept through amazing music, from Sufjan Stevens to Kendrick Lamar to Laura Marling. I want to remember some of my favorite ideas from the article, and I’m in the habit of recording things I like somewhere, so here are some of the quotes that spoke to me most, along with some process work from my new project:

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Kendrick Lamar is a physically dexterous rapper, but he really stands out as a man whose thoughts fly faster than his feet, especially in spaces where he can be alone. Even the sometimes excruciating conflict he endures within the scenes he crafts feels like a tonic, because like his imagined mentor {Tupac} Shakur, he demands solitude as a fundamental right, a way of recognizing his own divinely sparked humanity. –Ann Powers on Kendrick Lamar

 

 Is it still okay that I don’t know how to be at all? –Laura Marling, False Hope

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There’s a {Kendrick} Lamar-style internal argument going on in these lyrics: Marling craves interdependency, but also chafes against it, knowing that the old story of the mastered young woman continually threatens to envelop her. The music is furiously paced, centered around Marling’s fleet, aggressive guitar picking, which keeps her band in frenetic pursuit. It sounds like she is birthing herself, and she is often enraged by the process — not only by the cluelessness of the men with whom she wants to stay but who can’t handle her whole being, but with herself by being so scattered, so scared, so full of herself but still uncertain about where that self begins and ends. –Ann Powers on Laura Marling 

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This was the same goal the secular pilgrim Cheryl Strayed sought when she walked 1100 miles alone up the Pacific Crest Trail in 1994. She found liberation from self while lost above the treeline, shouting into silence she ultimately couldn’t affect, realizing, was she wrote in her memoir, “Everything but me seemed utterly certain of itself. The sky didn’t wonder where it was.” –Ann Powers on Cheryl Strayed

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Wandering the Pacific Coast Trail where she became a temporary hermit, survivalist and explorer — all roles that, for centuries, were primarily associated with men — Strayed realizes at one point in her journey that true solitude has changed her very definition of aloneness. She recognizes it as a form of connection, not privacy; as a way of inhabiting her real self by seeing how permeable are its boundaries. “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was,” she writes. “Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before.” –Ann Powers on Cheryl Strayed

Tracing is Like Singing with the Radio

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While filming my new illustration class last week, I came up with an analogy that perfectly represents my views on tracing (for my own illustration process anyways). Here it is: Tracing is like singing with the radio.

Imagine you are driving around and your favorite song comes on. Windows down, wind blowing in your hair, you start belting it out, singing along with the song. You think: “Man, this is such an awesome song, and my singing is on point!” Then, for unknown reasons, the radio cuts off mid-song. In the split second before you realize what’s happened, you keep singing sans-radio and are immediately faced with the reality that your singing is… not nearly as awesome as you thought it was.

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Maybe you’re a good singer and this has never happened to you. But I was not blessed with any musical talent whatsoever, so it happens to me pretty frequently. And I think it’s a great analogy to what happens when tracing too.

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It’s the same scenario: you drew an awesome sketch that you’re really happy with. You tape it to your light box, tape a clean sheet of paper on top, and start tracing. But as you’re tracing you don’t see what you’re actually drawing, you see the original sketch. Just like when you sing with the radio, you don’t really hear yourself singing, you hear the musician singing. You finish tracing the sketch, are super satisfied, and then you turn off the light box, and are confronted with the reality of what you just drew. Again, maybe you were blessed with the tracing gene, and this doesn’t happen to you, but it sure does happen to me. But never fear, fellow horrible-singers and terrible-tracers—I’ve developed a work around technique!

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Generally, I used to go through some variation of this process: Create a great sketch, then trace the final drawing in pen or very dark pencil on a light box. But with this process, my final drawings ended up tight and lifeless. They lost all the spontaneity and vigor from the original sketch that I was so happy with. I know I’m not the only one this happens to. I’ve seen so many amazing sketches and process work on other artist’s Instagram and Twitter posts, but the final artwork on their website doesn’t have the same liveliness and strength of their sketches. And I was seeing the same effect in my own work as well.

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So to fix the issue, I experimented around, and changed my process! This is what I do now: I draw my sketch the same as before, and get it to the best it can be. Then I tape it to my light box, and tape a clean sheet of paper on top. Then, with an HB or lighter pencil, I trace the loose composition as lightly as possible. My goal here is not to trace every line verbatim, and not to create my final drawing in one swoop. I merely want to lightly trace the basic composition that I came up with in my original sketch. Once I’ve done that, I turn off the light box, remove the top sheet, and continue drawing on top of my light tracing sans-light box. I’ll go through the drawing with an HB pencil refining details and composition, and then I’ll go over finalized lines with a 6B pencil. If there’s a few stray lines I don’t want, I’ll remove them in Photoshop.

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If I want the final illustration to be inked, which I often do with typography, I’ll do this whole process, and then tape another new sheet of paper (this time thicker bristol) on top, lightly trace the drawing, then turn off the light and ink on top of the pencil. After it’s done, I can erase the pencil lines, and have clean ink!

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This process is more time-consuming in the long run, but it allows me to do two things that I wasn’t able to do before. It allows me to keep the original composition from my successful sketch, while still injecting spontaneity and looseness in my final drawing.

Maybe this is already how some of you guys work, but it was an eye-opener for me when I figured it out, so I thought I’d share my new process if any one else wants to try it out!

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I’m currently hard at work editing my videos for this next class, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! The videos will take an in-depth look at my entire illustration process by going through a full illustration assignment, from research, to sketch, to final drawing, to digital production! It’s definitely my best class yet. Thanks for reading, and I hope to announce the class in the next post!

Welcome, March!

A video posted by Christine Fleming (@tineybeany) on

I actually really love Monday mornings. And today’s a great one! My picture book dummy is officially finished! That is, until an agent/editor/art director gives me feedback/revisions/suggestions. But, it has made it to the next stage in it’s little book life! I feel as excited and energized with my book as Oni does with a stick in this video.

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In other news, I’ve been working on my next illustration class, and will be wrapping it up this month! I’m beginning to film this week, and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s live. It’s more in-depth and detailed than any of my prior classes, and I think it’s going to be my best one yet!

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I also just got this amazing feedback on my first Skillshare class, Scientific Illustration: Conveying Information with Charmand it makes me so happy that people are learning from and enjoying my classes! Thank you, wonderful students!

Just an FYI: The ‘Scientific Illustration: Conveying Information with Charm’ is an amazing class. I have about 8 pages worth of notes on Illustration technique that I took from the class that I’ve been referring to regularly in my exercises. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their drawing muscles.It’s one of my favorite Skillshare classes to date, to be honest.

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It’s now March, so #Kidlitart28 is sadly over. I really enjoyed the challenge, and it was good to have the extra motivation to draw every day. I stuck with it, and even though I had to double up a couple times, I still came out with 28 drawings in 28 days! And I planned ahead, so I’ve got all these puppy drawings that are definitely being put to good use! So don’t worry, this isn’t the last time you’ll see them.

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Baby Puppies!

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It’s February! This month there’s a drawing challenge going on called #KidLitArt28. Basically, you just have to draw something everyday during the month of February, and post it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag. You can draw any subject, or you can choose a theme to stick to throughout the challenge. I chose to draw a different dog breed (in puppy form) everyday. I chose this because A) I love dogs, B) I wanted to get better at drawing dogs, and C) I have an exciting new project coming up that will use all these dog drawings! It will be about  a month before I can announce it, but I’m really excited about it! Here are some of my favorite puppies I’ve drawn so far:

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And I am finally closing in on my picture book dummy. I’m very, very, VERY close to finishing it, and I can’t wait to start sending it out. Here’s a teeny tiny sneak peek:

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New Products and Process

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January has flown by! This month I was busy working on my picture book, making new products for my Etsy shop, and doing some design work on the side. Here’s a little peak at some of the new pieces in my shop:

MC-january-2-blog-2A wood burned ampersand typography sign.

MC-january-2-blog-3A new set of custom-ordered nesting dolls—this one with a science theme!

MC-january-2-blog-6And an illustrated kitchen tea towel. I was quite happy with how the artwork printed on the towel—look at those crisp lines!

MC-january-2-blog-4And finally, a few peaks into my ongoing sketches and drawings for my picture book. We’re getting close guys… real close!

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