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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Illustrating => Topic started by: Franzilla on June 19, 2014, 07:17 PM

Title: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Franzilla on June 19, 2014, 07:17 PM
It seems to me that writers always have critique buddies/partners or groups, or a group of trusted readers, but illustrators don't seem to be quite the same.


I'm just wondering if this is the case and whether you've got a critique group and how it works. Thinking about it... would love to hear your thoughts on it!
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 19, 2014, 07:27 PM
I've critiqued with a couple of people, but art/illustration critiques don't seem to work as well as writing critiques. My illustration group has speakers who come in and critique portfolios, which is great to learn from (whether they critique your portfolio or not - sometimes you learn more when it's not your portfolio). I've gotten a lot of benefit out of participating in online group forums when they are active and people actually participate. You learn from what other people post and how they approach the same prompt in a different ways than you do. Or at least that's been my experience so far.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 19, 2014, 07:32 PM
Apparently the Twitter kidlitart chat was about critique groups tonight. Argh! I always seem to miss chat. Here's the transcript (on Storify) https://storify.com/kidlitart/kidlitart-chat-critique-groups  (https://storify.com/kidlitart/kidlitart-chat-critique-groups)

Going to go read it now ...
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Cynthia Kremsner on June 19, 2014, 07:54 PM
In the beginning I wasn't in a group . . . and joined one, but it fizzled. I'm on a FB page with several great illustrators . . . but as far as a small exchange, not currently. I'm pretty motivated on my own but there are times I get stuck and need advice. However, I've had some things pointed out when I posted to the large group that I'm glad were caught.

 It was interesting to hear a facilitator who was an illustrator speak of how they worked on their own and only sought consult when stuck. It sort of validated my current method of working. . . and it's nice to be able to help another illustrator when they're stuck too.

For composition, avoiding line tangents and general structure, I think critiques can be amazing. But if it's consultation on style, media, etc., that's something most creators find on their own.(However, I was bumped towards watercolors in a critique group). And if someone is advised one way, once a contract is signed on the work, an Art Director may advise differently.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Artemesia on June 19, 2014, 07:56 PM
There's a SCBWI illustrators critique group on fb. Seems great for getting feedback. I found it here on the boards. There's a few of us there.

https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=71693.0

I used to have an illustrator crit group when I was first really getting into it. Under contract the feedback comes from my art director and editor. But I fully expect that when I get back to new projects I'll run it by my illustrator crit partner.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Wendy Martin on June 20, 2014, 05:09 AM
I belong to a kidlit crit group that's been meeting weekly for over 4 years. We meet online and have had members from all over the world at one point or another. Like with a writing critique group, finding great partners is key. Also, a match in skill level and goals seems to be important.

I belong to a more informal fantasy artist group as well, not a critique group, per se, more like a support group. We meet randomly in Google Hangouts and have a painting session. If someone asks for a critique, advice is offered.

The kidlit group actually was a result of the #kidlitart chats on Twitter. After one Thursday chat, people kept contacting Bonnie and me (we were the original hosts) and we collected a list of people and times they wanted to meet. At the beginning, I think we coordinated the set-up of 9 critique groups with 5 or 6 members each. I'm not sure what happened to them, but I do know my current group has only 2 of the original members, and about a year after first founding all the group, we blended 2 groups together. The other current members have joined over the years, the newest member, less than year ago. Others left and have gone on to get agents, book deals and awards.

With any relationship, it takes work. All the members must be willing and able to put the work into the group or it just fades away.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Franzilla on June 20, 2014, 08:33 AM
Interesting! I've asked my writing group to look at my stuff and some very generous friends  and acquaintances have been kind enough to give crits too, but I can't imagine how a group would work as well as it does for writing... mainly because of style differences. What I crave particularly is accountability. I love being kicked up the backside! I guess once you're published you get that from your editor/AD (in a nice  way!) but for now I have to rely on myself... I should probably try Illustration Friday or similar. Stephanie, got any recommendations for sites that do regular prompts?


Can't believe I missed that twitter chat! Talk about timely!
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Mindy Alyse Weiss on June 20, 2014, 09:27 AM
Definitely check out the link Arty gave you. I'm the SCBWI FL Critique Group Coordinator, and the online critique group for illustrators started after our Miami Conference this past January and quickly branched out to include dedicated illustrators outside of our region as well. They do have frequent prompts/exercises, and it's a very supportive, active group.

Here's the shout out I give it in our SCBWI FL newsletter:
 
WE HAVE A GREAT ONLINE GROUP FOR ILLUSTRATORS!

It formed right after our SCBWI FL conference in Miami, and is open to new members. I've had a chance to see it in action, and am so impressed with the way they've been sharing information and feedback with each other and participate in some amazing weekly illustrating exercises. For more information, contact Michael Trujillo (mtrujillo@c.ringling.edu), Jack Spellman (jack@jackspellmanart.com), or Angela Padron (angela@angelapadron.com).
 
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Wendy Martin on June 20, 2014, 10:29 AM
There are a number of prompt groups on Facebook and twitter. For digital painting https://www.facebook.com/groups/1402563099961950/
For doodling and warm-up: https://www.facebook.com/DAILYD00DLE

No matter what style an artist has - there are the same fundamentals that are present in all illustrations. Perspective, anatomy, design and composition come to mind. Stylistic difference do not negate the need to have strong foundations present for a successful painting. There are also some technical things that are specific to reproduction as a picture book illustration such as bleeds, gutters, contrasts, live space and page turn anticipation. All these things cross stylistic difference.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Franzilla on June 20, 2014, 10:59 AM
Mindy, I signed up straight away! It does sound great.


And yes, Wendy, I agree that there are lots of principles that remain the same but style in PB art varies far more widely than style in PB writing. I think that's probably partly why there aren't as many illustration groups as for writing. That, and probably the fact that illustration hasn't been digitally available as recently as text. Some artists may still not have a decent scanner, for example.


Anyway, interesting! Thanks all!
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 20, 2014, 12:20 PM
Franzilla, there used to be a lot of groups that did prompts, but many of them aren't around anymore. The only one I see regularly now is Illustration Friday, and a few people who do things on Twitter (but it's more personal than group). Have been toying with the idea of starting something, mostly with an eye toward a blog or promo site and sending out postcards as a group. I learned more about illustrating picture books from working with my editor on my first book, than I did studying PBs or in critique groups!

Slightly off the subject, but speaking about groups, I find it interesting that there are lots of promo groups for MG and YA books (like the class of ___ groups, etc.), but I haven't seen anything like that for picture books (writers or illustrators or both). The closest was The Baker's Dozen group (Brooklyn illustrators), but they're not together anymore.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Artemesia on June 20, 2014, 04:09 PM
Stephanie we could totally start one.  :chickendance I was a little bummed when I realized my illustrated CBs didn't count for a promo group. I've got 2 more books still to release this year.
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Franzilla on June 20, 2014, 05:33 PM
Do it, ladies! It'd be great fun to read/see!
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: marla-lesage on June 20, 2014, 05:49 PM
I just started doing the 52 week Illustration Challenge. No crits, but weekly prompts, positive comments & sense of community.  Tania McCartney has done a fantastic job organizing this - some of the group members participated in an art swap.  The facebook group is large & growing...
I signed up for Mark Mitchell's course which includes group critiques, which are very helpful, especially for a newbie like me. 
Title: Re: Illustrators: do you have a critique group or partner?
Post by: Stephanie Ruble on June 21, 2014, 11:20 AM
Sent you a PM, Arty!