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Well, I've done it now... Paid up and ready to start an illustration course!

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I'm not sure whether what I've done is incredibly stupid or not, but I just signed myself on to a (quite expensive) illustration course with London Art College. I'm worried it'll end up taking up so much time, my writing will suffer. But I kind of feel it's something I've got to explore. I love painting and drawing and if I could work hard for several years and be of a high enough standard to get published along with one of my stories, then yippee! If not, I guess I'll just have to utilise my new art skills by decorating my kid's room!
#1 - August 08, 2010, 11:54 AM

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Franziska,

Though, not quite an illustration course through a college, last year, I completed a six month illustration mentorship and I don't believe my writing suffered. Any growth or learning in the arts will help you with the total package. Congratulations on the new endeavor. I hope it's all that you expect and more.
#2 - August 08, 2010, 04:35 PM
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You're right, of course. Even if I have less time to write, I'll learn a lot about how to write for picture books by trying to illustrate. Great! Now I feel like I'm investing my time/money very well! Thanks!
#3 - August 08, 2010, 05:06 PM

Jenn Bertman
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I would love to do something like that one day! If this has been an aspiration of yours, I'm sure it will be worthwhile. At the very least, it's an investment in something you know you enjoy greatly. I also find that dabbling in other arts helps my writing. I like to dance and when I take a class I so often end up getting random inspiration for my current writing project.
#4 - August 08, 2010, 05:25 PM
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Hi Franziska
ive just earnt a pass with distinction on this course! its really great you will learn so much, do the follow on course too its invaluable, im doing it at the mo and have just written and prepared a dummy book ( pb ) with 3 finished illos to submit to a publisher, you will have the best fun and although they give you 6 mths you can ask for an extension theyre very flexible and very helpful and encouraging, your tutor Maggy is wonderful I didnt have her I had Jan Nesbitt who was just as wonderful....oh I am very happy for you!! :yay
btw im logged onto the forum as Moonstone if you want a nozzocks at some of my scribbles.
hugs
JT
#5 - August 11, 2010, 12:26 PM

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Siski, this is so great!  I wouldn't worry about your writing suffering...I think it'll just give you a stronger creative muscle (and yours are pretty darned strong already).  Can't wait to hear about your progress!

(I will also add being ultra jealous, because I cannot draw AT ALL.  Even my stick figures are pathetic!)
#6 - August 11, 2010, 12:31 PM

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That's great to hear, JadeTurtle! I just took a look but as I haven't got my package yet I can't log in. I did find some illustrations of yours, though, along with what I presume is the contest win that you were talking about earlier. What a major bummer. It looks so legit, too! How did you find out about the contest - was it through London Art College or somewhere else? If it was through them, maybe you should let them know it's not as straightforward as it looks?

Thanks, Jenn! I am excited. I know that even if I do have talent I'm years away from ever even submitting a portfolio anywhere, but you've got to start somewhere, right?!
#7 - August 11, 2010, 12:53 PM

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Hi Franziska
yes the competition was advertised though LAC but they are not responsible for anybodys experiences as regards entering them.....you do so at your own risk.....I should have researched the pb properly but was so busy looking at the world through rose coloured specs I didnt. :gaah ah well you live and learn onwards and upwards! :ladder
hope you like my work theres some more stuff of mine youll find when you login, faeries and pen and ink work mainly, you will really enjoy the course if theres anything I can help with give me a shout, preferably on the LAC forums as I visit there frequently.......good luck and enjoy!!! :goodluck :chickendance
#8 - August 12, 2010, 02:17 AM

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Well, I am finding my illustration course GREAT! I've already learned a lot. Things like:
text is a right pain in the butt when you've got an idea for an illustration and the brief is that the text has to run along the bottom of the page.
that getting one idea to a point where I feel I want to start painting the darn thing is so, so much work.
that there are a zillion different ways you could do something and sometimes it's difficult to decide which would be best
that I'm a dimwit when it comes to colour
that I am even greater awe of all illustrators than I ever thought possible!  :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow :bow
#9 - September 11, 2010, 01:56 PM

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 :paint

Good for you!

Enjoy the process  :) 
#10 - September 11, 2010, 03:11 PM

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Siski, so glad you're having a phenomenal experience!   :bow :bow :bow to YOU for taking on the challenge of honing this talent!
#11 - September 11, 2010, 04:30 PM

ladylind

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Congratulations!  What a great move for you.  Writer/illustrators are in big demand now;  it will open up your possibilities immensly.  Well done.
#12 - October 07, 2010, 01:04 PM

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He he, I'm not sure about that. I've been trying to draw kids today... My philosophy is that 'right' lines are there somewhere on the blank page, it's just up to me to keep looking for them. But right now those pesky 'right' lines are proving very difficult to find!

But I am absolutely loving the course!
#13 - October 07, 2010, 01:41 PM

ladylind

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As a fabulous mentor once told me;) it's about training your drawing muscles.  When you do it enough times, it just gets easy.  I think she said it more eloquently than that, but that was the jist of it.  Even drawing kids gets easy.  And I totally agree with you about the right lines being on the page already.

Here's to having the guts to take it on!!!!
 
#14 - October 07, 2010, 01:46 PM

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I'm so jealous. I'd LOVE to take an illustration course again! Is it online or actual classroom? I miss the classroom setting where you're working with a bunch of other artists, and learn from each other. The critiques are the best. Enjoy it, and hope to see samples from you one day, Siski!
#15 - October 07, 2010, 02:07 PM

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It's online, which actually works better for me right now. I just needed a kick up the backside to get myself to commit the hours to drawing/painting, otherwise I tinker and play but don't give it as much time as I need to improve that much.

I miss classroom settings too. Sometimes I even miss the office setting. The banter, the tea-making, the gossip, the brainstorming...
#16 - October 07, 2010, 07:29 PM

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Oh, me too, Siski! I miss the old watercooler,... the real kind, not the virtual kind. I mean.... I still wouldn't trade it for the world cuz I just love working alone and do what I do,... but... I miss running out to lunch with friends, sneaking out to Starbucks (sneaking,... since I had a boss once)... the creative mtgs, and even going through slush. I miss getting dressed in professional clothes, putting make up on,... brushing my teeth (just kidding!!!). (But there's a lot I DON'T miss, too... like yucky office politics and time sheets.)

But it sure helps to have found this board to make some connections. I've stopped talking to my pencils... which is always good.  :duh

#17 - October 07, 2010, 07:37 PM

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Salina, so true! I brought all my work clothes with me when we came to the UK from the UK and just recently gave it all away. I just never had a reason to wear the stuff, even though I loved it! I figured someone else would get more out of it and it's freed up space in my wardrobe too.

I agree, the board is a life-saver in that regard too. I really think I might have lost the plot by now had I not found my way here and met everyone!
#18 - October 07, 2010, 08:34 PM

ladylind

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How long is the course?
#19 - October 08, 2010, 02:03 PM

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It's left somewhat open-ended, particularly if you live abroad (the college is in London, England). They say it usually takes students a year, but they allow people abroad longer (to take into account the extra mailing time for the stuff you send to your tutor).

I must add that this is NOT a course where you end up with some kind of serious professionally recognised qualification. You get a diploma but it's not like studying art for a degree or to graduate or anything. It's ideal for someone like me, I think. I can paint, I can draw, but I want to learn more, and I need someone or something to provide the discipline side of it (expert critiques, requiring the next brief to be submitted etc). At the end of the course, I'll have a bunch of illustrations that I can proudly display on my wall at home... For someone else who is already skilled, they may well feel confident enough to approach publishing houses by the end of it. I've seen some illustrators take the course and get work afterwards but these were people who I'd describe as being able to illustrate children's books BEFORE they took the course. So what you get out of it kind of depends what stage you're at when you get into it.
#20 - October 08, 2010, 06:59 PM

ladylind

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Very cool!  I wish you the best of luck with it.  I hope you'll share your work with us on the board...or maybe in a website ;)
#21 - October 09, 2010, 07:36 AM

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SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Got my first critique for the first 'brief' set on my children's illustration course and the course tutor really liked my stuff! She pointed out things I'd done really well (colours, shapes, use of white space, directing the viewer's eye to the main object of the story, careful finishing and so on) and didn't really have anything bad to say at all! She even said I appeared to have a 'style', something I've never thought I had.

Obviously she's paid to be nice, not horrible, but I was expecting far more criticism. Maybe she's just easing me in... and on the next brief I'll get hammered. Oh well, I'll enjoy this moment while it lasts!
#22 - October 15, 2010, 06:54 AM

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 :yay Siski!  That's such awesome feedback, whether she's easing in or not!  Keep it up!   :goldstar
#23 - October 15, 2010, 12:40 PM

ladylind

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That's exciting...and I bet you are being too hard on yourself.  Take the praise!!!  Believe it.
#24 - October 15, 2010, 04:46 PM

jenniferfisher

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Just wanted to chime in and say  :congratulations Siski for acting on your muse and staying with the process. I think we as writers (and illustrators) need to remember that when we share, we may be lifting others up. I know that's how it works for me. I may be trudging along and come to a path that seems like a scary new venture. Your experiences give me that little umph to take a chance.
 :thankyou
#25 - October 15, 2010, 05:02 PM

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Awww, you guys. Warm fuzzies to you.  :sheep (Closest thing I could come up with.)
#26 - October 15, 2010, 07:22 PM

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He he, I showed my husband the critique I got and he pointed out that even the best piece of artwork could be improved, and that if my tutor didn't give me an pointers/criticisms, how would I improve?

Er, he has a very good point. I can see things I could have done to improve it, why didn't she point those things out? Hmm. Let's hope she is easing me in and the next critique will be constructive.
#27 - October 16, 2010, 08:29 AM

ladylind

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That may be the case.  You may mention to her that you would like an absolutely honest critique.  I often do that with my critique partners so that they know they don't have to go easy on me.  It's hard to tell what kind of criticism people can take in the beginning because you don't want to crush their spirit.  It's a fine line.  I still brew about a tough crit...but by the next day...(and after a good pout) I'm ready to make changes.  That's great that you are ready for the tough crit...it'll get you farther faster. 
#28 - October 16, 2010, 05:01 PM

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You pout, Melster? Really? And here I thought you were the toughest chick around!!

How do you find the assignments so far, Siski? Do you get to look at all the course assignments in advance, or do they assign the next one after they return the first one? Or is it more of a series of works, so you can really practice illustrating the same characters in different ways? And how expensive is expensive? In the hundreds or the thousands? I'd love to take a course, but the small town I live in offers nothing. Do they concentrate more on composition or do they also focus on media techniques? (sorry for the inquisition!)

And congrats on your first critique!! She may get tougher after she knows how you react, but I think you'd be able to tell if the praise wasn't merited! You're probably a lot more skilled than you give yourself credit for!
#29 - October 17, 2010, 10:46 AM
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Good inquisition Artem.!  I want to know too.  and yes I have a good pout now and again.
I only show you my hardheadedness ;)
#30 - October 17, 2010, 11:06 AM

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