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How Do You Get Started As An Illustrator Without A Degree?

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I can’t really afford a degree at the moment, and I draw pretty well, but I don’t know the rules of illustration.  Is there a website out there that offers a basic overview?  How do I know when I’m ready to be an illustrator?
#1 - January 04, 2019, 06:45 AM

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I'm sure you'll get an illustrator response soon, but here are some basics from an author. Your SCBWI region may have an illustrator coordinator who can help you find critique partners, workshops, and places to look for general advice. (If not, ask the RA if there are illustration groups or events planned.) It's also important that you practice your craft. Sketch as often as you can. Loose sketches are fine as starters. Start to figure out what you're good at and what needs work, so you know how to build on your strengths and weaknesses. Even if you can't get a degree, you may find inexpensive courses for continuing education students at universities and libraries or online.

Another tip is to copy the masters. Look at picture books and think about how the illustrator composed each spread. Consider line and color. How was the tone achieved? What parts speak to you and why? Conversely are there any illustrations or styles you don't connect with? Why? This can help you hone in on your own style and on what works and what doesn't in general. Take a page of text and create you own vision of it and compare it to the original.

A Google search for illustration blogs may also help. All of these can help you grow as an artist. Knowing when you're ready to put your work out there is harder to judge, but critique partners may help with this. Hopefully, I've given you a start to your journey. Enjoy the ride!
#2 - January 04, 2019, 06:19 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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It'll be a journey.  Your first goal should be to develop a strong portfolio.  If it's good enough, it won't matter about your lack of art degree.  The SCBWI illustrator critique groups, youTube tutorials, local artist groups, art classes at your local community college, and studying picture books at your local library can all help. 
#3 - January 04, 2019, 07:10 PM
Karen B. Jones

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If you're stuck for subject matter, you might try participating in an online illustration prompt. 

SCBWI has this one:  https://www.scbwi.org/calling-all-illustrators-2/ 
Or you could do Illustration Friday. http://illustrationfriday.com/
Or, when October rolls around, there's Inktober.  https://inktober.com/
#4 - January 04, 2019, 07:25 PM
Karen B. Jones

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Debbie and Karen have given great advice!
I especially like this, still do it to this day...
Quote
Another tip is to copy the masters. Look at picture books and think about how the illustrator composed each spread.

Borrow, borrow, borrow, take out arm fulls of books from the library and really study the art, the movement, the characters, the perspective the Illustrators use. Their use of full background details and/or their use of white background space.
Find out if your regional chapters Illustrators have get togethers, sometimes called "sketch and scrawl" or crawls.
Some published Illustrators have art degrees but just as many don't (I'm in the latter group) But what all have in common is, like the old question: "how do I get to Carnagie Hall?".... A: Practice, practice, practice :)
#5 - January 05, 2019, 01:40 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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Create live   has a good membership where you can get  lesson and tips for less then a degree i think
#6 - January 05, 2019, 05:37 AM

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I started from the same place as you. Kidlit411 is an amazing free resource (under the For Illustrators tab) - you'll find links to everything you need to know. 
Get into a routine - make art on at least a weekly basis. Play. Don't fret too much about style - you will develop one.
I took Mark Mitchell's class as a newbie - it is fantastic with personalized feedback. SVSlearn has lots of great videos if you subscribe for a year. Their youtube videos are great too
 
#7 - January 05, 2019, 07:02 AM
https://marlalesage.com/
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I wrote an article about the path illustrators take. It has an overview of steps to take, and links at the bottom to other articles that might be helpful:
https://sruble.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-path-illustrators-take-to-get-their.html

And this article has advice for illustrators just starting out and talks about the different areas of illustrating for children:
https://sruble.blogspot.com/2017/01/if-you-just-want-to-illustrate-and-not.html

Good Luck!
#8 - January 11, 2019, 09:48 PM
Site - http://sruble.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/StephanieRuble

picture book: EWE AND AYE (now available as an ebook!)

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Thanks, y’all.
#9 - January 12, 2019, 04:56 AM

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