Friday, 10 February 2012

Paul J Bartlett - response 2


I don't think the personalised URL is necessarily important to a client, but it is easier to remember and cleaner to fit on say, a business card.
I have been working as an ad agency/design shop art director for eight years or so, and have only been freelancing for a few months. It's been going well, but I have gotten all of my projects through either referrals/people that I know or sending my website link to creative directors via email... but again, that's all been more
design/branding work than illustration, which you are solely focused on, right?

Illustration has been something I've squeezed into my projects at work or done for fun on the side, so unfortunately I can't offer you much advice in the realm of being a successful freelance illustrator. I don't know if you're familiar with the book "How to be an illustrator" by Darrel Rees, but it's a good one to check out.

As for a critique on your art itself, my main comment is "more." More more more. There should be at least ten strong pieces to show your range or how you push your style in different ways. Maybe you're working on that... I'm most interested in the stitching/mixed media stuff. I like the lady bug and the mouse. I think the contrast of the chunks on white works better than the ones with painted backgrounds (the uganda stuff) which kind of flattens out. The scarab I think is not especially strong as an illustration and the type on that poster brings it down even more. I'd cut that one from your book. (Hope this isn't too harsh, just one man's opinion). But yeah, with the stitching stuff, I think you've got something there, I'd just like to see you push it farther. And don't be afraid to use the computer more to clean things up (rough edges or bits of dirt around the lady bug). I love seeing raw, gritty textures but if it doesn't look purposeful (like a bit of frayed edge in one spot on the ladybug) then it just looks like something extra the scanner picked up. Love the detail of the lips on the ladybug. As the father of a two-year-old girl, I can totally picture a children's book in the style of your ladybug and mouse. Reminds me a bit of the great Eric Carle.

So... not sure if that was helpful/annoying/what you had in mind. But please keep pushing yourself. And let me know if you'd like to keep this conversation going.

By the way, did you ever make a Wizard of Oz cover?




608 444-1504 <>

Paul's comments about the URL looking cleaner are definitely true. I think I would feel more professional and proud to have my own URL, it would be like making this thing official. As for the amount of work he's gained from the web presence, it looks pretty slim, it seems like the old phrase of 'it's not what you know but who you know' applies here. The amount of experience and no doubt contacts he's accrued over that time is vastly helpful too.
This theme of 'more' has cropped up more than once in feedback, not just from professionals currently working in the industry but from tutors too. Good job I've got some competition stuff lined up to do on the side of college work this semester. I think what tends to happen with me more often than not is if I haven;t spent a certain amount of time on a particular piece of work I don;t think it's going to be any good. The Wizard of Oz re-covered work that Paul relates to further down in his email only took me three days to produce however because I had to push myself in order to meet the quickly advancing deadline. I really like the finished product, as for others opinions, as yet I do not know, it's just been me working away in my study on it (hopefully the critique will be more positive than critical though).
Again there is this flux between designers preferring the painterly stuff against the mixed media work. Here Paul Bartlett prefers the mixed media work where on Wednesday Paul Reardon preferred the painterly work. Though I do agree with the critique on the characters working well on the the white chunks, the ladybird and mouse are my favorites of that technique too. I like the scarab which he doesn't think is overly strong, I think it just needs something more doing with it, though the comment on the poster and type is wholly agreeable (I do struggle with type being an illustrator anyway, I need to employ a typographer to do those bits for me). I enjoy working with the stitch so I'm glad he likes that part.
I'm not used to working with the computer so much as I prefer to work manually, but the comment about utilising software to polish the images is true. I looked on my website earlier and the dirt that the scanner picked up on the ladybird is quite embarrassing. I need to get round to taking that off and polishing it, pronto! Being compared to Eric Carle is a certain compliment and I'm not too coy to accept that - cheers!
If Paul would be interested in keeping our dialogue up I'd be into that, I need as much help as I can get now I'm about to embark upon the difficult journey of transition from undergraduate to graduate. So a big thanks to Paul for his feedback, it is exactly what I was looking for, there was nothing I felt that was harsh there only honest! Honesty is the best policy, I can't learn anything from praise, I'm only seeking criticism.

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