Raincoast Books sent me a great book to review called Illustration Workshop. This is a practical book filled with inspiration and exercises to delight those looking for some creative fun as well as educate those looking to broaden their skills as they look towards a career as an illustrator. If you want to create attention-grabbing work, this workshop will help you.
I’m going to tell you right up front… I really like this book. There is a firm appreciation for good teaching up front. I love the loads of exercises that the reader is walked through. The graphics and the step by step teaching, and the checklist at the end of lesson is simply marvellous. Great for the student who really wants to learn, and yet loose enough to attract those who just want to get better at something they love without the pressure to do it as a professional … learning but keeping it fun.
Now on to the nitty gritty.
What do you get?
The section illustrating like an illustrator walks you through the ideas of illustrating… from what illustrating is to how to combine concept with style, targeting your audience and more. Well written text that explains each thought simply yet thoroughly. Could lots more the said about each topic? Sure, but there is enough to get you started on your own journey of discovery.
Materials, bright and colourful section with some basic information given to help you determine what your needs are. Each type of implement with it’s pros and cons.
The next section walks us through the steps taken through each of the 36 assignments given. Given examples of how to complete each section so you end up with illustrations that you are happy with.
It is rather nice I think, that the author includes a section on how to do some of your drawings using computer software. She urges the illustrator to complete work by hand as it takes longer but gives you more control, helps you improve your ability to draw and helps you to be more thoughtful about your work. Digitizing your work means it is easier to play around with your colour palette and to make incremental changes more easily.
The Warm up section was just plain fun. Different ideas to get you thinking creatively from using scribbles to make a drawing, using hatch marks to create an image, using shapes to make a picture and more.
The 36 assignments were created to take away the “what on earth do I draw” dilemma. This gives people an actual project to work on. Call them, if you will, 36 mini projects to give the budding professional illustrator confidence in approaching a paid project of their own. These assignments cover such topics as greeting cards, book covers, bottle packaging, and hankerchiefs. Interesting assignments to delight you the illustrator.
Each assignment follows a similar format:
The assignment page. This page includes with the requirements of the assignment clearly given.
The next steps include thoughts the illustrator might have on the assignment. All these steps help the illustrator come up with ideas to help them create the product needed.
Each of the following steps walks the illustrator through the necessary steps to complete their final product. Brainstorming through text and drawings, developing your concept, creating thumbnails, making rough sketches, and then revising your sketch til it’s about where you want it.
A lovely checklist is provided for each of the assignments, giving you a way to double check that you have completed each of the steps before you finalize your project.
The final step gives you a chance to have fun with your project, choosing your best writing/drawing medium, surface to use, colours needed and so forth. It’s where all your research and activity comes to a conclusion.
At the close of the book are a number of practice sheets where an illustrator can improve their skills drawing some specific targets like hands, bikes, people wearing a gorilla suit, and animals. A chance to practice lettering to demonstrate emotions like fear, energy, and playfulness. These pages allow people to play around with drawing trees, people, buildings and more. Improve skills and just keep drawing.
This well-laid out book gives the illustrator a chance to build for themselves a small portfolio that they can use to showcase their work. It allows the novice art student to experience what an illustrator needs to do in order to be successful and to improve their skills.This well-laid out book gives the illustrator a chance to build for themselves a small portfolio that they can use to showcase their work. It allows the just for fun learner to experience what an illustrator needs to do in order to be… Click To Tweet
An excellent book for novice and seasoned illustrator alike.
Find your style, practice drawing skills, and build a stellar portfolio.
Mary Kate McDevitt
Art, Illustration, Workshop, Drawing
Softcover, 192 pages
Reviewed for Raincoast Books.
Where to find: Amazon Link.