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The Illustration Thread

Hi all,

I am a 42 year old father of 3, who has been married for 11 years. I started out in catering, then went into accounts, where I spent 17 years boring the pants off myself, before leaving, moving away op north and starting my own cheesecake company.

I am looking more at Photography, Art and Illustation more of a hobby. I have no idea where to start, but feel I have a good eye for things when I see them, with regards to light and depth.

I was looking for some pointers, or what things I should buy to get me started and any courses that I could get on, with zero experience? I hope you guys can help.

Oh I am also a massive music fan, of mainly Rock/Metal. Metallica, Foo Fighters, MUSE, Avenged Sevenfold.......

Looking forward to speaking more with you guys.



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Thanks Scotty! I think I've gotten the basic technique for digital painting down as far as I can take it on its own now. For my next personal project I think I'd like to work on composition, atmosphere and storytelling and for that I'll need to create something totally original, not fan art.


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Thanks @scotty! I think I was attempting not to neglect my old cartoony style with this one, but develop it with some comic-style "cut & grad" rendering. Plus some other colour techniques I've picked up recently.
You can probably guess what my YouTube playlist looks like, I bet.


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Are you doing a lot more of this kind of stuff in your new role?
It's just that your work as just got SO much better recently even though it was great before.


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No, sadly they've had me doing more graphic design than illustration for at least a year. Since Illustration is a pretty niche job, I'm using personal projects to keep my portfolio fresh and improve specific skills.


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Yep mate. It is a bit of a niche and an over saturated one at that.
I try to combine them a bit to make a happy medium.

Glad to see you're pushing your illustration though as that'd be a real waste.
With Graphic Design (as Morrissey said) "It pays my way but it corrodes my soul".

Just don't tell any of the GD's I said that. Okay? :censored: ;)


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Haha your secret's safe with me mate.
Illustration is my core strength and I'd like to pursue it, my portfolio really isn't built for getting me any other kind of work! Well, maybe game UI.


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In all honesty I think the two can complement each other really well.
When I first studied the two were almost part of the same role but then they got divided.
Designers designed and Illustrators, well....

Now the two seem to be coming together again.

I used to work in GD roles but always did my illustration on the side.
Eventually I got to working at a greetings/gift company where yes, I got to do a lot of illustration but it was other other peoples style/characters and you can only draw so many teddy bears before losing the plot. ;)


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Ha yeah, I can understand a similar feeling with christmas elves!
I'm currently really intrigued by how people and studios PRESENT their work, especially on websites like Behance and the like. I've seen them, instead of just uploading a series of images of the work, actually create a single long image that presents the work in a cohesive way. It works especially well for games, where backgrounds and characters surround the screenshots (shown on devices) etc.

Here is an excellent example of this approach: https://www.behance.net/gallery/27004565/Jungle-Jam

I'd like to spend some time to present my own work in a way that makes more of each project like this, which should stretch my graphic design skills a bit more. I need a week off work so I can do some work, haha.


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I've been on Behance for years but I just used to upload stuff and that it as an easy, secondary portfolio.

I've found recently that there's a bit of a formula if you want to get noticed though. (Not that I'm actually following it).

People like to read a bit of a story of the project as essentially they want to learn about what caught their eye and also development work like sketches.
They say around 20 images is ideal.

Those long images work well for info graphics and games like the example.
I did something like that myself for t-shirt designs.
Other main thing is to put up an appealing cover image which sounds obvious.

I've recently found by accident, the way to get appreciations, views and followers is to appreciate, follow and comment on other users in a selective way.
If someone who has a lot of followers returns the favour then your exposure goes WAY up.

On Behance I get a dribble of views and followers but a while back I followed someone who's work I liked and they followed me back.
Turned out they had a lot of followers and the next day I had something like 90 appreciations and followers.

I'm not very good at playing the social media game but this one was pretty obvious.



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That's a really nice, smart setup you've put together for your t-shirt designs @scotty, top stuff.

I've been getting to grips with social media over the last wear or so. In June 2015 I had 55 followers on Instagram, and had been on the platform a couple of years. Thanks partly to my Mario mashups and other digital painting posts, I've just recently gone past the 800 followers mark. The biggest jumps came when someone who had a lot of followers and looked for nerdy artwork would share my stuff.

But no-one offers you a job based on your Instagram followers haha. I've recently pointed my website URL to my Behance portfolio (used to be my Artstation one) so would like to get those numbers up. Thanks for the advice!


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Bechance has become the go to place for those looking for creatives.
When I get mood boards from clients or companies they're often images and links from/to Behance profiles.


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Well that's good to know! I've been wracking my brains for quite some time what to use as a "main" website. I killed off my Squarespace site about a year ago and have been swinging between WIX, Artstation and Behance... and settled on the latter about a week ago so that I could enjoy both a professional presentation to my work and a community that is both lively and suitable to my style of work. Artstation seems to have a focus on 3D and concept work but is full of talented people with incredible skills... unfortunately some of them are dedicated solely to perfect the art of drawing boobs. A little immature in my opinion.

Behance has a more bussiness-like population, though the artwork is a little more commercial to look at. Thanks for confirming my gut feeling on the place!


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LOL! I was just on Behance. :D

Yes it's a lot more commercial but it starts to behave a bit more like Pinterest when you connect with people who make work that you like because you see what they're liking and so on.
That's the key to getting exposure I'm starting to realise.