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It’s convention season! Last month I attended Wizard World: Austin for the first time. This past weekend was New York Comic Con and next week is IlluxCon. So very fitting this morning I received a terrific email from young illustrator Allie Briggs. Allie is going to attend her first comic con convention as an exhibiting artist and had some great questions that I think will be of help to many of you, so with Allie’s permission I am answering this here on the blog.

First the email:

Hi Kiri,
I have been following your work since I saw you on the first time on 1FW. I love your style and your colors and your con setups. I was hoping that I could ask you for some advice since I just saw that you were at NYCC.

I am taking a dive into conventions this year and selling for the first time at RICC. It has grown immensely over the past two years and it seems like a good time to start. If you have any tips and tricks I would love to hear about your experience/ be pointed to a blog post if you already put something up covering most of your con experience.

Do themes help attract people to the table? I noticed you always have some decor to keep the table cute.

How tall are your metal table top displays?

I found a decently priced set on amazon that is about 15 inches high with three tiers. I wasn’t sure if that was too short. Do you find your taller ones getting in the way sometimes when communicating with people?

Do you have prices listed immediately where people can see them, or do you prefer to put them on the back and hand them out so people can hold the item and inspect it?

How much cash should be ready for change? And would it be easier to deposit the profit after each day and keep the drawer at a flat amount, like a store?

Would it be wise to have on spot commissions? I have a table helper, but I am worried about table crowding. I know Pete mentioned something about that being a problem even when it comes to showing available prints via a portfolio. Thoughts?

I could probably go on forever. But that seems like a good chunk of my worries. Thank you so much for your time! And I wish you the best with all of your amazing adorable work!

Artist Table Display at Wizard World: Austin

Do themes help attract people to the table? Yes they do! Themes help your table stand out from the masses and attracts like-minded people who are fans of your theme. Match your theme to your artwork, make it a full experience for people to visit your table, even match your clothes to it! (I usually do this though I didn’t get to at Wizard World: Austin because we were in the middle of moving into a new house so everything was in boxes.)

How tall are your metal table top displays? I found a decently priced set on amazon that is about 15 inches high with three tiers. I wasn’t sure if that was too short. Do you find your taller ones getting in the way sometimes when communicating with people?
Most of my table top displays are about 18″, a great place to pick these up is at, here are links to some of my favourite displays:
Rotating Postcard Display

Do you have prices listed immediately where people can see them, or do you prefer to put them on the back and hand them out so people can hold the item and inspect it?
Yes, put clear prices on each item so it is the first thing people see. When I shop myself I get annoyed if the prices aren’t clearly displays and I will pass by booths where I can’t see the price.

How much cash should be ready for change? And would it be easier to deposit the profit after each day and keep the drawer at a flat amount, like a store?
I usually bring about $200 in change. $30 in 1s, $70 in 5s and the rest in 10s. I keep it in an envelope but a cash box would be a better option. I deposit after the convention so I can get a total on my sales. It’s also important to offer the option to pay by credit card. Your cellphone can easily help you out with this, look into Square or Paypal Here to accept credit cards. I personally prefer Paypal.

Would it be wise to have on spot commissions? I have a table helper, but I am worried about table crowding. I know Pete mentioned something about that being a problem even when it comes to showing available prints via a portfolio. Thoughts?
It depends how good you are at drawing on the spot, my trusty convention buddy Betsy Peterschmidt makes the majority of her convention income on commissions on the spot because she’s quick and awesome at doing this. I personally do not do commissions at all, because I don’t draw well in a convention setting, I get stressed out and it ruins the convention experience for me.

Spot commissions can serve to both attract people and be a great conversation starter, but it can also turn people away if you are sitting and looking down, instead of making eye contact with people who pass by. Experiment with it though and find out what works for you!


I hope these tips were helpful, if you would like more convention tips please check out the Convention & Shows category here on the blog and feel free to drop any questions you may have in the comments!

  • Listening to: Dragon Age Soundtrack
  • Drinking: Coffee
Autumn Moving Sale Banner



Hello all!
I’m excited to share this treat with you. I just moved into a new art studio, so I am having a big Autumn Moving Sale. Many items in the Art Shop have been discounted and on top of that you get 10% off your entire order with coupon code HALLOWEEN.

I have also released a series of new prints from Year of the Unicorn, so if you have been holding out for the Unicorns and wasdisappointed by recent news, here is your chance to get your hands on at least a few of them.



  • Listening to: Dragon Age Soundtrack
  • Drinking: Coffee
8 Tips to Boost your Blog

Today’s post is going to be bite sized. As BuzzFeed has taught the internet everyone loves lists, right? So here’s a list of tips to help you boost your blog.


1. Less is more

Keep your blog posts to 250 – 750 words. Less is often better because most people tend to skim, rather than read. Use headlines and stand out quotes to make it easy for people to quickly garner interest.


2. Add your name to your images

Add your name to the title of all images you post. If people save the images from your site it’s easier to find you again when your name is in the title. This is especially a bonus for art directors or collectors who may be saving hundreds of images.


3. Schedule

Schedule your blog. Consistency is key, if your audience knows you blog every Friday; they will stop by your blog every Friday. The more frequently you blog the quicker you will grow your audience provided your content is good.


4. Proof read!

Always be sure to proof read!


5. Reply to Comments

Reply to comments! Even brief ones. You want to build engagement around your blog so you have to engage your audience and let them know you appreciate their engagement in return. On that note also consider ending your blog posts on a thank you. Make your readers feel appreciated.


6. Learn SEO

Learn how to use SEO, remember to tag your blog post with keywords such as: illustration, art, your name ie. If you don’t know what SEO is, research it on google.


7. Presentation matters!

Make sure your image quality is top notch. No one likes to look at blurry, gritty, unfocused images. If you use photos make sure they are GOOD photos. If you do not know how, learn how – the internet is full of tutorials so you don’t have a valid excuse. If you post sketches, make sure it’s a good scan/crop ie. As with your portfolio your presentation should always look inviting and professional!


8. Build interest

Consider how you can make your blog a part of your illustration business strategy. What can you do to get people interested and subscribe? One idea could be sweepstakes – everyone loves free stuff. Consider giveaways of sketches, free prints, postcards or something alike.

Thank you for reading and I hope you found this helpful!

  • Listening to: Dragon Age Soundtrack
  • Drinking: Coffee
Month of Love Header

February is here and that means Month of Love Art challenge!

For those unfamiliar with Month of Love, it is a weekly art challenge centered around the theme of love. Every day throughout February a new piece of art based on the a weekly topic is posted on the Month of Love website.

Kristina Carroll has been busy at work rallying illustrators and artists for the upcoming month and it is a fantastic line up.

It is an open challenge however and if you are interested in joining all you have to do is share your art on twitter using the hashtag #MonthOfLove – If you are wondering what the benefit of participating is for you as an artist, I wrote a blog post on that here.

Here are the topics for this year’s challenge:

1. Heroes (Feb 1-7)
Heroes, Protagonists and Idols. Who do you love to see kick ass and/or chew bubblegum?

2. Lost in Translation (Feb 8-14)
The Language of Love has many dialects. Sometimes we’re fluent and other times… it’s all Greek.

3. Weapons (Feb 15-21)
Cupid’s arrows, Menalaus’ thousand ships, Romeo and Juliet’s dagger… Love is war: choose your Weapon.

4. Fantasy (Feb 22-28)
Lloyd Alexander said: “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” How does “fantasy” (in any definition) relate to love or affect the meaning of love for you?

Month of Love
Month of Love on Every Day Original
Women in Fantasy Illustration: Kristina Carroll

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2015 Summary of Art by Kiri Østergaard Leonard:
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.``
- Abraham Lincoln

Dear Reader,
It is that time of the year again; the New Year. A time where we reflect back upon the year that was. It might have been good, it might have been dreadful (I sincerely hope it has been a good one for you). Common for all of us is the hope that the New Year willbe better, and we will do more, achieve more and be happier. 

The holidays are often a time of melancholy for me, perhaps it is similar to you? My personality is often grounded in nostalgic memories rather than in reality. This feeling often comes with a sense of longing towards a childhood feeling that once was, but never can be again and an explicable feeling of loss. With every moment we change in one way or another, whether we want to or not. Time has that effect. I think these are topics I often revisit in my artwork as well.

The nostalgia may be a result of the past being so well known makes it comfortable, while the future being unknown seem so frightening (but also exciting).  Abraham Lincoln once said: “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” I take great comfort in that. For all our wants and desires, for our fears of not achieving our full potential, it is a valuable reminder. If it only one day at a time, it is manageable. With one day at a time we can take little daily steps towards a better tomorrow.

It returns us to the here and now, we can only exist right now. Not in the past, nor in the future, so my hope for the New Year is that you will have many glorious “now”s. Breathe it in and live, love and laugh.

Happy New Year to you and thank you for taking time our of your day to read my journal.

  • Listening to: Pandora Radio
  • Drinking: Coffee

This image shows a draw done by Kiri Østergaard Leonard in 2005 compared to one done 10 years later in 2015.

Hello lovely people! Here is something wonderful you should definitely check out: In an effort to encourage art students Illustrator Kelley McMorris has started a new Tumblr called: Anyone Can Improve At Drawing.

The blog shows “before” and “after” example of the artwork of many different people across the internet. Along with the Tumblr you should also check out the hashtag #AnyoneCanImproveAtDrawing on twitter. It’s really incredible to see some of the leaps some of these artists have made with time, it serves as a great reminder that if you put in the time and effort you will improve.

Everyone is invited to submit their work, so please feel free to join the fun!

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Art Schools have been under frequent attack for their steep tuition costs in recent years which naturally lead many students to question whether attending art school is really worth it. There are a variety of opinions on this subject and personally I think it's up to the individual to determine whether art school is for them or not.

Photo of Kiri Østergaard Leonard and Elizabeth Daddazio
Elizabeth Daddazio and Kiri Østergaard Leonard at the Pratt Institute Campus, 2011

My experience with attending Pratt Institute for a year was without question one of the best year's of my life, but if experiences teaches us one thing it is that it differs from person to person.

Some people have the time of their lives in situations where others are miserable. Therefore I don't want to tell you to do one thing or another but I do want to tell you there are alternatives to obtaining a well rounded art education.

"I would recommend college for any aspiring children who want to grow into adults, but not necessarily for artists, if finances are an issue."
- Rebecca Yanovskaya

The benefits of online art schools and Mentorships

The internet is ripe with many intriguing alternatives for boosting your artistic abilities. There are a wide selection of Mentorships with professional artists as well as online art schools, academies and ateliers where you pick and choose your classes and programs dependent on which area you need the most help in.

Studying under professional artists can really boost your skill level, so if you feel stuck or confused about your art career it's a wonderful opportunity to move forward.

"Maybe the best advice I got was to sign up for SmART School?!" - Elisabeth Alba


Please read the full article here:…
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  • Drinking: Coffee

On my last day of college I stood and looked unhappily at a wall filled with my drawings, I turned to my professor and I asked him: “What can I use this for other than gallery work?” He gave me a confused look and responded he didn’t understand what I meant.

It took me a few years after that to figure out the answer for myself and these options below are but a few. There are surely many more possibilities out there, but here are some ideas to what you can do with your artwork. Be warned all of these options take time to become proficient enough in that you can make a living, but having a focus is the best beginning.

You can:

  1. Become a gallery artist (Fine art: Abstract, Landscape, Portrait and more)
  2. Illustrate Children’s Books (Board books/Picture books)
  3. Illustrate educational books
  4. Illustrate Young Adult Books (interior illustrations/cover illustrations)
  5. Illustrate for magazines. Pick whichever genre that fits your artwork, look up magazines within the theme, submit your work.
  6. Illustrate board games (Monster, Map and Character Design)
  7. Illustrate Computer Games (Concept Art, Character Design)
  8. Illustrate for Movies (Animation, Concept Art, Character Design)
  9. Illustrate medical books (Realistic anatomical drawing)
  10. Illustrate Botanical books (Realistic plant/flower drawing)
  11. Illustrate book covers (Pick a genre ie. Fantasy, Sci-fi and so on)
  12. Blog illustration (Help writers build a brand for their blogs)
  13. Logo illustration
  14. Open a Zazzle or Etsy store: build your own illustration brand and sell your work.
  15. Paint pets for people! (A girl I know is very successful painting large scale cat portraits.)
  16. Paint babies for people!
  17. Illustrate Colouring Books for Children
  18. Illustrate card games (ie. Magic the Gathering)
  19. Illustrate Tarot Cards
  20. Illustrate Paper Dolls
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  • Drinking: Coffee
This post is one of a (work in progress) four part series:
Contacting Art Directors: Part I – Marc Scheff
Contacting Art Directors: Part II – Jon Schindehette
Contacting Art Directors: Part III – Lauren Panepinto
Contacting Art Directors: Part IV – Mike Linnemann

To summarize from last post, this is a blog series to help art students as well as new artists familiarize themselves with the best ways to go about contacting art directors, when starting out as an illustrator. The goal is not to be a nuisance and make a good impression.
In order to give you a well rounded perspective I asked a handful of art directors to answer 10 questions on the topic. First was Marc Scheff from Tree House Brand Stores and next up we have highly regarded Wizards of the Coast Art Director Jon Schindehette. Enjoy!

1. What is your preferred method of communication if a new artist is looking to make contact and why? (ie. Postcards/email/phone/facebook/meeting in person)
ArtDrop(at) – send 3-4 jogs, and a link to online portfolio (message cannot exceed 6mb)
Also like postcards with contact info and url to portfolio.

2. Social media is becoming increasingly popular amongst artists as a tool for networking, how do you feel about artists befriending you on Facebook? Is there a right and a wrong way to go about it?
I don't have an issue if their friend, prefer just subscribing though. And never, ever, contact me with a request for a portfolio or sample review.
Also, never tag me in any image that I didn't directly take part in the development of.


Please read the full article here:…
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  • Drinking: Coffee
As a young or new artist it can be intimidating to start contacting Art Directors, it is however a necessary part of the job if you want to make a living as a freelance artist. One of the more frequent concerns I have encountered from other artists and myself as well is how to contact them without being a nuisance. Naturally when asking for a job you want to come off as professional and make a good impression, rather than turning them off right away.

I asked a handful of art directors to answer 10 questions about their preferred method of communication with artists. I'll be posting one interview at a time over the next month. Starting out with Marc Scheff who is an Art Director for Tree House Brand Stores. These interviews will be packed with good information on how to show your best side, so stay tuned and enjoy!

This post is one of a (work in progress) four part series:

Contacting Art Directors: Part I – Marc Scheff
Contacting Art Directors: Part II – Jon Schindehette
Contacting Art Directors: Part III – Lauren Panepinto
Contacting Art Directors: Part IV – Mike Linnemann

1. What is your preferred method of communication if a new artist is looking to make contact and why? (ie. Postcards/email/phone/facebook/meeting in person)
I have a form that new artists can use to send me a sample for consideration. I look at 100% of the submissions that come in, and categorize submissions into a few folders on my computer. When I need new talent, I look through most of them again. The form is here:
Other than that, I prefer email with a link or links to work. It's easy, and it saves trees.

2. Social media is becoming increasingly popular amongst artists as a tool for networking, how do you feel about artists befriending you on Facebook? Is there a right and a wrong way to go about it?
Twitter and my Facebook page are the best places to connect with me. I accept friend requests if we have actually met, and I don't share anything professional on my personal page anyway. I'm on there almost all the time, so I don't miss much.


Please read the full Art Director Interview with Marc Scheff here:…
  • Listening to: Pandora Radio
  • Drinking: Coffee
1. As an artist your first loyalty is to your art. Unless this is the case, you're going to be a second-rate artist. "
- Margaret Atwood
2. You must master fundamentals, but you can never do so by watching another man paint."
- Andrew Loomis, Figure Drawing for All it's Worth

3. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely."
- Oscar Wilde

4. The practice of art is not to make a living, It is to make your soul grow."
- Kurt Vonnegut

5. Nothing is original. This is good because humans are forgetful. We need to be told things often and in different ways to remember."
- Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

6. Only you can give the world your unique viewpoint."
- Neil Gaiman
7. Allow yourself to feel good about your work. Otherwise there is no point to doing it. If you never feel good about it, then you are just torturing yourself and then it is not worth it."
- Unknown

8. Only by struggling courageously against what seem like overwhelming odds can man succeed in wringing meaning out of his existence."
- Freud

9. Stop looking at other people's artwork for reference, instead look at photos and find your own style."
- Sam Wolfe Connelly

10. Make Good Art."
- Neil Gaiman
  • Listening to: Pandora Radio
  • Drinking: Coffee

Sometimes it just takes a while to get it right.

In early 2011 I began a piece I back then called 'Fairy' - I had an idea of this alien looking woman staring into the vast emptiness with a slightly lost look on her face. Her main feature was to be her brilliant blue eyes. I started the piece and I had fun with it for a little while but then I got incredibly frustrated because I was unable to transfer the image in my head onto the wacom tablet.

The early, abandoned piece.
The early, abandoned piece.

A year later I was looking through my folder of pieces from 2011 and found the abandoned file. I decided to pick up on it again and see if I could make something of it. At first I felt inspired by an old German Oil Painting by Christian Seybold (1695-1768) - a portrait of an old woman.

Alte Frau by Christian Seybold (1695-1768)
Alte Frau by Christian Seybold (1695-1768)

I turned the "fairy" into an old Avalon priestess instead and made it more of a portrait study.

Early stages of the Avalon Priestess.
Early stages of the Avalon Priestess.

Although there was some improvement I was still struggling a lot, I just couldn't get the face proportions correct despite multiple references so I ended up abandoning the piece again, at least for a while.

About four months later I was working on my Trollkin calendar project, my time was limited to get it finished in time for Christmas so I was looking for possible "shortcuts" to get a good looking finished piece I could be proud of into the calendar, which is when I came across the abandoned piece again. So I picked it up again. I decided to go back to the original image size instead of a mere portrait, and this time - despite struggling, I worked my way through the tough hurdles. My husband helped me take some new reference images for the piece and after a couple of weeks of determination I finally managed to finish it.

Morgaine, also known as Morgan Le Fay, sister of King Arthur.
Morgaine, also known as Morgan Le Fay, sister of King Arthur © Kiri Østergaard Leonard, 2012

Comparing the two images I can see that from 2011 to 2012 I learned a lot. I hope that 2013 will be as good a year as 2012 and that in a year from now my artwork will have made the same leap. It can be incredibly discouraging when your artwork do not match up to your own expectations but it is also very rewarding when you can look back and see you have improved, it makes it all worth it.

So don't give up if you are having a really hard time with something you are working on, just put it aside for now and pick it up later.

Comparison image: 211 to 2012. Comparison image: 2011 to 2012.
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I'm having a giveaway contest on my Facebook page to celebrate having reached 500 likes.

You can go here to enter:…
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  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: Coffee
Hello out there!

Today is it cyber Monday so here are a couple of deals on my artwork: CYBER MONDAY Etsy sale (Today only): 15% off all items - Use code: CYBERMONDAY - also all Trollkin calendar ordered today of Etsy comes with a FREE print to a value of $14.95. Find my Etsy store here:…

CYBER MONDAY Zazzle store sale: Get 60% off all prints and 50% all cards in my zazzle store. Use code: 60ZCYBERSALE. Find my Zazzle store here:…

Lastly I posted a video to my Facebook art page with a preview of my Trollkin calendar. You can find it here:…
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  • Playing: Skyrim
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Click the image to order!
The first 25 who preorder also get a free trollkin bookmark!

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  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Drinking: Coffee

Print preparation!

Thanks to a good friend I have had the wonderful opportunity to have a table at the Artist's Alley at New York Comic Con this year. This will be my very first con experience, so I am a little nervous about it but also very excited.

Betsy near one of her favourite objects: A flying machine.

I will be sharing my table with my good friend Betsy Peterschmidt, here on DA known as :iconnebulafire: . Betsy is a very talented, young illustrator from Minnesota, who is currently studying for her BFA at Pratt Institute in New York City. She is a huge fan of everything flight related. She is also the creator behind the online webcomic Boys with Wings.

Betsy will be selling prints of her fantastic water color artwork, as well as showcase her comic and as a special treat, she is bringing some sets of the Kickstarter success boardgame Miskatonic School for Girls, which will also be available for purchase. You can see more of Betsy's artwork here: Online Portfolio

Betsy with her Comic Con banner

As for myself, I will be bringing bookmarks, prints, postcards and other goodies. Most of my prints are a special release of my newest illustrations for the Trollkin Calendar of 2013. If you are also going to New York Comic Con, come by table AA3 and say hello. You can also add me to your NYCC show planner by following this link: Artist's Alley Exhibitor Kiri Oestergaard Leonard.

The last couple of weeks have been crazy with getting everything planned in time, ordering prints and what not but I think I'm finally getting there. Yesterday Betsy and I both received our banners in the mail, which I believe we were equally excited about. Here are some photos of our preparations to give you an idea.

Betsy is very excited about bringing the Miskatonic School for Girls boardgame that she illustrated.

Kiri's Comic Con banner

Kiri's bookmarks.
  • Listening to: ACDC
  • Reading: A Christmas Carol
  • Playing: Borderlands 2
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Water

"Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite,
All are on their rounds tonight;
In the wan moon's silver ray,
Thrives their helter-skelter play."

-Joel Benton

Sometimes it is a struggle to complete a piece.

I was recently working on a piece for my upcoming Trollkin calendar, that gave me a really hard time. I wish I could blame it on the piece itself, but to be honest the fault was my own; I made a long series of mistakes that made the piece even more difficult, but I also learned my lesson. That is what is important, that when you're fighting against your own artwork, you sometimes need to take a deep breath and look at what is causing the difficulties. There are almost always lessons to be found in the struggle.

The first mistake I made was to not plan the image out properly with sketches and drawing. I didn't do this because when I started the piece I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to paint - instead I had three foggy ideas. I will let Chris Oatley explain what the problem is with this approach:

"If the vision is still in your mind, it's still blurry.
If the vision is still in your mind, it's still just inspiration.
Sketches make your vision clear."

My three ideas were as follow:

1. Paint a Jack o'Lantern with wisps playing in it.
2. Paint a nighttime landscape with midnight's fires and the Slaugh riding over the sky whilst a troll watches from afar.
3. Paint a Trick or Treat event.

I sketched out concepts for all three but couldn't settle on anything final so I ended up combining #1 and #3. I'm still not sure that was a good choice. First I sketched out the Trick or Treat idea from an entirely different angle than what I ended up with but it just did not work. I sketched more and eventually settled on a scene I thought would be easy. At first I had many more children but I ended up cutting it down to just two.

Unfinished piece # 1

I adjusted the values to make a more convincing night time scene, while I like the earthly tones, it just wasn't working.  I loved the idea of Little Red Riding Hood as one of the costumes but little Red was stealing far too much of the attention. She became the center of attention rather than the ghostly-clad troll.

Unfinished # 2

I consulted a couple of my friends who also work as illustrators and received really good feedback. The best advice was from Eric Braddock who suggested I added in a third child and spread them out more, with the troll hiding in the back.

Unfinished #3

The new composition with the children spread out was far more successful, however I still felt like the composition was too still, almost too grounded so I ended up utilizing a bit of dutch-angle inspiration and tilted the image. Eventually I ended up with a final piece, but what a headache it was to get there. Next time all these issues should be worked out in the drawing phase before I even consider colour.

Final illustration: All Hallow's Eve
  • Listening to: Ninja Mountain Podcast
  • Reading: Frankenstein
  • Playing: Fallout 3
  • Eating: Banana
  • Drinking: Coffee
The internet is a wonderful resource for artists and illustrators. I have picked out my ten favourite blogs that I like to follow. These blogs are all pearls of information, resources and helpful lessons on art and illustration so if you are not already following them, you really should check them out!


1. Gurney Journey - is maintained by Imaginative Realism master James Gurney. James Gurney shares with us his journey in art work, he blogs about a wide variety of topics, all related to the visual world. His blog has also inspired two high recommendable books on how to paint.


2. Muddy Colors - is an illustration collective by 13 professional artists and illustrators, mainly working in the field of Imaginative Realism and Fantasy, who are all highly successful. They share lessons in both the creation of art, but also the business side as well as a look into their own process when they create.

[I had to remove entry # 3, because the blog was taken down]

4. Lines and Colors - is written by Charley Parker. It showcases artwork from all over the world and throughout history as well. It is a wonderful source of inspiration as well as a brief lesson in art history and a great showcase of current artists and illustrators.


5. Illustration Art - is written by David Apatoff. The blog is an intriguing mixture of art history and intellect. David Apatoff offer his opinion of various illustrators from history and also sparks a long discussion from his loyal followers. The comments are as interesting to read as the posts.


6. Marc Scheff Illustration - Marc Scheff is a very skilled illustrator, who is also very big on sharing information. His blog is very informative on the art and business of illustration. It is a great go to for resources on freelancing as well as tips on studying art. Marc Scheff is also involved in both Awesome Horse Studios, that I previously posted an interview on - [see here] and Illustration Age.


7.Noah's Art - The author Noah Bradley is a successful young illustrator with an edge. Noah shares his thoughts, lessons learned and encouragement on his blog. He is also very honest and is not afraid to point out the frequent mistakes young artists may make, but does so is a very helpful manner and there is little doubt, he knows what he is talking about. He is also a member of Awesome Horse Studios.


8.Forbidden Visions - is written by Oliver Wetter, who is another illustrator with an edge. Oliver shares his thoughts and experiences on illustrating and creating. Not only is his blog full of good advice but there are also good resources to be found. His posts are very well written and always makes you put things into consideration.


9.Academy of Art and Creature Design - characterdesignnotes.blogspot.… is a blog with multiple authors and a huge amounts of wonderful resources on creature and character design. The blog is written for online AAU students and is a great place to go for art lessons. Definitely a must-read for all art students.


10.Urban Sketchers - is perhaps not so much a 'must' but it is nonetheless a very enjoyable blog. Sketching is an important mean to improving for all artists and there is something very enjoyable about the life sketches hold compared to finished pieces. Urban sketchers have made it their goal to display the world we live in one drawing at a time. People from all over the world submit sketches from their country/area/travels.


That is all for now, if you have any blogs you feel are a must-read please do submit them in the comments!


  • Listening to: Ninja Mountain Podcast
  • Reading: Frankenstein
  • Playing: Fallout 3
  • Eating: Banana
  • Drinking: Coffee


ISBN-10: 0761169253
List price: $10.95
Currently available on Amazon for about $6.10

Small Book - Big Effect 

Steal like an Artist is a small book with a big effect. The concept is simple: steal ideas! - something most of us generally cringe at but Austin Kleon's humourous and clever explanations quickly makes you realize that is how ideas are born into life. The book is 160 short formatted pages, it only takes about an hour to get through and it is a creative process changer.

Since reading the book myself, I have taken much of the advice to heart and my creative process has been considerably less frustrating and much more productive. Austin explains concepts such as "Nothing is Original" and "Garbage in, garbage out". All ideas we are familiar with but tend to forget.

He also suggests that as an artist you should create your own "family tree" of inspirations. You may not get to choose who you are in family with, but you certainly can choose who gets to influence your creative work.

Don't wait

One of the most important points that Austin champions is "Don't wait until you know who you are to make things". He says:
[quote] If I waited to know "who I was" or "what I was about" before I started "being creative", well, I'd still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it's in the act of making things that we figure out who we are." [/quote]

I find this to be an extremely important point. So often have I come across wonderfully creative people who get next to nothing done. Reasons such as "writer's block" or "creative block" gets thrown around when, perhaps, the real reason is fear of failure; fear that this wonderful idea inside their mind, is not going to be a success when carried out.

I do understand this fear, I have had it myself many times but in the last year or so I have learned that there is only one way to get things done; as Nike says "Just do it!" An idea kept inside your head that is never even attempted brought to life, is an idea wasted.

[quote]Just do it!" - Nike[/quote]

This is but a few of the concepts the book works with, I highly recommend acquiring it. It's a great and inspiring read and definitely worth the cost.


The Author

Ohio born Austin Kleon is the author of two best selling books; Steal like an Artist and Newspaper Blackout. He is a champion of creativity in the digital age and often gives speeches to companies such Google and Pixar. He currently lives with his wife Meghan and his dog Milo in Austin, Texas.

Lastly a TED speech Austin Kleon gave on this book and the trailer for it:

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Austin Kleon's Official Website on Steal like an Artist
Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon on Amazon
  • Listening to: Ninja Mountain Podcast
  • Reading: Frankenstein
  • Playing: Fallout 3
  • Eating: Banana
  • Drinking: Coffee
For about two years I have been a big fan of listening to art podcasts while doing my artwork. In that time I have listened my way through many, many hours of illustrators sharing advice and experiences. There are some really informative gems out there and there are some more laid back, but still entertaining podcasts. All of them have one thing in common - they are for artists by artists. If you are an art student who is looking for a glipse into what working as an illustrator is actually like I would even more so recommend that you try out some of these links and give it a listen, you will learn a lot.


1. The Ninja Mountain Podcast - Ninja Mountain Podcast has over a 100 episodes on its back. It is a casual, light hearted but also informative podcast with that catch phrase 'For Artist, by Artist' - the panel changes from episode to episode and as a result you get a lot of great input of experiences from many different, professional illustrators. Now and then the conversation trails of into non art related matters, but it always has good entertainment value and it's my overall experience you can find a lot of great advice in this podcast.


2. ArtCast by Chris Oatley -…ArtCast is a ultra informative podcast by Disney character designer Christ Oatley. Chris Oatley shares of his own personal experience and learning curve and is aiming to inspire and really encourage fellow artists. He's also open to answer any question about art you may have so I highly recommend his site.


3. Paperwing's Podcast -
The Paperwing podcast is a collaborative effort between Disney character designer Chris Oatley and IDW comics creator Lora Innes. It is mainly focused on comics however there is a lot of great advice you can apply to your general illustration practice as well. Paperwing also provides some really great tutorials that are especially helpful to art students.


4. Drawn Today Podcast -
Drawn Today currently runs 34 episodes. This is one of my favourite podcasts because it's one of the more serious and really well informed groups of illustrators out there. Drawn Today, like Ninja Mountain, also have a panel that changes every now and so often so you get a lot of different input from illustrators in various genres.


5. Escape from Illustration Island Podcast - escapefromillustrationisland.c…
Escape from Illustration Island is no longer putting out new episodes however it does have a count of 81 solid ones. It is created and hosted by Illustration Age founder Thomas James. The podcast mainly focuses on interview with artists in many different genres, so it's great for perspective beyond fantasy illustration. There are a lot of really interesting interviews.



  • Playing: Diablo III
  • Eating: Watermelon Smoothie
  • Drinking: Water