• February 17, 2024

Illustration Styles and Portfolio Building: Practical Tips and Exercises

Illustration 2023 Art Book Review

If you want to refine your illustration style and build a portfolio, this practical book is full of helpful exercises and tips.

Top art agent Lilla Rogers and renowned children’s author Zoe Tucker share their expertise in creating a successful career as a children’s book illustrator. Their guide is filled with support and encouragement, from preparing a pitch to developing a visual narrative.

Sketch-Note Journal: An Illustrated Guide to Recording Your Thoughts

A fun and effective approach to note-taking, sketchnoting uses symbols, arrows, sketches, and other visual tools to convey ideas that can be hard to capture with a simple block of text. This journal features lessons and worksheets from master sketchnoters to inspire and help readers develop their own style of visual note-taking.

Rather than writing down every single idea that comes to mind, focus on capturing main concepts, lists, or phrases that the speaker repeatedly mentions. This will help the ideas stick in your memory and encourage further ideas in the future.

Ernst Haeckel’s Natural Forms

Featuring intricate illustrations of microscopic organisms, this extraordinary portfolio was well received by both scientists and artists at the turn of the twentieth century. Embracing the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk (a whole or total work of art), the biological sketches are executed with dedicated precision and depict incipient microscopic organisms alongside highly developed plants and animals.

Ernst Haeckel’s detailed biological drawings became central to the development of evolution theory and inspired many artistic movements, particularly the Art Nouveau style. This facsimile edition of Kunstformen der Natur offers a stunning example of the interplay between science and art.

Character Design by Stephen Silver

The latest edition of the best-selling “ILLUSTRATION” series features 150 talented artists who cross over Japan’s illustration scene that attracts worldwide attention. This time around, illustrator and animator HANABUSHI of ZUTOMAYO fame decorates the cover, while Tomoyuki Arima of the design firm BALCOLONY handles book design.

Publishers, illustrators, agents, and authors are invited to submit books for consideration. A jury selects Gold and Silver Medal recipients and Dilys Evans Founder’s Awards honorees. The Original Art also showcases outstanding illustration work in two other award categories.

Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis

Considered Loomis’ magnum opus, Creative Illustration is a guiding light for anyone pursuing a career in illustration. Divided into sections on Line, Tone, Color, Telling the Story, Fields of Illustration, Experimenting and Studies, this classic guide is packed with instructions, tips and insider experiences.

The latest version of this popular series features the work of Hanabushi, illustrator/animator of ZUTOMAYO fame, on the cover. Up-and-coming designer Tomoyuki Arima handled book design. 96 pages.

The Art of Light and Colour by James Gurney

An Amazon top-ten bestseller, this book examines the realist painter’s most fundamental tools. It explains how light and color work by bridging the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge. It includes lessons on sources of light, color relationships, pigments, backyard optics, and visual perception. Each entry is short, image focused, and concisely applies the information to situations a painter would legitimately need to deal with.

It is primarily geared toward realist painters, but any fine artist or illustrator should find it useful as well.

365 Days of Art: A Creative Exercise for Every Day of the Year by Lorna Scobie

Based in London, illustrator Lorna Scobie grew up in the depths of the English countryside and still enjoys spending time outdoors climbing trees and taking her rabbit for walks. She aims to inspire readers and budding artists to nurture creativity and explore feelings through art, with an activity for every day of the year. From simple, fun tasks such as drawing shapes and lines to more considered tutorials, like calligraphy writing and shading, this inspiring journal will help you explore your creativity and unleash the artist within.

The Sketchbook of Ernst Haeckel

With intricate depictions of the natural world, Ernst Haeckel’s scientific illustrations are a visual treat. Haeckel was a German zoologist who coined terms like “phylum” and introduced the concept of a separate biological kingdom, protista, for organisms that can’t be categorized as animal, plant or fungus.

This book features prints from his Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature) portfolio first published between 1899 and 1904. His intricate drawings preserve the complex shapes, patterns and symmetries of varying organisms.

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