Portfolio Progress

Here is an updated view of my progress through the semester on this project. I’ve been improving upon the different assets quite a bit and learning a lot.

The most important things I’ve learned is to keep searching for new ways to do things (especially ways to increase efficiency), keep practicing the fundamentals (in traditional media formats as well), and seek out feedback (but take all criticism with a grain of salt).


Just updated my blog a little more. It’s looking a little more streamlined. My Concept Art page on my Spider Forest is up to date and my links for where else you can find me on the internet is available on the About Katie page!

This coming week is a break from University, so I’m hoping to have a lot more to share.

Tufted Titmouse and Finches

This week has been very busy but not very productive. It’s the week right before Thanksgiving Break, so EVERYTHING is due. Also, everything kind of hit the fan this week. Sadly, that means that my portfolio work got put on the back burner.

My focus went back to the environment scene and I was trying to figure out birds (ANY KIND OF BIRDS) that would help bring together the composition and show how the spiders hunt. So far, I’m looking at the Tufted Titmouse and different Finches for possible references.







AAAND more saturated versions of these are the kinds of colors I want to use for the birds (this is the picture I took that I did the color picking for the purple/gray grass with):


First Sketchbook Photos

The first bundle of sketchbook photos are up!

I just posted the first reward for the $5 and up club. Basically, people who pledge $5 or more per month have exclusive access to photos of my sketchbook. I will be posting pictures periodically that won’t be available anywhere else.

So, if you’d like to see how I tick when working on my drawings, you know where to find the schematics!


Quick blip about Projects and Patrons

Quick blip about Projects and Patrons:

I wrote up a quick post on my Patreon about what I’m working on right now and what can be expected in the near future!

Go read about it HERE!

I have also posted a wider range of Patron Rewards for those who are interested. For $1 a month, all Patrons get to see new content in advance (that means that the work I post here will be seen by Patrons at least a day earlier). At the $5+/month pledge level, I am offering exclusive peeks into my sketchbook that I won’t be showing anywhere else! $10/month Patrons get a thank you card mailed to them and those who are kind enough to pledge $20/month will get a personal sketch (limit 20 on this, for now).

Okay, back to drawing!

Podcasts and Portfolio Review

This past week, I spent most of my time cleaning and organizing my workspace (aka, bedroom and school schedule) instead of actually drawing. I did manage to multitask and get some portfolio-related things done at the same time, though.

I started watching more videos and listen to podcasts about how to compose a professional concept art portfolio (listed at the end of the post). I picked up on some specific things, but be warned: this probably reads like a random list of notes because I mostly just jotted things down as the podcasts were going.

For starters, limit your portfolio to maybe 12 pieces at most, but don’t put in anything less than your best. It’s better to have one or two really good pieces than anything that is a lesser quality work. Another is to only include work you want to be doing. If you like drawing characters, draw characters; if you like modelling vehicles, model vehicles. Putting in things you don’t like will bring down the quality and confuse the person viewing your work. Don’t include sketches or process works. If they want to see it, they will ask. Keep any descriptions brief. Have consistency between pieces. Update your portfolio often and get rid of old work (it’s not going to be your best and it brings the whole portfolio down). Make sure you only show work that you can be proud of because otherwise it’s not worth showing. Also, your blog and your portfolio are SEPARATE things. Your portfolio is for getting a job. Your blog is for the casual viewer and to get feedback or see progress on your work. Plus, the scrolling is a turn-off to employers.

In regards to the blogging and social media aspect of drawing attention to your work… Respect your viewers by showing your genuine self and not simply making work for the purpose of click-bait. Be accessible to your viewers and potential employers on a personable level. There are great artists out there who aren’t and it can cause them to lose out on a lot of opportunities. Be consistent – always put stuff out there because if you aren’t, people will stop thinking about you. One suggestion is to connect with your contacts and maybe even your previous employers (for freelancing) every few months or so to remind them of your work and that you’re still there making art. People will go to who they remember for filling positions, so be memorable and don’t let them forget you. Avoid hero-worship; you’ll never get any better if you waste time letting yourself be paralyzed by how great someone else’s work is. Let it be an inspiration to keep going and get to that level, not a discouragement from trying. Also, it’s fine to look up to artists, but realize that no one is faultless and they have to be working constantly to keep up their skills. And it’s quite limiting to only draw inspiration from people you admire. Go out into the real world and draw inspiration from THE SOURCE. Reference comes from somewhere, right? Focus on the fundamentals. Perspective is often ignored (it applies to characters and the proportions of everything), make sure your values work, if your image doesn’t make sense in thumbnail form or from a distance it’s not going to work. Going through the fundamentals kind of gives you a checklist and system to run through when you get stuck so that you can make a piece work. One good practice is line art caricature work; it’s drawing likenesses really quickly, like a gesture drawing.

Keeping these things in mind, I pruned the crap out of my Behance portfolio (which is listed on my business cards) and have rethought how to go about constructing my work for my senior portfolio class.

Also, here’s the spider silhouettes, side by side! (My blog site wouldn’t upload the image for some reason, so this was posted to my Facebook art page first.)

New silhouettes!

Spider Silhouettes

Here are my videos and references for the week:

I finally did it.

I finally did it.

After a year of thinking it over, I’ve finally made a Patreon page. I kept making up excuses, but now that none of those hold true anymore, I finally launched it. I don’t know how well this will go, but it’s worth a shot.

So, for those of you who are interested in my work, would like to get some early access on certain things, and would like to support my continuing to make art, please go pledge here:


Even a dollar a month helps me to keep doing what I love doing and sharing my art with all of you.

Lots of research…

Quick news on my work from last week; I finished the crystal radio project and decided on a layout. For now, this is how it is, until I find the time and resources to put it all in a nice shadowbox.


In looking for more feedback for my work, I’ve begun posting to BehanceArtStation, asking for feedback on my LinkedIn feed, posting more to my Facebook page, more to my Twitter, asked my friends and contacts, and am looking for even more places to find feedback and constructive criticism.

Pozzi told me about deviantART’s forumsartistdaily.comasingularcreation.com’s forums, and cgsociety.org’s forums. I’m going to look more into those next week. I may also post to Polycount’s 2D forum later on.

It took a little while for my post to be admin-approved, but I also posted my spider orthographics to conceptart.org for feedback. The most helpful response I got was this from a user going by “Frozen Ferocity”:

I feel like the form isn’t working because your values don’t work. There isn’t really any volume to your spider. To improve that try adding more variety in your values/add more shading and highlights to the spider.

Also for traditional to digital:

Scroll down to chapter #13, you will find what you’re looking for there.

Reading the critiques on my work was a little bit difficult for some of them. I’m used to face-to-face critiques where you are able to have a discussion. I’m now realizing that people feel much less comfortable being outright rude when they’re talking to you in person. Behind the anonymity of the internet? There is a lot of “your art is bad and you should feel bad” hate going around. There is also a lot of access to the work of others that is so wonderful by comparison that it’s easy to get stuck in the “maybe they’re right” mindset. That was much of my Sunday evening, plus the addition of a person I know telling me flat out to give up.

Then Monday rolled around and I decided that being sad wasn’t productive and I needed to get back to work. Here’s a list of tutorials and resources I found and was shown:

Taking into account what I was reading and watching, I decided to go back to my spider concept and rework it. I figure having a strong creature concept that I actually feel is worth showing trumps my scatter-brained “do all the things” mentality I was going with originally.

I decided to try out Autodesk Sketchbook for the new orthos and I ended up really liking it. It’s faster and more intuitive for me than using Photoshop. I still have things I prefer in Photoshop, but the actual drawing portion was so much easier in Sketchbook.

Here is the front-view silhouette I reworked (this one is going to be for a younger spider, therefore less lop-sided for this initial attempt):


Based on feedback, I decided to focus more on getting the shape right and bringing a more cohesive look to the work (particularly with the legs). I had wanted a very skeletal kind of leg since starting, but I don’t feel I was very successful until this attempt.

My goals for next week are to finish the forest scene, draw the silhouette for the side orthographic, and start working on getting the values down to create a more volumetric-looking spider. I really want to just get these things to “completed to my satisfaction” so I can move on to the next bit of work without distraction.