Recent things that illustration has taught me

I’ve been thinking a lot, while making these illustrations for a short story in KP. You know the one I mentioned earlier this spring?  These are the ones ◠◡◠  Painted in Photoshop as usual with a Wacom Cintiq 12WX!

Well, mostly I’ve been trying to figure out how I could improve my workflow next time I take on a freelance gig. I don’t consider myself as a fast painter, or am I? Well it sure doesn’t feel like it, hoho. I have to confess that I’m always stressing with last minute changes, and often regret my approach. Anyway, here are some thoughts so far that has been helpful for me:

Set the color scheme early!

Oh dear, I’ve neglected this for so long. Yes, I’m guilty, shame on me, haha. I usually set the colors way too late, and I start rushing the painting and end up with a disaster. Because the colors didn’t work in the first place, and I’m forced to just work with what I got and finish it up before the deadline. I have some perfect examples of this, wanna see them? I can gain some courage and show you if you’d like. Instead, I managed to nail the color scheme while sketching the thumbnails for these paintings – which in turn worked out much better! Illustration has turned less painful all of a sudden.

Walk that extra mile when sketching

Oh yeah, this has helped me a lot too. I’m definintely not like some of those rock stars out there who can turn a sloppy thumbnail into a full-blown illustration in seconds(or so it seems, bahh). Having a strong sketch in the beginning, where most of it is already figured out has been a life saver for me. So don’t be afraid to give that sketch some extra love, baby!Bridge of death

Just get it done already

Yup. Just do it. I tend to work and tweak things for like.. Forever. So yes, I need some more self-discipline here. Things can’t be perfect anyway, nothing is. And definitely not my art, haha! So yeah, this is a big reminder for myself. Listen to Elsa and just “Let it go”! Haha. Couldn’t help myself, sorry not sorry ◠◡◠

Bridge of death

That’s what I’ve figured out for now in regards of illustration. May seem so basic, but while constantly wanting to improve, I often need to remind myself to stay away from well-known pitfalls. I hope this inspired you a bit! ◠◡◠

Uggh, now I just wanna be like those kids on the bridge. I’m a complete sucker for Swedish nature during summertime, I need to find more opportunities to practice driving so we can rent a lake house and just relaaax  Oh god mhm yes yes yesssss.

Do you have any additional tips to make life as an illustrator easier and more efficient? Hit me!



  1. Sara 8 June, 2016 at 22:59

    My best advice is something I’ve been very guilty of in the past (and, ahem, maybe still)
    Naming conventions, people!
    It’s a good thing to save often and maybe save your work at various stages. Corrupt files are not cute, so sometimes making iterative saves might be a life-saver.
    However, after the job is turned is turned in and approved you need to clean up that mess of NewNEW_NEW01_Final_05_ReallyFinal_Painting.psd and similarly named files. I’ve messed up before by assuming the latest one (or the one with the longest name) would be the only file I need from a certain project, only to regret it later.
    Have a system so you don’t end up deleting stuff you might need, or on the other end of the spectrum, end up with tons of unnecessary files because you’re afraid of deleting vital stuff, but still don’t have the energy to sort through it.

    1. Andrea 16 June, 2016 at 12:44

      Ohh great tip! I’m guilty of that one too.. I always name my files by the date it got created, somehow it still helps me remember where a specific file is, since I mostly remember when I created it! But of course, it would take a lot faster if things were organized in a more neat way.

  2. Nivailis 9 June, 2016 at 10:25

    Thank you for the tips! I would really love to see how you test colors on thumbnails, pretty please! ^^ How about recording your process? You haven’t posted anything on YT in ages.

    1. Andrea 16 June, 2016 at 12:48

      Glad you liked it! Sure thing, adding it to my back log! Sorry for not posting any videos lately, been recording several ones, but I’m such a perfectionist and I end up not editing them, haha. I’ll try to let thet side of me go and just start uploading already! Is there anything specific you’d like to see recorded?

  3. S. R. Janssen 10 June, 2016 at 19:01

    Smart of you to “just get it done.” I have stalled much of my work by redoing “the beginning” over and over. Finally realized that each work changes your point of view, your skill level and adds a little to your understanding. Therefore, you are always advancing into a different space. Consequently, you never get anything just right because creativity is not static. Wish I’d figured this out sooner. :)

    1. Andrea 16 June, 2016 at 12:50

      Oh yes agreed, after all it’s all about repetition! The same way as athletes and musicians rehearse :) I wish too, that I knew this sooner haha!

  4. Marcel 11 June, 2016 at 15:29

    I too have the same problem with colours (><)" I also tent to rush in and do my colourscheme on the fly or just test one or two out without really planning on where to go. Which is odd, since I do plan a lot for the composition and featured elements. Your approach is great there. I should sincorporate these colour sketches in what I usually do!
    I make a lot of sketches and thumbnails, often from differtent angles of the scene or invision myself walking through that place and imagine how it feels like, what I would hear etc. I do the same for some of the characters and objects that I want to feature. That way I " know the place " I want to draw which helps me figuring out the light setup, perspective and what other questions might arise. This process takes a lot of time but slowly builds a library of places I can go back if I need to :)

    1. Andrea 20 June, 2016 at 16:25

      Ohh I need to get better at thumbnailing, usually I’m too lazy to make several ones so I can pick the best one. Shame on me. I’m jealous haha, that library you’re mentioning is awesome to have! Everyone should incorporate that.

      1. Marcus Gilmore 6 July, 2016 at 19:01

        If you know some of Miles Johnston’s work, he posts his thumbnails alongside finished pencil work. Thumbnailing is the brainstorming for a brief/idea and can really can determine strong ideas from the get go. Wotjek Fus is also a good designer/concept artist for that, remarkably skilled :)

        It’s more about your thought processes annotating thumbnails with text and showing diagrams give the viewer more insight into process. However now I think making GIFs of your work (digital) can be show your inner workings. Making things video/animated is becoming a norm/trend now with this ‘instant gratification’ mindset. Great posts here.

        1. Andrea 14 September, 2016 at 22:05

          Yeah I think I do! That approach is definitely effective! :)

          Thanks for your further inputs!

  5. Rania {Rowan Tree} 4 August, 2016 at 13:29

    Aaaah men fy vad fint, älskar verkligen sista bilden!!!! <3

    Svar: Jisses vad jag känner igen mig i det där med Facebook! Jag tror det är på väg att dö ut faktiskt, i alla fall för mig. Jag har vissa grupper jag tycker om, med ämnen som berör mig där jag är lite aktiv emellanåt men som du säger kan omogna personers kommentarer verkligen dra ner ens humör i flera timmar, en hel dag till och med. Annars försöker jag posta lite bilder från mitt vardagsliv för att hålla långväga släkt uppdaterad och det är bra när man behöver hjälp / söker något speciellt men jag kollar sällan FB nu för tiden och tror att Facebook klarar man sig utan faktiskt. Detox låter bra! Jag försöker också att bara använda min företagarsida för att länka till bloggen, och begränsa tiderna då jag läser bloggar / kollar instagram, pinterest osv men behöver verkligen bli ännu bättre på det och på att stå emot så man inte faller dit igen hela tiden. Det låter som att du har en bra plan för hur du ska göra i alla fall, hoppas det går bra! :) Jaaa tänk när man var yngre och inte hade en smartphone… Jag satt dock och spelade rätt mycket men det är mer givande än att slösurfa i alla fall.

    1. Andrea 14 September, 2016 at 22:04

      Åh taaack :D Va kul! <3

      Jamen precis, håller med och tänker likadant där med Facebook. Mer och mer faktiskt. Jag hade ett sånt enormt bekräftelsebehov innan, men den har typ avtagit med tiden..? Kanske sunt haha. Jag tror detoxen går rätt bra! Innan hade jag verkligen ett starkt beroende, men nu kan jag faktiskt stundvis glömma bort sociala medier - SÅ SKÖNT!

      Åh spel! Det gjorde jag med iofs, eller ritade :) Man fokuserade på ett helt annat sätt när man var yngre, kunde förlora sig själv i det man höll på med. Den känslan har jag inte hittat tillbaka till än, men hoppas verkligen att jag kan det nån dag!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.