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Advice for the Novice Artist

Advice for the Novice Artist

Are you an artist? If you like to paint, draw, sketch, or doodle, you're an artist in my book! I want to share with you an interview that I participated in, regarding my career as an illustrator. Many of the people I speak to, usually students, are very interested in taking their drawing hobby to the next level and possibly go pro.

I know that is a very difficult decision to make because there is a lot of uncertainly and risk involved. I want to offer encouragement to the novice artist and a glimpse into my personal journey as a digital illustrator. The following are questions and answers from my artist interview:


How long does it typically take to finish a page, sketches, line art and coloring if any?

Sketching can take 15 minutes. Line art can take an hour. Flat coloring can take 30 minutes, and shading can take 3 hours. Backgrounds can vary from another hour to 3 or 4, depending on the level of detail. An average illustration/page will take me 5-8 hours.

What made you want to become a comic book artist? 

I wanted to tell stories as a young boy. I enjoyed designing characters and felt that comics was the best method of telling stories that visually showed the characters as often as possible, as opposed to sprinkling illustrations throughout a children's novel, for comparison.

On the other hand, however, animation was not feasible at a young age. Also, I love being able to set the mood through paneling, framing, and movement for each drawing instead of a single static image to encompass an entire scene.

The Hulk Sketch

How much time on average is taken for each volume of comics? 

My latest graphic novel took me 2 ½ years to complete. This comic book is 150 pages, not what I would consider the length of a standard issue. I did, however, pencil, ink, and color the book myself. Most graphics novels are illustrated by a team of artists, each with a specific role.

Do you draw everyday? 

I do not draw quite every day. I try to find the time to do it on the weekends. As a graphic designer, a lot of the work I do is more technical rather than imaginative and creative, like drawing would be.

How do you overcome art blocks?

When I feel like my creativity is running low, I tend to look through my archives of old drawings. Many times, I am inspired to revisit an old concept or re-draw a character and see how much better I can make it. Afterward, I find it very encouraging to see how much improvement there has been after all that time.

Another helpful tip that gives me inspiration is to follow favorite artists and admire their work. Imitation is good practice. Just be careful not to let another artist(s) make you feel inferior. Comparing yourself to others can damage self-esteem. Learn from others, but strive to become your own artist and not a carbon copy.


I have so much more I can say that I have learned from my experience as a professional illustrator. I will post more interviews in the future. In the meantime, if you have any questions please leave a comment and I will be more than happy to share more with you!

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