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You don’t know how hard it is to write this. But I think it is very necessary, since it is a problem that affects many illustrators, creatives and people in general, both professionally and personally.

Impostor syndrome is a phenomenon that makes us think that our achievements are just luck, that at any moment people around us are going to realize that we are a fraud and that we are not really good at what we do.

It usually goes hand in hand with perfectionism (the difficulty to accept any imperfection or mistake in what we are doing) and, in my case, it directly attacks my self-esteem since I tend to relate my worth as a person with how productive I am or with the quality of my work.

Does all of this ring a bell?

This kind of deadly combo – imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and associating self-worth with productivity – has lost me many opportunities and put more obstacles than I can count. And the worst thing is that I have always been more or less aware of it, but it is very difficult to break these patterns.

At one point, they even made me throw in the towel and completely stop drawing for a few months. In the end, I realized that I needed a change of perspective and, after reflecting a lot, I came to a series of conclusions:

  • I draw because I like it, therefore I should have fun while doing it.
  • It is better to have something finished than to have something perfect.
  • I am NOT my work.
  • I have the right to make mistakes. In fact, if I don’t make any mistakes I’ll never improve.
  • If someone doesn’t like my work, it’s not the end of the world. Not everyone can like it.
  • I deserve to invest time in pursuing my dream job, or at least to try.

All of this sounds great, but it is very very VERY difficult to internalize. It takes patience and you have to accept that there will be ups and downs, better and worse days. So if you are on this path, you go girl!

Here are some extra resources on the subject:

  • Struthless: Illustrator Campbell Walker’s channel. He tells us about his life experience, how he deals with the traps that his mind sets for him during the creative process. He gives some fun and interesting techniques to overcome these obstacles.
  • Viviendo del cuento (in Spanish): In this podcast, illustrators Eva Carot, Srta M and Laura Gómez talk about the profession of the illustrator. In this episode they talk about the impostor syndrome, but I recommend listening to the rest of the episodes since they are as interesting as they are entertaining.

Does all of this sound like you? Do you follow any techniques to deal with the impostor syndrome?

We can comment on it and help each other at Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

Hi! Today we will talk about the portfolio layout and I will show you some editorial design basic: the grid.

We will need:

  • A computer
  • The files of our illustrations well ordered, as I said in previous post (if you do not usually work in digital, you will have to scan your illustrations and adapt them).
  • Programs: Adobe Indesign (if you have scanned images you can prepare them with Photoshop).
  • Basic knowledge about these programs is welcome and will make your life easier. You do not need to know them thoroughly and there are many ways to learn how to use the basic tools for free online (YouTube, blogs, manuals …), I think it is a good idea to invest some time in learning a little about this topic.

Let’s talk about the grid: grids are a widely used element in graphic design, especially in editorial design. A grid will act as the ‘skeleton’ of our design and will help keep everything in place and be visually aesthetic.

Ready? As an example, I will make a portfolio to display digitally. I show you all about it in this video:

 

 

I hope it didn’t overwhelm you, specially if you’ve never used Indesign before. My idea for this video / blog post series was not to teach an Indesign class, nor to give a set of strict guidelines for creating a portfolio.

My idea was to give a starting point to start researching about the portfolio, show my personal experience and my way of doing it. Also, why not, invite you to reflect on it: it is interesting to ask ourselves if we are applying everything we know to our portfolio and if it is helping us find the right illustration projects for us.

In short, if we are treating our portfolio as a useful tool or are we not really using it because we do not feel like it, we don’t have the time to work on it, perhaps out of fear or just because we don’t know how to approach it. I will write a little about this for next month’s post.

 

Our portfolio, like our skill as illustrators, is never complete. As we work we improve, and this constant learning means that, from time to time, we have to update our portfolio so it accompanies us along the way and shows our best work.

So do not worry if it is not perfect at first, step by step it will improve.

Finally, I want to say that although it is a lot of information and it is overwhelming at first, if we go one step at a time, we divide the work and we have a little patience in the end we will reach the desired result.

And more or less that’s all I wanted to share about the portfolio. Did you find it interesting? Do you have any doubt? Write me! Tell me all about it at Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

I’ve been unable to upload videos for a few months due to technical problems with my computer (in early July my laptop died unexpectedly and a series of catastrophic misfortunes prevented me from getting a new computer until the end of August). I’ve been able to work with my iPad and fueled by willpower, but now it is solved.

Today I bring you a very special #drawwithme video: it is part of the #inktober challenge. This year I have decided to follow it at my own pace: 8 illustrations, 2 per week during the month of October, and all about witches! Doing fewer illustrations has allowed me to spend more time on each one and avoid stressing out if I didn’t like a sketch and had to repeat it a couple of times. In the end, it’s all about hitting the brushes and having fun!

I hope you like the video as much as I liked doing it. It has been a lot of fun choosing the music and decorating the illustration for the final result, it has been my way of celebrating Halloween since this year we will not be able to go out much and that is my favorite holiday of the year! 🎃

 

We are getting closer to laying out the portfolio, but first I want to dedicate an entry to other basic elements that we need to decide before starting to lay out: composition, typography and color.

Remember that designing is an act of conscious creation, that is, before we start working we think about what we want to communicate and what is the best way to do it. Contrary to popular belief, designing is more about making decisions based on prior knowledge than expressing what we feel without thinking about it twice.

A note: Due to the size of the entries in this blog and as not to bore you, I will only briefly mention these elements. If you are interested in me making another more detailed entry on any of these topics, please tell me and I’ll gladly prepare it!

Back to what I was saying: in our case, what is most important are the illustrations, so we will choose a graphic style that adapts and accompanies them. Again, there isn’t one correct way to do it, but we will have to see what best suits each case.

Composition: you should treat the pages of the portfolio as if they were an illustration or a series of illustrations: apply the same principles of visual hierarchy (highlight the main elements), contrast, order, visual weight, space, rhythm…

Typography: Typography is very complex and rich and I am not going to get into it much because I am not an expert in this field. If you are interested in knowing more I can leave you some resources about typography later, but for now it is enough to know a series of basic rules:

  • Legibility: VERY important, we must be able to read the texts well, be careful with fantasy typefaces.
  • Sizes: the same principle. If you are not sure how it will be read once it is printed, one way to do it is to print a few pages (in a home printer or in a copy shop) and thus you make sure that it will read well. A high contrast between the titles and body text will give interest to the page.
  • Combination of fonts: the ideal is to use one or two fonts at most. When choosing, we must combine two fonts that are quite different to generate contrast, the classic example is one with serif and one without. Fonts with many bodies (light, book, medium, bold, condensed, extrabold, black …) give extra versatility.

  • Where to find fonts: Typically, people look on Dafont or 101fonts, which are free font directories. Be careful with this: many of them are free tests and do not have all the necessary characters (for example, the accents or exclamation points). I recommend researching on design websites and blogs and see how they use typography and which one may work best for you.

 

Colors: You can do whatever you want as long as it makes sense. For example, if you want to give an image of sobriety or elegance you can use black and white. If instead your illustrations are kawaii and colorful, you can use bright colors (remember that what should stand out are the illustrations, the layout accompanies but does not dominate). A reduced and harmonious color palette is always a good option.

Now I know that there are many things to assimilate but I firmly believe that it is worth researching and learning a little about design. You don’t have to be an expert, but having some basic knowledge will help you in your life as an illustrator. Regarding the portfolio, I think that pausing a moment to think before starting will help you a lot to know what you want to do and to do it with more confidence. It is not a matter of design done right or wrong, but of design serving  its purpose and expressing well what you want it to express.

Bonus tip: on a personal level, I think that when in doubt it is better to go for a simple design. If you don’t feel very confident with your level of knowledge of graphic design, making it simple will make your task easier and it will look its best. In the end, the strength has to be in the illustrations and that is what we have to highlight.

And so far today’s post, did you find the content useful? Would you like me to share some resources on graphic design, typography, composition, color, etc. around here or on my social media? We can comment on it on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

Once we have learned about the world of illustration and the specific sector we want to target, it is time to curate the content of our portfolio. And that’s when the first questions come to us: what do I include? How many images do I show of each project? Do I make a digital or a paper portfolio? Do I add text?

Many of these factors will depend on the sector you are targeting, for example:

  • If you want to work illustrating books you should have a digital and a physical portfolio, (if you have any published work it is better that you take it to the meetings too). If we present a more finished product to the editor he or she will decide more easily if he or she wants to publish our work.
  • If you want to work in illustration for digital media (for example, apps), it’s best if younhave a digital portfolio.
  • If you want to focus on product illustration, it always helps to include mock-ups (I will make a post about those later on) or models of how the finished illustration will look on the product.

The idea is that you present your work in a way that it’s closest to how it will be reproduced and  as finished as possible. Look at it from the client’s point of view and think if he or she will understand your portfolio and if it will be a useful tool to decide if they are interested in your services.

There is nothing established about the quantity of images, but there is a golden rule: quality is better than quantity. It is better to show a few illustrations that stand out and are really good than to show a lot of mediocre work or one that doesn’t represent your style. The usual is between 10 and 15 illustrations. Bonus tip: do series! Presenting several illustrations on the same topic (for example, several book covers for a collection or some designs for juice bottles of different flavors), this will demonstrate that you have a consistent style and you can translate it into different set illustrations.

Finally and to make this task easier, get organized! It is important that when preparing or updating your portfolio you can easily access the images that you are going to include. That is why it will make your life much easier to have a well-ordered folder system (per year, per customer, per sector …) on your computer. In my case I have it per year and per customer. Another thing I do is, once finished, export the illustration in various formats: in CMYK in high resolution for printing and for the portfolio on paper, in RGB in high resolution for the digital portfolio and in RGB in medium / low resolution for my website or for social media (and in a format that fits them). I also name the files so it’s easy to tell them apart. So, when I look for the image for any use, I don’t have to reopen it and resize it; it is more efficient.

With all this information it is time to choose which projects we will add to the portfolio, how many images per project, whether we will do it a digital or paper portfolio, or both, what format and size works best for us and what approximate number of pages it will have. Also to order the files to have them ready for later.

And that’s it for today, what questions have popped on your mind before starting to lay out your portfolio? Are you having trouble keeping it updated? Tell me all about it in the comments and on my social media! You can find me on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

As I have mentioned before, as well as being an illustrator I am a graphic designer. They are two professions that go hand in hand, and having a basic knowledge of graphic design will help us as illustrators. That is why I want to make a series of posts on this blog with some tutorials and tips that will help us improve our image and the way we present our illustrations.

One of the main ways to present ourselves professionally as illustrators is the portfolio. Although nowadays we have digital platforms to show our work online (Instagram, Behance or Domestika, for example) I think it is important to have a selection of our work in a portfolio, physical or digital. And if it is well designed, polished and has a good presentation, so much the better.

Before starting to lay out, we must sit and think (I usually do this with a notebook to take notes and with access to the internet for research). And that’s because before starting our portfolio we need to decide a number of things, for example:

  • What specific sector of illustration do I want to aim to?
  • What do I do best? What do I have to improve?
  • Which commissions have I made for clients and really enjoyed?
  • Which projects define me best as an illustrator?
  • Do I have a unique style? Is it important to have it in my sector?

Based on this we will decide which way to go and choose which illustrations we include in our portfolio, in what order and if we have enough or need to do something new. For example: if I like editorial and product illustration, I will make two different portfolios focused on each sector (or at least I will separate them very clearly).

I know this requires a lot of information and knowledge about our profession, and there is no correct way to do things (every potential client has his own way of working and will look for something different in our portfolio), but we can get a little closer if we know the specifics of the sector we are targeting.

I am not going to explain much more about this since my experience is limited and specific, but I recommend that you follow other illustration professionals to learn more: read their blogs, follow their YouTube channels, listen to their podcasts, look for books on illustration, design, entrepreneurship and creativity … it all helps! And what I love about this profession it is that illustrators very often share their experiences and help each other.

I am going to recommend some resources that I follow and that have helped me a lot:

  • Ilustrando dudas (in Spanish): on this website, Io Bru is dedicated to collect ALL the information available on the world of illustration, curating it and offering it in a clear and understandable way. She has several articles on the portfolio and also offers online mentoring sessions – a gem!
  • El club del dibujo (in Spanish) in this podcast, the illustrator Andrés Sanchís tells us about his experiences as an illustration professional and has in each episode other professionals as guests who talk about specific topics, very interesting and also entertaining! Since it’s a podcast, it is ideal to listen to while we draw.
  • Frannerd’s YouTube channel: In this channel, illustrator Fran Meneses tells us about her daily life as an illustrator, her favorite materials and also about the daily problems of the freelance. In addition, she usually uploads great comics to her social networks so I recommend you follow her there too.

These are only three resources, there are a million more out there but I didn’t want this entry to become eternal, if you are interested in learning about other resources on the world of illustration and design, comment or write to me via email or on my social networks and I will prepare a post on the subject.

As always, I appreciate the feedback! I’m on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

Almost without noticing it, summer has arrived. As this year I cannot afford to go on vacation, I have thought of escaping through my sketchbook.

I have a complicated relationship with my sketchbook, on the one hand I love the idea but on the other hand I have a hard time drawing when it is not for work, since I have this idea of ​​associating my value as a professional with constant productivity. And that’s a problem, especially in creative professions where it’s important to let your mind rest every now and then to work better.

Also, 99% of my work as an illustrator is digital, but the truth is that there is nothing more relaxing than feeling the texture of the paper and fiddling with colored pencils, watercolors, markers, ink … there is a kind of freedom in assuming and accepting that a wrong line can ruin completely change the drawing, and that if that happens it’s not the end of the world either.

So, in summary, for both mental health and for fun I am going to try to force myself to rest and spend time on my sketchbook, and making these videos can be the perfect excuse.

If you like relaxing lo-fi music and watching other people draw, this video is perfect for you:

 

 

As always, you can find me on social media: Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

Hi! Another month has passed and I bring you a new blog post. Today I will talk about selling illustrated products online.

Most illustrators, at some point on our way, think about selling products with our illustrations, either at fairs and markets or on online stores. And it’s not a crazy idea, but there are certain things you should keep in mind before doing so.

The truth is that running an online store is a full job in itself. To make it work you must spend time designing the products, ordering them from suppliers, keeping control of the stock, creating, maintaining and updating the store, creating quality descriptions and photos of the products, doing some marketing, managing shipments, attending customer requests, designing the packaging … it is a lot!

In my case, I enjoy all those tasks and I also love illustration and product design, so I ended up opening an online store anyway.

 

Showing good photos, mock-ups and nice compositions will help you make your products stand out

 

But let’s get into it: I’m going to tell you a little about online stores. If you decide to sell products with your illustrations online, you have three options:

  • Create your own e-commerce: this option is the most expensive in terms of effort and money. Creating and maintaining your own website is more difficult and expensive than advertising your products on an external platform, and it will be harder for customers to find you. I would not recommend this option unless you already have a high sales volume that justifies it.
  • A platform with external production: platforms like Redbubble or Society6 allow you to upload your designs and they print them on demand (this means that when they sell a product they print and ship it). In return, you receive a percentage of the sale. This option works great if you don’t want to spend time managing a store, buying products, shipping… in exchange, the product options available are limited.
  • A platform with your own production: such as Etsy or Bigcartel. You have a platform that makes it easy to upload your products and in which there are already many registered users who can find them. However, you manage your stock level, what products and finishes you want to use, and manage the shipping and packaging … it is more personalized and, as you do most of the work, the platform takes a lower percentage of the order.

 

For me, the best option right now is Etsy. Etsy is a platform designed for small craft businesses and works globally.

The advantages over other platforms are:

  • Best prices: € 0.20 per ad every 4 months and 5% of each order (it may be more if the customer uses Etsy Payments to pay, but this also allows us to accept many different payment methods so it benefits us in the end).
  • Large volume of users, it is the most used platform to buy handmade and vintage items.
  • Easy and quick to set up, you can upload your ads and configure your store in a matter of minutes.

Now, they don’t pay me to write this. Actually, I started on Etsy a few years ago, I closed and switched to another platform, but finally I have ended up going back because I consider it to be the best option available right now.

 

You can see my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/wendymontasell

 

At this point I had planned to prepare a video tour of my Etsy store in which I was going to tell you in more detail which products I have and how I prepare orders, but due to technical problems with my computer it was impossible for me to finish it and you will have to wait a little longer. However, I can show you this brief intro that I have in the store:

This is a big topic so I can dedicate another post to it if you are interested, but for now I leave you with some basic tips:

  • Your products will not sell on their own. You already upload your illustrations to Instagram from time to time, why not take the opportunity to advertise your store? Start with your friends and family, advertise in Facebook groups or in your coworkers WhatsApp group. Let others know that your store is active and full of amazing products.
  • Take care of the packaging. A beautiful package will make the customers feel like they are opening a gift and they will open it with much more enthusiasm. If you use eco-friendly packaging, advertise it too! That will give added value to your store.
  • Be original! Your audience is made up of people who prefer artisan products that they can’t find elsewhere, so trust your creativity and surprise them.
  • Do not despair. Running an online store requires time, patience, effort and some money. We live in a very competitive world and the market is saturated with options, so do not worry if you don’t sell everything right away, you will start getting orders if you keep going.
  • Ask for feedback. This will help you on one hand to improve your store and your products, and on the other hand potential customers will trust you more if they see that other buyers have left good reviews.

And this is all for today, did you find it interesting? Do you have an online store or were you planning on opening one? What difficulties and joys has it given you? Comment on my profiles: Instagram , Twitter y LinkedIn

Hi!

As I said at the beginning, I will publish only once a month, but recently I decided to try shrink paper and, as it was, I have made a video on the subject.

Here you have it (my videos are in Spanish since it’s more natural for me to speak in this language. Nevertheless, I’m working on learning how to add subtitles so English speakers can understand it too):

My final impressions are:

PRO

  • You can make different models from 1 unit, which is great for small online businesses.
  • You choose the finish, size … it gives many possibilities.
  • It is cheap and fun to use.

CON

  • The bad part of the craft process is that it is time consuming, if you need many units I recommend that you order other types of pins.
  • There is always the possibility of mistakes.

Ans that’s that! Did you enjoy it? Is there anything els you’d like to know about this product? Would you like me to test another material? I’m all eyes and ears on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn

And if you liked the pins and want to purchase one, check out my Etsy shop.

When I asked on Instagram about which content should I upload to the blog, one of the first questions was about my working method, so today I am going to show you how I make an illustration from the idea to the final result.

I must say that the process varies a bit depending on whether the illustration is for me or for a commission, for the online store or for Instagram. The approach is different although the method is similar. I am going to use as an example an image that will become a print to sell in my Etsy store and I will do it with Procreate.

As you may have already noticed, my work in many cases is 100% digital. I like to work with ink and sometimes with watercolor but in the end I chose the practicality, speed and versatility that digital illustration offers. My main working tools are:

  • A pretty old and trotted Macbook pro
  • A wacom bamboo that I bought second hand many years ago
  • An iPad with apple pencil
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop on the laptop and Procreate on the iPad

I used to make sketches in pencil on a sketchpad, but now I do them directly in digital because that allows me to do, undo, scale, copy, discard and redo sketches much faster. Sometimes I even make the sketch digitally, I print it, then trace it and make the final illustration by hand with ink.

It has been a bit hard for me because I don’t particularly like being on camera, but I have managed to make a video to better show you the process (it is in Spanish, you can try the automate subtitles, sorry!):

Anyways this is my personal process, each artist has his or her own way of working and they all have their personal touch! Is your drawing process similar? Do you work in different ways? Tell me everything about it on instagram or twitter! ✨