Sunday, May 20, 2012

Suggestion Box


Whether we are making changes to our appearance, adding new members, getting guest bloggers, or simply coming up with an idea for our next post, one thing is a constant concern of ours... you.

We really do try our hardest to make this blog the best daily resource of artistic information and inspiration as we possibly can. But we can always do better... and here is your chance to let us know how.

Do you have a good idea for post?
A guest you'd like to see interviewed?
Is there something we can do to improve your experience?
Whatever it is, let us know here in the comments section!

Perhaps the next time we don't have an idea for a post, we will dig into the comments and pick yours.

57 comments:

  1. I think an 80/20 post would be nice... Referencing the famous 80/20 ratio (80% of the project takes 20% of the time, the last 20% of the project takes 80% of the time). Focus on what 20% was the biggest chunk of effort for you in a piece. I think a lot of learning artists need to know that you don't quit after the first 80% is done... that's when you're just getting *started*.:-)

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  2. I think there are a lot of folk out here in internetland who would love to see pix of your workspaces. Even better, a little video of you in them.

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  3. A project you thought you'd hate, but turned out well. (and how that came to be) Those are always interesting.

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  4. i really enjoyed the post by todd lockwood and am also a huge fan of his art. it has the expressive brush that greg has in his own art and still manages intense detail. it would be nice to see how he tackles some things artistically instead of scientifically, as in having him talk about what his process is instead of just showing it. also, i think the muddies spend a lot of time talking about the art they do and how they do it but i'd like to hear about how they come up with a working composition in paintings- getting back to the roots and elements of art and showing beginners how they incorporate them.

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  5. I really enjoy reading your blog Dan. In terms of possible interviews, Michael Komarck comes to mind as someone who is a really prolific and talented artist who doesn't seem to appear in many interviews or artist profiles. He would also be a " great get" if you want to focus more on digital illustration. He may just be a very private person, but I'd hate to think that there isn't much info out there because no one bothered to ask.

    I had also heard that there might be an upcoming step-by-step of a Raoul Vitale painting which I would look forward to seeing....

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    1. The Raoul step-by-step is indeed coming. As for Michael Kormarck, I too am a huge fan. I don;t know him personally, but perhaps it's about time I changed that!

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  6. More female artists, please! Terryl is a wonderful addition to the blog, a great start... for guest interviews, how about the remarkable Claire Wendling? (Thanks again, Jesper) Also, Terese Nielsen, Eva Widermann, Kinuko Craft - and hey, see if you can get Rebecca to de-lurk for an interview!

    It might be enlightening to have interviews set up as a conversation between one of the Muddies and the guest. Tag-team style discussions are always fun.

    And: I second the motion for peeks at workspaces. I loved getting to snoop on the artist's setups at NLW, it's always interesting to me to see people's processes and setups.

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    1. A small feature on Terese is coming quite soon. With any luck, it will lead to more.

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  7. I'd like to hear some expert's advice on how to get your art into galleries. Just some practical tips geared towards beginning artists who are ready for their first show.

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  8. I really enjoy the site as is and the content is great. The process articles are great and I think the balance of artists working in different mediums is pretty good. The only sort of artist I feel is missing from the roster is someone like Tomer Hanuka/Frank Stockton, guys who work more with line and flat colours. I feel that that is one aesthetic that is missing on this site that a lot of people would be interested in.

    If there was one thing I'd add to the site it would be more articles detailing what should be in an illustrator's portfolio based on the field of illustration they're entering. So, if you're an illustrator looking to break into editorial illustration what are the sorts of things you would need to consider and incorporate into your portfolio pieces. What are art directors looking for with that sort of portfolio? Similar articles for fantasy/sci-fi portfolios would also be great. While it may seem obvious what should be in certain portfolios, I'm sure there are a number of things that aren't.

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    1. I absolutely agree. We definitely need an editorial guy on board. I've spoken to both the artists you mentioned, and though they are not interested in partaking full-time, I bet I can get a good guest post out of them.

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  9. I wish we could chat to Paul Bonner, not only see an article of his (guess this is up to him, not up to you though)
    As for a post idea I'd like to see more "How to" and actual process, you know- some tricks you've learned through the years, your own techniques -I know this is smth private and you kind of keep it secret but, hey, u asked for it :D

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  10. would be awesome if you let anthony s waters post a few times too :>

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  11. I think the changes made to the blog are very good. But I must confess that there is a problem to solve:
    For playback on mobile you have kept the classic version and this causes problems for images display, zoom and bad flashbacks difficult. If you enable the mobile version it would be a very good thing. In the model tab there is the option for mobile.
    Thank you in advance and good continuations

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    1. Hmmm.. I thought I had remedied that, but apparently not. Give me some time, and I'll fix it asap. Thanks for the heads up!

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  12. I know it's up to him, but seeing Paul Bonner as a regular member would make me very happy.

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    1. I spent some time with Paul this weekend, and tried quite hard to convince him to join us (there was even liquor involved). Alas, he is a man of conviction, and has little interest in technology, let alone blogging.

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  13. I second the notion for seeing pictures of people's workspaces. It's always fun to compare tools and guess at the workflow of other artists. No cleaning them up, though! We all know we don't have clean spaces.

    Another thing I'd like to see that would be helpful would be a list of reference books. What books do you guys turn to for weapons, clothing, armor, etc. etc. etc. I'm always on the lookout for good reference books and it's the first thing my art buddies and I do when we meet up (trade books and recommendations).

    Lastly, the series you guys did on studio safety, proper ventilation, and the dangers of turpentine was invaluable. I would like to know more about how to dispose of paints (or any other toxic waste materials I might need to dispose of as an artist).

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  14. Oh and one more thing! How do you guys get rid of old paintings? I find myself at that point in my career where I have no more room to store them. Do you buy storage? Have a bonfire? Auction them off? Donate them to charity for the tax deduction? It would be really useful to know how others deal with this problem.

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  15. The thing I like seeing the most is the process sketching, before/after comparison and reading the self critiques. Those articles keep me coming to the blog every week. If you get more guest bloggers to share their process that would be great, but the main contributors are fantastic. Thanks a lot!

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  16. I found Muddy Colors a few months ago and have been enjoying it so much! I'm always interested in painting process articles. Also, I've been learning to paint traditionally with oils for the past few years and would love to see articles for the total beginner in digital painting. I haven't made it all the way through the archives yet, so you may already have something.

    Thanks for all your work on this blog. It really makes a difference.

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  17. (Idea 1)
    Id kill for a 2d animator who has tips/ programs etc.,
    and anything from a 3d animator(think blur studios)
    (Idea 2)
    More critiques wouldn't be bad either, similar to the ones you currently do, but you randomly pick one a week and say what could be improved. Add suggestions to other paintings that do the critized part well, and leave it at that.

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    1. I only know "traditional" animators but I know a lot of peoples who work on animation field like Shane Glines or Bambinomonkey. it could be interesting indeed :)

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  18. In no particular order you need to feature...

    Ashley Wood
    Audrey Kawasaki
    Paul Pope
    James Jean
    João Ruas
    Jon Foster(who can make digital look like paint)
    Greg Capullo

    I know not everyone listed is a 'painter' but process and idea are always interesting. peace.

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    1. I just met Joao at Spectrum Live this past weekend. He is a wonderful person, and I may just be able to convince him to do a guest post for us.

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  19. You guys are great and the content is great! It's a great variety and between a few other blogs you can get amazing art instruction for free.

    I'm glad to see the addition of Serge Birault to the blog since he brings a very different perspective to the blog. The rigor of natural media is definitely something I don't want to diminish but Serge's post on Chaos was a welcome assurance that I wasn't pursuing a dead end.

    As far as suggestions I'd be curious to see how some of you work from the practical side of things. It doesn't need to be eyeglazingly mundane but maybe once or twice a month an article that bridges fantastic art with capitalism. Something along the lines of a post Dan made about one of his first contracts going somewhat awry would kind of be what I am thinking of.

    Thanks again to all the amazing contributors and taking time out to advocate and help many aspiring illustrators.

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    1. Also two other ideas occurred to me.

      • Arnie Fenner's defense of Kansas City was a good read and it put me on to the Alphonse Mucha exhibition that's amazingly close to me. I know you do promote shows all over but that was a treat to find out about.

      • Anything illustrators should be aware of politically. I sometime read Neil Gaiman's blog and he's posted about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and some of the free speech issues artists and consumers face. I know politics can devolve any web forum but I think people reading Muddy Colors are probably sensitive to protected speech issues.

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  20. Maybe an item on how to prepare your art for reproduction, scanning, taking a photograph of your art etc. RGB or CMYK and what format JPG, Tiff EPS etc. Digital adjustments made? Those kind of things.

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    1. Search the archives. I did a lengthy article on just that. The version of PS I was using was outdated, so some info is moot, but it should still be applicable.

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    2. http://muddycolors.blogspot.se/2011/08/printing-your-work.html

      And cheers for referencing this, Dan, as it is the exact issue I need to address today (after brewing espresso, of course).

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  21. I love the process pictures, and any technique information already, but if there was more that would be AWESOME.

    Also, if there was be a monthly video of the art worked on, that could be really cool.

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  22. Any way we can get demonstrational videos to go along with the articles? I think that would be more helpful than anything.

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  23. Also any article by Gerald Brom would be awesome if he's willing.

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  24. i would love to see everyones college portfolio, or maybe their first portfolio that helped them get their first jobs.

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  25. I loved Greg's post about the steps to planning a painting. It would be great to see him take it further by showing us how he used that list for a painting. (ie discussing how he wanted to light a scene, why he chose what he did and what not to do when choosing a lighting scenario for your own work) Sorry I understand that's a big task so I'm sure the post would most certainly have to be broken up into parts.

    I'd like to be able to search the site via author of post, rather than using the authors name as a keyword.

    Suggested guest bloggers
    Rebecca Guay (convert from lurker to guest blogger)
    Sam Weber
    Brom
    Charles Vess
    John Picacio
    Phil Hale
    Michael Komarck & Brom (already mentioned, I second it)
    Irene Gallo (I know she's posted once or twice but advice and behind the scenes from her would be great)

    Lastly I can only imagine how busy everyone is and that keeping up this fantastic blog is more work than people realise, so a big thank you to you Dan and all the other contributors.

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  26. More advice on not giving up on yourself, continuing to educate yourself, the impact of tablets and computers vs. printing artworks.

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  27. I'd love to see a feature where you guys show us your old work. To show us how far you've come, and maybe encourage those of us who feel as though you guys have always been incredible artists.

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  28. I think I'd like to see more initial sketches of all the pieces in the process breakdowns. I think there's too much focus on the finish on this blog. (e.g. all the drawings look great! Where are all the crappy ones that got thrown away to get to the good one?) There seems to be a tendency to become very tight and restricted to only the things you can draw well rather than be experimental and find something new or more honest.

    I also agree that seeing everyone's studios would be pretty cool.
    If I had to pick some extra additions they'd be:

    João Ruas
    Nathan Hale
    Ashley Wood

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  29. Maybe some stories that talk about the teacher-student relationship
    How some artists actually abuse that and how to spot bad teachers
    and seek out the good ones.

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  30. Thank you very much for this inspiring blog and the opportunity to make suggestions. Recently I had problems to take photos of my oil paintings. There were many reflections and I did not really know how to light the painting properly. It would be great to see a post from you covering this topic.

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    1. That is DEFINITELY coming up!

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    2. Thank you very much, I'm looking forward to it!

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    3. YES! The one thing I was about to suggest is marked DEFINITELY.

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  31. 1. I'd love to see a contribution by Brom

    2. I agree with previous posters about showing your old college work.

    3. What areas are you currently trying to strengthen/explore in your art.

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  32. Hi Dan and all the other Muddy Colors artist.

    Thanks a million for all your posts I really appreciate it.

    I like the mix you have been using for Muddy Colors posts. I think the fact that each artist is sharing their experience in one form or the other is very helpful in understanding the world of Illustration.

    I like the regular artists, and having special guests.

    For future guest artists: Michael Whelan, Rebecca Guay, Alex Nino, Dave Dorman, George Pratt, and Massimiliano Frezzato, all would be nice to hear from.

    For Topics:
    - Building confidence. How do you put your best work out there and try to work in the field when your still learning who you are and where you want to go as an artist.

    -how do you move from a part time artist to a fulltime artist.

    For Topic/Guest:

    -Do you know someone who's made a transition from Joe or Jane the Plumber to Joe or Jane the artist? What is their story, challenges, and how did they succeed?

    -Do you know anyone who decided to not be a fulltime artist/illustrator, who has chosen to stay independent, works a fulltime job but has become successful and happy artist/illustrator in their own way?

    My inspiration [and my hope] is William Stieg. In that at the age of 61 he started a new career writing and illustrating story books.

    Thank you for asking for our feedback.

    Mike...

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  33. Hello there!
    Since you mention people we would like to see interviewed, I would love to see something about Kekai Kotaki's work, he's such an amazing artist!
    Other then that, thank you for the great blog and for all your hard work!
    Keep up the good work! :D

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  34. A few more posts on the mundane, business side of being an illustrator would rock.

    How to keep organized for the dreaded tax day?
    Is starting a business as [insert name here]-studios better than being a freelance illustrator?
    How do you know if you're charging the right amount?
    What kinds of rights should I be looking for in a contract? What are some warning signs in a contract?
    How exactly should we do a portfolio (even down to what folder to use or not use, perhaps)?

    (for the Fine Artists)

    How do you approach a gallery with your work?
    What should a portfolio look like/include?
    How do you do taxes on a sale, if at all?

    I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more questions, but those are just what occurred to me as I typed this.

    Thanks all!

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    1. Ahhh.. taxes. That indeed deserves a post. Probably boring to most non-pros, but an absolutely imperative part of the business.

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  35. I think it would be interesting if some of you shared your early student work and talked a bit about what you like in it that was developed and what was discarded as you progressed. Maybe even some early professional work not quite what you do presently. It's a fantastic blog so far.

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  36. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful suggestions. Please keep them coming. We will indeed be dipping in this pool of comments for inspiration.

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  37. Here's one I would like -- have you ever studied the difference between artists who master and make a living doing only one style vs. artists who seem to leap around between styles, making a living on several of them? What are the advantages and disadvantages to either way, in any artists opinion? I see posts by masterful artists like those featured on this site -- known widely for a distinct style -- and yet I work with other illustrators (and am dabbling in this vein myself) who can mimic and create in a multitude of styles. Anything along this line would be something neato at least for me, and perhaps eye-opening (to show the different possibilities of artistic employ) to new and aspiring artists.

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  38. If this hasn't already been mentioned... it used to be that when I visited the page of a particular post the link to it on the right side changes color. This was how I kept track of viewed posts much of the time. Now the links are white regardless. Could you changed the color for visited links?

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  39. Iain McCaig?! That'd be fantastic haha :)

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  40. I would love to see an interview and maybe step by step piece from Jean-Baptiste Monge.

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  41. After reading Dan's great post on photographing the final painting, I was wondering if someone here can shed some light on shooting reference photos as well. I tend to run into problems of consistent lighting and POV.

    Thank you!

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