Children’s Book Illustrator
“I’m an illustrator and writer based in the Boston area, having graduated from the RISD Illustration department in 2017. I’m motivated by youthful sensibilities, shapes, color, and narratives that range from the whimsical to the tiny moments.
Creating content for children is a major drive in my work. Aside from constantly doodling, I’m heavily inspired by my daily interactions, day dreams, nightmares, nostalgia, and music. I would like to improve my craft so that my art style can feel more concrete and deliverable.”Purchase a portfolio critique
Partial Video Transcript
“Hi Yuko! My name’s Alex, and I’m going to be doing your portfolio critique!
Little bit on how this is going to work: we’re going to start with an overall comment on your work, your direction, your artist statement– and then we’re going to go piece by piece, exploring your work, and then I’ll offer your standard critique!
We’re gonna talk about what you could improve on, what you’re doing well, and then– thank you so much for including two book dummies, which is amazing! So, we’re going to conclude this portfolio by examining those book dummies, and, kind of wrapping it up!
So, we’re starting with this image as the piece to look at the overview of your work, because I think it shows a lot of your good qualities. You say in your artist statement that you’re drawn to youthful sensibilities, shape, color, narratives, both whimsical and the tiny moments. And you really want to create content for children. And, check the boxes on all accounts. This is great.
Your shape and your color consistently is very strong throughout your work. Those are your strongest pieces, I would say. You say you want to improve your craft so your art feels concrete and deliverable. We’ll explore this in more detail throughout, but I really think you’re there.
I think, in a way, you’re asking the wrong question about your work. Now, your work right now, this portfolio– it sounds frustrating, but– it reads as a student portfolio. Now, let me say it reads as a phenomenal student portfolio, but it reads as a student portfolio.
The work that’s displayed is a lot of one-off images, with the exception of your children’s’ books, and what art directors and agents like to see in work is consistency. They want to see the same character repeated multiple times, in different situations with different lighting, different expressions, and right now what I mean by the student portfolio– it looks almost assignment-driven.
Now, again, your work is incredibly strong, and it’s a really good student portfolio, but that’s where I think it just needs some time for you to create more work, more series. To say the frustrating crit phrase, I love it, we just need to see more. Now, there’s…no worries about taking your time on that. Let’s explore this piece first.
One thing this has instantly that I like is black and white. Now, that’s something your work does need more of. And art directors and agents, whether you talk to them or read blogs, they will always say they want to see black and white. They want to see more of it. Especially for illustrators that are just starting out.
Because black and white is cheaper print, it’s easier to produce, it’s faster produced (most of the time), and you have such a good quality for it! You’re– look at the balances of your grays, and your lights and your darks win to let the page shine through– you’re really good at black and white, and you need to show that off more.
Now, with this one, the color incorporated in– I think it gets a little too wild. There’s– I don’t know, a kind of mixture in the colors within where the colors work, and it’s pretty complex, but they kind of start to blur together. What I think it needs is a change in value within the colors. Kind of, a change in saturation almost.
Let’s bring those out; they kind of fall flat and there’s a cool texture and effect of them kind of falling both within and behind the buildings, but let’s see them start come forward as well. And getting some nice opacity in the colors to kind of add to that flow, I think would do the trick.
This piece is really nice. I love it because it’s simple. The colors are simple, the composition is simple, the character is simple, but you’re just knocking it out of the park on all accounts. And, your work gets pretty complex with its color, which is really impressive, but this one is just like– it’s a cool piece that’s done extraordinarily well.
This brings up another point with work in general that we’re gonna be talking about, which– you say that you want to create content for children, but don’t limit yourself. I think a lot of your sensibility has a lot of strength for editorial work, for advertisements, for magazine publication just as well as children’s book publication.
Not to mention, children’s magazines. Like, highlights magazine, cricket magazine– but I gotta say highlights especially. I mean, send out mailers to them right away. Because I think your work would really fit. But, with this one, when you create your portfolio and when you present yourself on a website, you almost want to have a full portfolio for every section of work you create.”