Digital Illustration Portfolio Critique

This video critiques a digital illustration portfolio by Bryan Voell, providing an overview of the body of work, followed by critiques for each individual artwork. Topics explored in this video include achieving a broader range of textures in digital media, how to push the full potential of what a background can offer, artwork titles, and the potential for integrating text into the images. Aspects of the entire portfolio are first addressed, and then recommendations for concrete strategies for how to make progress on individual artworks is discussed. Critique led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Featured Artist

Bryan Voell

I am an artist and librarian currently living in Kansas. While I’ve never attended art school and have no plans to, I’ve been a visual artist of one form or another for just about 25 years. For the first 20 years I focused mostly on paper and glue collages, using found materials scavenged from used book sales.

The illustrations included here were created using the Procreate app. While this means that I could be considered to be a ‘digital artist’ I intend these works to eschew as much as possible many of the styles, tropes and hazards that come with digital illustrations. By this I mean, I don’t wish to avoid the appearance of imperfect or rough technique. I want the images to speak for themselves without having to prove their mettle through the shiny gloss of what can often be an anemic pursuit of digital perfection. I’m much more interested in presenting a visual story with a single image and showing what other artistic possibilities can be achieved through digital means.

I want my work to show examples of human compassion toward each other, toward animals and toward the earth through a sense of humor and reverence.

My work is inspired by such artists as Grace Hartigan, Jiri Kolar, Robert Pollard, Vivian Maier, Charlotte Salomon and Don Van Vliet, all artists whose originality motivates me to keep the sense of playfulness I find mostly missing in this world.

At this point in my creative life I crave real feedback. Social media comments just don’t cut it anymore. I have a body of work that I am really proud of and want to share it with others. But I don’t feel I or the work exists very comfortably in an art school echo chamber.

Do you have suggestions for good places to submit my work (journals, websites, etc.)? What strikes you the most about this collection as a whole? What is something you’d like to see more of in my work? Less of? What other artists do you recommend for me to seek out? If this were an art school portfolio, would I stand a chance?

Bryan Voell