Time for a Competition !
l have always enjoyed doing portrait illustration for as long as l can remember. Back in December I had a little bit of unexpected time free as I had finished up a client’s project faster than anticipated. I had been following the artist and fashion illustrator Joanna Henly who also goes under the moniker of Miss Led for some time on Facebook and I saw that she was running a portrait illustration competition. I read the post to see what the competition was about but didn’t really think anything more of it, but left a comment. Then Miss Led herself asked me if I was going to do the competition, and I thought, “Well, why not ?”
As an Illustrator, should you enter competitions ?
There will always be reasons for and against entering competitions. I don’t usually have time to do competitions, due to my client workload. However, with this competition, the fact that I had gotten my month’s workload completed early plus the fact that it was just before I was going away for Christmas, I decided to give it a go. I guess some of the reasons for doing competitions are that they can give you exposure, they can help build up your portfolio and also there are prizes to be won! Of course there are also lots of reasons not to do competitions. You should never ever pay to enter a competition. It’s just a no-no: don’t do it. I have heard about artists entering competitions in the past where the artwork is judged by votes on social media. The whole thing then becomes a popularity competition and not an art competition. If you don’t win, these competitions can also be a bit demoralising and sometimes pinning your hopes on one shot can do more harm than good. The reason I did this competition was that I like Miss Led, and I thought it was a fun brief that provided me with a solid goal when I had an unexpected free week. And did l mention that portrait illustration is a particular passion of mine ?
The Miss Led and Wacom Portrait illustration Competition
Miss Led teamed up with Wacom to create the portrait drawing competition in December 2015. The brief was to create a portrait of absolutely anybody done in a particular style that involved watercolour, pencil and also digital techniques. I love using my Wacom Pad, indeed I would be utterly lost without my stylus and tablet and have been using them solidly for ten years now. I really liked how we were required to follow a particular tutorial done by Miss Led in order to complete the project. I really enjoyed Miss Led’s tutorials and can thoroughly recommend them to any up and coming illustrators.
But who to draw ?
You could draw absolutely anyone for this competition, but I thought it would be good to draw someone that was very relevant at that particular time. Adele came to mind as she had been out of the public eye for four years and was about to embark on her comeback with her new album, 25 and a huge world tour. Part of the brief was to also illustrate supporting images around the illustration of the main subject. So I spent a lot of time researching Adele and finding reference photos of her and photos that could be used for the supporting images, for example, a Grammy award and a Brit award. I once read that 90% of creating a good portrait illustration is picking the right reference photos to work from, and I firmly believe that to be true. I certainly spent a fair amount of time trawling google images and wikipedia! Here is my final artwork for the competition, hope you like it ! l didn’t win but hey, it was super fun to do, and l made a great new acquaintance with the girl who won it !
l offer all sorts of portrait illustration work. From private commissions for birthday presents , to wedding illustrations, to blogger illustrations and in store live portrait illustration to magazine editorial portraits. Do have a look at my portrait services page to see what l offer.