Alice Potter Tag

Unless you follow me on twitter, I kept this a little under wraps. Towards the end of 2017 I noticed a call out by Templar Publishing for a new competition. Called the Templar Illustration Prize, the competition was open to both students and professionals.

The brief was to design a book cover and story board on the theme of dragons. I entered my piece back in March 2018, and to my great surprise I made the final 10! Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through to the last 3, but the knowledge that I may just have story potential for children’s books, inside me is motivating. I honestly didn’t think my entry would ever make it as far as it did.

In honour of my time in the competition coming to an end, I thought I would share my cover design and a favourite spread with you.

Thank you Templar Publishing for the competition and support.

Read more about the competition HERE.

See my portfolio HERE.

Early sketches.

At this early point, I really thought I couldn’t continue with my submission. I found it very difficult to illustrate and design a dragon. Some of these are mortifying, but I wanted to share so you can see the process.

 

Dragon_Development-Work_02_Alice-Potter_2018Design development on the iPad Pro.

Templar Illustration Prize 2018 ShortlistFinal cover idea.

Templar Illustration Prize 2018 ShortlistInternal spread.

 

In early February I put a call out on Instagram Stories for your questions for a future Q&A blog post. What have you always wanted to ask an illustrator or freelancer, and you came back to me with some great questions.

Below, I have answered each question in turn, some of which overlap a little. It was a real pleasure to answer such in depth questions from you all.

James: What is the first image I remember that made me want to be an illustrator?

I actually don’t ever remember a particular moment or image that made me want to be an illustrator. I fell into the career after my studies, however, I always liked picture books growing up and my mum was an excellent artist and textile designer too.

Lea: How do you price work for clients?

This is a broad and difficult question to answer, Lea. Mostly, it comes with experience. I will also suggest joining the AOI so that you can gain access to their pricing survey which will give you a fair idea of how to price for a variety of projects in all major markets. Be aware also, that designing with an agent or studio means that you only get a certain percentage. If you are representing yourself, my suggestion is to alway price higher and be willing to negotiate a little, but NEVER undersell yourself or YOUR skills.
Q&A: Everything You Wanted To Know About My Illustration Career - Alice Potter
Michelle: Which MATS class is most useful for someone starting out as an illustrator?
For those that don’t know. Make Art That Sells is an online collection of e-courses run by US agent, Lilla Rogers. Courses available include MATS A, MATS B, Home decor, Illustrating Children’s Books, Bootcamp, and new this year a bunch of other courses including one about illustrating faces. I have taken each class once, and for beginners I suggest starting with either Bootcamp or MATS A which covers markets including fabric, home decor, children’s books, wall art and gift.
That course boosted my confidence back in 2014 when I took it, and I ended up selling one design I did via a studio, and got many jobs off of the work completed in the class too. I recommend this class to a lot of new illustrators and designers.
Besides MATS, what tips or resources would you recommend for building a portfolio from scratch?
I have a written a blog post here about key themes you should have in your portfolio if interested in art licensing.
I would also recommend looking at sites like Emily Kiddy, Patternbank and Print and Pattern and LovePrintStudio for trend insights. You can purchase well priced trend books from Emily Kiddy and on Patternbank too. I use these regularly for my work.
If going into editorial, make sure you have illustrations of people as well as objects.
Look at whats out there in magazines, books and on blogs and websites, and interpret the perpetual themes in your own way.
What is something you know now that you wish you did when starting out?
To be confident and assertive from the start. Nerves really can hold you back in life.
Q&A: Everything You Wanted To Know About My Illustration Career - Black and white drawings - Alice Potter
Hally: Have you always wanted to go into illustration and did you naturally find a style that sets you apart from other artists, or did you find that difficult?
The honest answer to this is no, Hally. I studied Textile Design in London, and despite studying this I wasn’t sure where I fitted. My work was considered more illustrative than my peers, but I didn’t really know, or see illustration as a career option. It took a few years to find my own path into the subject, and many more years after that to find a ‘style’ that suited me. However, even that changes often.
What do you enjoy most about being a freelancer and is there anything you find difficult?
I enjoy the flexibility of everyday life that working for myself brings. I can start a little later, take an afternoon off, meet a friend, or go to a museum, because I will always make up the time in my own way. Some days are harder than others, and I am particularly prone to procrastination. I find though, that the act of doing one creative thing, then inspires me to do more, and suddenly, a whole day has passed and I have been busy and completed a lot of tasks.
Ashley: What sort of income streams do I have?
This is a great question and one that I think is important to answer. As a self employed illustrator income is key. I don’t have a monthly salary and haven’t for many years. My income now comes in from many different sources which I have to keep track of.
These include:
– Shop sales – Etsy and Not On The Highstreet
– Commissions – Books, magazines and other
– Licensing deals – Greeting cards etc from my agent
– Monthly or quarterly royalties – stock images, print on demand sites etc
– Occasional face-to-face markets
– Instagram ads
In 2018 I am also considering other potential income streams including a possible online course.
Amy: How did you reach the volume of followers that you have? Are there any steps you took?
I presume, Amy, that you are enquiring about my number of social media followers, particulary in Instagram?
In November 2014, I had just over 2000 and decided to take a class by Hilary Rushford on building your Instagram. I don’t know if it was that helpful, but after implementing a few tips, I noticed a steady increase in numbers. Posting regularly, and being consistent is key too. I know that my friend, Emma Block does a workshop in London occasionally about this very subject.
When did you have a breakthrough moment in your illustration career?
One of my best and earliest big commissions was with fashion brand Ted Baker, and I consider that to be a turning point in my career. It got my name out there more, and it was great to see my art in stores worldwide. Moments like that are great, but may not happen for many years for most illustrators. You have to treat every commission you get as special, and put 100% into each job. Only put out there work which you ultimately want to do.
Is it enough to rely on illustration as a career?
YES! If you don’t undersell yourself, and you must consider leveraging your art and skills across many different markets.
Q&A: Everything You Wanted To Know About My Illustration Career - Alice Potter
Fiona: What is your experience with different illustration agents?
Kath: Agents and representation. Do you have any advice?
Kath and Fiona, I hope you don’t mind but I bundled your questions together as they were the same subject.
Broadly speaking, it’s a real challenge to find the right agent, and so many new illustrators, like me at the time, will sign with anyone who flatters them even a little. Many times, you may not be suited to the client base of the agency, or maybe there are too many artists for you to be noticed. Maybe, you should just represent yourself, learn everything you can about pricing and contracts, and be done with the idea that only illustrators with agents are the successful ones. This is simply not true. I know many, unrepresented illustrators who are incredibly successful!
I can’t say if agency representation is right for you, but don’t dive in, do some research, speak to other artists and see who their clients are.
Tenille: How did you go about getting representation? Did your agent find you or did you solicit numerous agencies?
Tenille, please read the above response to Kath and Fiona’s question about representation. In terms of finding one, I was not approached directly, and have always undertaken it myself to email agencies I admire with a submission. Always follow the website guidelines for submissions if there are any.
Lesley: Your style is really original. What has inspired you and have you always drawn this way?
My style has changes a lot over time. Getting a Wacom tablet helped me to develop my handwriting, and last year I also got and iPad Pro which has enabled me to develop my style further and also to be more efficient with my designing.
Thanks to everyone who contributed questions to this post. I really enjoyed answering them and I hope they may be of use to some of you out there.

Easter as a holiday seems to have grown in popularity over the last few years. Easter eggs are available as soon as Christmas is over, and the product range is vast ranging from bunny ears to easter egg hunt kits.

This year, I wanted to design a sweet print collection aimed at children’s clothes.

It needed the following themes:

  1. Bunnies
  2. Flower
  3. Chicks
  4. Eggs
  5. Pastel colours
  6. A main print
  7. A smaller ‘ditsy print’
  8. Placement prints for t-shirts

With these points in mind I drew up some cute bunny and chick characters for my pattern design. These were worked into a main pattern repeat with flowers to add interest. The overall effect is sweet and has a sense of movement to it.

I also worked on a ditsy design with just florals on a dark background, as this has impact and contrasted well with the main print. This ditsy is also available as a one colour design on white.

Simple and cute placement prints with ‘applique’ design elements have been included to tie the collection together with the characters.

The collection is available to buy or license. Please get in touch for more details.

Cute Easter baby onesie with pastel coloured bunny and flower pattern

With every new year, we habitually make plans and decisions to improve upon or change our lives. I decided to not make any significant resolutions for 2017 except to try and feel less anxious about life, and to be a little bit more adventurous. Using my sketchbook as way to destress each day seemed like a simple idea so in early January I found a small sketchbook, and have given myself about 30 minutes each day to draw something.

There are many contemporary artists and illustrators who swear by daily sketchbook keeping. Ohn Mar Win has recently launched a Skillshare class on keeping a sketchbook everyday, and testifies to how much her art and confidence has grown on the two years since she started.

Jennifer Orkin Lewis (aka August Wren) published her much anticipated book last year called Draw Everyday, Draw Everyway, and as simple as it sounds, the book encourages you to draw from the theme prompts and to explore various mediums at the same time. A little practice each day can have an enormous effect on the quality of your art in the long run.

With this in mind, I took on the challenge, however without the challenge part. I didn’t want to feel pressurised into sharing my sketchbook work daily. It needs to be carefree and most of all relaxing to help cope with the everyday stresses of life.

My daily sketchbook practice allows me to explore simple themes and think about shapes in a new way. I am enjoying exploring geometrics and florals with a fresh eye, and using the spread of the page to create interesting and dynamic compositions.

I am hoping that with daily sketchbook practice, my illustration and surface pattern design work may develop along new lines, and with continued use of the sketchbook, eventually a long lasting habit with emerge that will influence and enhance my art for the better.

Daily sketchbook practice and drawing by Alice Potter Illustration

Daily sketchbook practice and drawing by Alice Potter Illustration

Daily sketchbook practice and drawing by Alice Potter Illustration

Daily sketchbook practice and drawing by Alice Potter Illustration

Daily sketchbook practice and drawing by Alice Potter Illustration

My DIY Mini Makes challenge is still growing strong. I just finished week 2 and made two really cute air dry clay pieces.

It’s all a bit of trial and error, but I am trying to have low expectations on how things turn out. However, this week, this didn’t really apply as a pinch pot mug I made up went spectacularly wrong during the decorating stage, it had to just go in the bin.

I replaced it with a pyramid ring holder which I decorated with black ink stripes and a gold tip. It’s so far my favourite, but with 10 weeks still to go, that could easily change.

Other makes include a small vase for my air plant in navy blue with white splatters and a small blue bowl with black spots inside.

I’m hoping I can build on some ideas I have, but some I feel may be too complicated with such simple clay.

Follow along on Instagram to see them first with #AlicesMiniMakes

Mini MAke_02b_Alice Potter_2016

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I focus on making small objects such as bowls and ring dishes. To decorate, I tend to use acrylics as they sit on the dry clay quite well. My favourite paint is Golden Acrylics gold. It’s like painting with liquid gold leaf. You can see it on the ring holder below.

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UPDATE:

After these air dry clay makes, I didn’t manage to continue with my challenge. I think this is a reflection on my nature where I can remain focused on challenges like these for a few weeks, but always get distracted quite quickly. As an example, I have tried to dip my toe in various Instagram challenges like daily drawing, and I always get so far before I want to do something else. This is definitely something I want to work on in 2017.

I set myself a challenge to make an Air Dry clay mini object every week for 12 weeks. I want to be spontaneous and see what happens. Maybe my objects will be greatly improved by the end.

Week 1 is complete and here is my first Mini Make of my 12 week challenge. I ended up making a simple plate which measures only a few inches wide. Keeping them small is one of the constraints I have decided to give myself.

I used white air dry clay that I actually brought from Tiger (so it’s really cheap and easily available) and made a simple ring dish, painted with pink acrylic. The dots were done with a black sharpie but when varnishing they bled a bit. This is definitely a real learning curve for me to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’m using this one to keep my rings in now because I love the colour and design of it.

Air dry clay is a wonderful material to use for beginners and young children. You don’t need any special equipment and your makes don’t have to go in the oven which is a big plus. It’s a great activity to do with any young people you may know as you could make decorations for christmas, gifts or letter to spell out their names.

If fun DIY’s are something that might interest you I would love to direct you to my Pinterest board called DIY And Craft. It’s packed with simple projects and includes some fun makes to do with air dry clay. This project is particularly fun looking and so SIMPLE! Who wouldn’t want to make a dish shaped like a pineapple, and imagine making a whole fruit range as a present for someone.

Follow along on Instagram using the #AlicesMiniMakesMini-Make_01_Alice-Potter_2016

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Today, I wanted to share my intentions for the next 12 weeks. My plan or manifesto, if you like.

I have been so inspired by all those taking part in the 100 days of project, but I wanted to do something that wasn’t daily and that had a more relaxed feel to it. I also wanted it to be a skill or material I have no experience with, so that by the end I may (or may not) be better.

That’s why, starting from the week of the 25th April, I am going to start a 12 week challenge where twice a week I make a mini object out of air dry clay. It’s a material I have recently come across but have little experience with, so it will be a time for learning and experimentation.

I have set myself a few parameters to keep it consistent which I will list below:

  1. I will make 2 air dry clay objects each week for 12 weeks (except the week I may be away, in which case, I will prep before)
  2. The maximum height will be 4″
  3. The maximum diameter will be up to 5″
  4. I will decorate each with a unique pattern
  5. Each ‘mini make’ will be documented weekly and put onto this blog and other social media channels
  6. At the end I will document all 24 (hopefully) in a beautiful final photoshoot. 

I have popped some of my main inspirations below which can be linked back via my ceramics page on Pinterest.

Follow along on Instagram with the #Alice’sMiniMakes.

Leah Jackson Ceramics

ring-cone-holder-ceramic-gift

Nordstrum

L’atelier des Garcons

Recently, I was lucky enough to be asked to work once again with the team at Bulletin Magazine on an internal editorial illustration. Last year I did a typographic cover for the magazine, which was my first cover art, and my overall experience with the team at the publishers, has led me to love the creative freedom they give their artists.

Below is my editorial spread for the article on therapists using Skype to offer one-one sessions with school students.

I wanted my illustration to convey the privacy of the sessions but also the remoteness of doing therapy via the internet. To convey this I used the image of a desk in an office with the computer screen showing the start of a session between a child and their therapist.

You can see below some rough sketches that were sent along to the client before I started on the computer. These are more rough than I normally would do, and I would generally tend to do roughs on the computer in line. You can see the theme beginning here in the roughs, and the client decided upon the bottom version which was my top choice.

Editorial Illustration for Bulletin magazine - rough illustration

Bulletin Magazine March 2016 edition

This is the final version in print in the March 2016 edition over a centre fold spread. I’m really happy with the simple colour scheme and overall effect of the finished illustration. Coming up with a solution to the subject matter was a challenge but I think I achieved a response that was both bold and sensitive to the theme.

Bulletin Magazine Internal Editorial Illustration by London based Illustrator Alice Potter

Bulletin Magazine Internal Editorial Illustration by London based Illustrator Alice Potter

It’s a real pleasure to work with clients who give creative freedom to their artists, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with the team at Bulletin again.

If you like this editorial piece and would like something similar, then please get in touch HERE.

Here is my second instalment of sharing my sketchbook spreads. This week, I took inspiration from the page of teacups I did as part of the Creative Bug Daily Drawing Challenge. The designs were screaming greeting card designs, which I did in one day. The next day I had sold half of the collection.

It goes to show that drawing leads to ideas, which then leads to opportunities and it’s made me feel positive about my work in this new year.

Here are a few pages for you to enjoy this week:

sketchbook spread - Alice Potter illustration Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 16.01.12 Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 16.01.25

If you didn’t know already, you can download a free Christmas Colouring Poster which I designed recently. It’s a great activity to do with young children or just for yourself. I coloured my own A3 poster using brush pens and copics, and felt so focused and relaxed during the 2 mornings it took me to complete.

I took some photos during my poster and you can see the results above. Hopefully it will inspire you to print out and try your own.

 

Animated Peace and Joy Colouring Poster by Alice Potter Illustration

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Have a wonderful, restful Christmas everyone!