Monthly Archives: June 2013

To Art School or Not to Art School

I recently ran across an article by Noah Bradley, which makes the bold statement, “Don’t go to Art School!”  This seems to be a constant argument among young up and coming and established artists.  Citing issues like art school being more expensive than an Ivy league education and the lack of jobs available period after college. Let alone ones that could possibly pay back in a way that is worth that kind of financial investment. You aren’t getting a law degree or becoming a Doctor.


So what do you folks think? Is Art School worth it for those who did attend?  For those who didn’t, are you glad of that? If you had to do it over what would you choose today?

Below is an excerpt from the article and a link to the original post.

Let us know your thoughts.


Don’t go to art school

The traditional approach is failing us. It’s time for a change.

I’ve had it.

I will no longer encourage aspiring artists to attend art school. I just won’t do it. Unless you’re given a full ride scholarship (or have parents with money to burn), attending art school is a waste of your money.

I have a diploma from the best public art school in the nation. Prior to that I attended the best private art school in the nation. I’m not some flaky, disgruntled art graduate, either. I have a quite successful career, thankyouverymuch.

But I am saddened and ashamed at art schools and their blatant exploitation of students. Graduates are woefully ill-prepared for the realities of being professional artists and racked with obscene amounts of debt. By their own estimation, the cost of a four year education at RISD is $245,816. As way of comparison, the cost of a diploma from Harvard Law School is a mere $236,100.

This is embarrassing. It’s downright shameful. That any art school should deceive its students into believing that this is a smart decision is cruel and unusual.

Artists are neither doctors nor lawyers. We do not, on average, make huge six-figure salaries. We can make livable salaries, certainly. Even comfortable salaries. But we ain’t usually making a quarter mil a year. Hate to break it to you. An online debt repayment calculator recommended a salary exceeding $400,000 in order to pay off a RISD education within 10 years.

Don’t do it.

Don’t start your career with debilitating debt.

Please. I beg you. Think long and hard whether you’re willing to pay student loan companies $3000 every single month for the next 10 years.

noah bradley image 2

You’ve got other options.

You don’t have to go to college to be an artist. Not once have I needed my diploma to get a job. Nobody cares. The education is all that matters. The work that you produce should be your sole concern.

There are excellent atelier schools all over the world that offer superior education for a mere fraction of the price. Here are a few:

Click here for the remainder of the article. is Helpful Resource for Digital Artists


Recently through a website called I found a very helpful website called  that has a lot of helpful tutorial videos for digital painters. This site was created by Matt Kohr an illustrator and concept artist.

I recently went through his entire course catalog on and found it very helpful. The site has wonderful information for beginners and advanced artists alike. His philosophy on tutorials is based more on a foundational approach as opposed to other tutorials which just show the process but not why the artist makes particular decisions. He walks you through the process of creating illustration step by step and the best part is he lets you know his tips, tricks and thoughts. Continue reading

Fan Art and Commissions – Legal or No?


One of the many ways that Illustrators supplement their income is to do commissions. The word commission in and of itself can mean any work that you take on for a fee. In this specific instance though we are generally speaking of work that you take on from a client that is for personal and not commercial purposes. This means that the client is looking at the work more as something to add to their personal collection (put on their wall) rather than publishing or reproducing in a commercial or publicly available format.

Commissions of this nature generally cater more to the clients favorite characters, ideas or scenarios.  Someone may ask you to draw Superman fighting Capt. America or Bilbo fighting Link from Legend of Zelda. This type of work is very common within the comic book /convention industry. At comic conventions you will often see artists drawing their renditions of a fans requested favorite character for a fee. The problem that can arise from this is that when characters are asked for that the artist or fan don’t own the copyright or trademark to you can run into some shaky water.

Image Pencils by SpiderGuile Inks by Wilson Williams, Jr.
all characters are owned by Marvel Entertainment

So if you are entertaining going into this aspect of illustration for additional income, I advise that you do your homework on the legalities of doing so. Even at conventions their is always the possibility of a being approached by the lawyer representing the copyright owner of a character you are selling. For your own safety approach every aspect of your work with as much knowledge as you possibly can.

As a starting point I ran across a great video that lays the groundwork for doing commissions and the legal and copyright issues that may arise. The video features Josh Wattles, a copyright expert and current professor and employee of DeviantArt. Enjoy his video where he goes over copyright and the implications it may bring.

New Jot Touch 4 Stylus for iPad Art


If anyone’s been reading Once Upon a Sketch for a while you’ll know that I’ve been looking for a way to turn my iPad into a drawing tablet. I’ve tried a bunch of different App solutions and styluses but nothing has seemed to make Apple’s tablet a good drawing device for me. Not to mention when you try to draw on the iPad you have to hold your hand at an awkward angle so that your hand doesn’t touch the screen while you’re drawing. Well the new Jot Touch 4’s palm rejection technology means no more hand hovering to avoid touching the screen and make creating art on your iPad as natural as drawing with a pen and paper. Or so says Kris Perpich, CXO at Adonit “Art is about expressive freedom, and artists shouldn’t feel restricted by their tools. The new Jot Touch stylus gives artists that freedom.” The Jot Touch 4 has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and has over a dozen drawing apps that are compatible. Apps like ArtStudio, Inkist, Inspire Pro, SketchBook Ink, Sketchbook Pro and many more are adding support soon. As I was looking through their of compatible apps I noticed that not all the apps are using Adonit’s palm rejection technology at this point. I’m sure the app developers just need to implement this new tech into their software but if you watch the sketchbook Pro video on their website the demonstrator never touches his hand to the iPad screen. Maybe this is just a feature that is in the works but only two of the apps that are specifically for drawing use their new technologies. The video below shows you what it takes to pair your Jot touch with SketchBook Pro.

When I first heard about this product I got super excited, but after doing a little research my hopes have come down a bit. The Jot Touch 4 has a lot of great things going for it. Pressure sensitivity with a stylus on the iPad is a dream I’ve had for a while now and it looks like its come true but at an $89.99 it comes at a price. Please don’t take this as a review. I’ve never use this product before. It’s just what I can glean from their site and a little research. I’ll have to continue checking back and hoping for a few more apps to add support for the Palm Rejection technology then I think I’ll be in. iPad artists were almost there. The Jot Touch is available today for purchase.


Questions for Adobe! What would you ask?


Hello Readers!

Norm and I recently hosted a roundtable podcast discussion about the changes with Adobe and Creative Cloud.

Well, we were contacted by Adobe and it looks like we’ll be getting the opportunity to interview one of their reps. We’ll be asking the questions you’ve wanted answers to. So we are soliciting that our readers send us the questions they would like us to ask during this interview. We’ll choose a selection of questions to use from your submissions. All questions submitted are not guaranteed to be asked during the interview.

Feel free to post your questions in the comments or send us an email. Also let us know if it’s ok for us to use your name when we ask the question.

The interview will hopefully be the next podcast we post. The deadline for question submission is this coming Wednesday, June 26. 2013.

Thanks so much and we look forward to reviewing your submitted questions!
-Norm and Wilson

Previous Posts dealing with this issue:

Adobe Creative Cloud Roundtable Podcast Discussion

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud VS Creative Suite (Infographic)

Alternatives to Using the Adobe Creative Suite

Adobe announces plan to switch to subscription service

Please check the Adobe FAQ page for answers to your questions that may already be answered.
We don’t want to ask too many questions that the answers to which are already available online.

Finding Artists Groups on Facebook

A great way to spread your work around Facebook is by joining like-minded groups. Groups let you share things with the people who will care about them most. For artists it’s usually their artwork and news about the industry. Let’s look into how to join groups and then how to share with them.


First Sign into Facebook. Go to Facebook and sign in. Once you’re signed in at the very top of the page is a blue bar that says “Search for people, places and things” begin typing and a list of groups/pages will begin to pop up. For this example I typed in “illustration”.


If a group pops up that you like click on it or at the bottom of the results you will see an area that says “see more results for (keyword)”. Once you’ve found a group you like the look of navigate to their page. On their page click the “Join Group” button at the top of the page by their group’s name. If successful the text in the button you clicked should have changed to “joined” or “Cancel Request”. If it comes back with “Cancel Request” this just means the administrator needs to approve you before you can join the group. Once you’re a part of the group you can now post things to the group’s wall. To do this, go to their wall then at the top of the page you will see the group’s cover image and just under that is the name of the group followed by About and Photos.


Now if you’ve got something to share with the group just below that you should be able to enter what you’re excited about. Then you can type in your news and press the Share button. Everyone in the group that has liked that page and everyone that views that group will be able to see it. You can also add Pictures, Videos and Web Links onto group’s walls. It’s a great way to spread the word about your latest project, a new blog post, or just what you’ve been up to. Remember to keep it related to what the group is about.

If you’ve got any suggestions for Facebook groups people should join please leave them in the comments below and let us know what you thought of this post.

Improving Your Facebook FanPage


Once you’ve set up your Facebook fan page you might think you’re done but there’s still a lot more work to do. You may get a few Likes at first but the goal here is to continue gaining momentum and continuing to spread the word.


Spreading the word
Now that your fan page is set up Facebook walks you through a few steps. First thing Facebook Highlights is the “Like” button. Liking your fan page shares the “Like” with your other Facebook account’s timeline. Which starts the process of building support for your fan page. It spreads the word to all of your other accounts friends. Another option Facebook gives you is emailing your friends to let them know about your new fan page. Whichever way you like to spread the word, do it. Sadly, for most of us the only people that will spread the word for you is you and your mom, so it’s on you to spread the word about your art. Don’t forget to add a Facebook like button on your blog and webpage. Join art related Facebook groups and share your page with them. And finally, “Like” other artist’s fan pages. You never know they may like you back.


Paying Facebook to spread the word for you
Facebook does offer a service that for a fee they will get viewers to your page by advertising your posts or your page. When you run your ad or sponsored story on Facebook, they only charge you for the number of clicks you receive. When I set up my fan page I was shown a drop-down with 4 pricing options. Each were on a per day basis and ranged from $5 to $20 a day. The amount that you pay will never be more than your daily or lifetime budget and there are no additional fees associated with running ads or sponsored stories on Facebook. The larger your budget, the more people a campaign is likely to reach. Personally as an artist my budget for advertising is very low so I did not choose any of these options. I certainly don’t want to dissuade anyone from using this service so if you’re interested this option can be found in the admin panel which we will talk about in a little bit.


Cover Image
Next, I created a cover image in PhotoShop and uploaded it. I would suggest creating an image that highlights some of your work and says what the page is about. Once you’ve created this image or just want to move forward with an existing image click the “Add a cover” button found in the lower right-hand corner where the cover page image will appear. Now click on “Upload Photo.” Upload the banner image you’ve selected. Adjust the image’s placement and click save changes. Wilson Wiliams made a wonderful template for the cover photo showing you the live area. Check it out. Continue reading

Fix Missing Images from Post on Facebook

On OnceUponASketch we are constantly posting our articles and posts to Facebook and any other number of social networks. When you post a link on Facebook it usually goes to the link and finds images that it then gives you the option of displaying in association with your post. Sometimes when we post to Facebook we have a problem getting the images associated with an article to show up. Also at times the link seems to be broken and won’t connect though the link is correct. Here is how you fix that!

The Facebook Debugger!


To use the Facebook Debugger you simply follow the above link.

Enter the link to your post and the debugger will search it out.


After it searches your link it will deliver back to you information on what it finds.

It will also list possible reasons the link may not work and things you may need to fix. However, generally just entering your link into the debugger is sufficient to correct the reasons that your link isn’t displaying properly.


Debugging the link usually fixes the issues Facebook may be having with it. After debugging you simply need to try posting the link again to Facebook. If it still doesn’t work then the information returned after debugging may prove useful in troubleshooting the problem. Enjoy!

5 Steps to Setting up a Facebook Fan Page


This week on Once Upon a Sketch we are going to talk about setting up a Facebook fan page. Wilson and I recently both set up fan pages and we’re going to share everything we learned with you. It’s not a difficult process but it’s always nice to have someone to help you through it. Here we go.


1. Log into Facebook. If you don’t already have an account you’ll need to create one to make a fan page.


2. Once you’re logged in, click on the gear in the top right corner of your page. Now click “Advertising.”

fbfp0013. Then you should be on a page titled “Advertise on Facebook”. Below this title you should see three steps. The one you’re looking for is “Step 1: Build your Facebook Page”. In the text under step one you will find a link that says “Create a Page”. Click on that link. Continue reading

Facebook Fan Page Banner and Profile pic template

I recently launched my Facebook fan page as well as my first Children’s e-book fan page for my upcoming, “Mary Had A Sleepy Sheep”. Written be Julia Dweck. Both of them are on Facebook.

In the process I tried to find a guide on the sizes of everything. What dimensions are the banner? What size is the profile pic? Where do they rest in relation to each other? I found bits of info from multiple sources and decided to compile the info into a template that I decided to share with our readers.

Please note that these dimensions are for Facebook fan pages only. Not your normal Facebook pages, those dimensions are slightly different.


You can download this template in 3 formats; Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and a .pdf. The Photoshop and Illustrator files are set up with multiple layers for ease of creation. Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions or corrections in comments!

    Illustrator Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template

    PDF Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template

    Photoshop Facebook Fan Page Banner/Icon Template

And since we’re discussing Facebook Fan Pages, you can find my fan page here!


As well as my new children’s e-book fan page here! Publication date September 5, 2013. (Mark your calendars!)  Be sure to like them!



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