Organize Inspiration with Pinterest

When I was in college taking illustration classes my instructor, John, had us sifting through old magazines looking for examples of illustrations. Once we found those images he would have us tear them out and put them into a three ring binder alphabetically by the subject that the illustration pertained to. At the end of each term he would have us turn in the binder and it was a percentage of our grade for that class. I still have those binders in my closet collecting dust because it was so much work to put them together, hours and hours of time spent. Most of the artists I know have done this same thing in their careers. It could be that you have a drawer in a filing cabinet, a three-ring binder or pile on your desk dedicated to cool magazine clippings, photocopies of an interesting image you saw or some other inspirational materials. Well no more, let the clutter stop.


Well John we have something so much better to organize our inspiration now. Pinterest. In case you don’t know what Pinterest is it is a visual social discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. I’ve read a lot of articles about how to market yourself or sell your artwork on Pinterest. These are all great posts about how to get your work out there, but don’t forget to use Pinterest for what it was made for. If you’re not already using Pinterest, now is a great time to start. If you’re just starting out with Pinterest, and even if you’re not, let me make a suggestion to you right now. Create very specific “boards”. When I first started making “boards” I would just name them any old thing like “character design” and before I knew it I had 200 plus pins in my character design board. Everything from facial expressions to hand gestures were in my character design board. Yes, technically all these things would go into a character design folder, but it made it really hard to find it easily when I needed it. I found this out the hard way a few weeks ago and had to go back and re-organize all my boards so I can find my inspiration easier. Now I have boards dedicated to all types of art related inspiration. I have a board for color theory, backgrounds and settings, tutorials, facial expressions, hand gestures and many more. It’s a fast and easy way for me to get to my reference materials.

Now that you have a nice organized Pinterest account you can go out and find inspiring artwork, follow other artists with the same taste as you, market your illustrations and sell your work on Pinterest, but always remember the power of Pinterest is great and with great power comes greater need for organization.

If you’d like to read other posts about Pinterest that we’ve done on OUaS check out “Can Pinterest Help Your Art Get Better?” and “Sigh, I’m hooked on Pinterest“.

As You Wish…

Happy 2014, everyone!  It’s that time of year again.  That time when we all resolve with great intention to organize the house/lose the weight/run that marathon/kick that bad habit/save up for that thing we’ve been wanting……and a few months later lose motivation because we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere.  The same can be said for the business of children’s illustration. An artist can jump into the industry with the best of hopes, but become discouraged when those hopes don’t become reality.

So, how can we illustrators push our art and our careers to the next level in ways that yield results?  It comes down to setting the right goals.  Goals such as “I will get published this year” or “I will get that trade book” or “I will win that award” aren’t goals that we can actually do anything about.  We can’t make our favorite publishers hire us, and we can’t make that committee give us that award.  However, we can set realistic goals for ourselves that can make our art more competitive in the marketplace.  I recommend identifying 2-3 goals for your ARTWORK, and 2-3 goals for your BUSINESS.


Your Artwork
We’ve all done it.  We’ve gone into libraries and book stores, browsed the shelves of new children’s books, and sighed, “I wish my art was as good as insert-name-of-fabulous-artist-here.”  In fact, most of us have several illustrators that we admire, usually for different reasons.  This is informative! We can look at the artists that inspire us, evaluate our own portfolios, and make a wish list. Continue reading