SVSLearn & Team

Posted on Dec 28, 2016

svslearn_will-terry_jake-parker_lee-whiteI’ve greatly enjoyed and benefited from this past year. Will Terry, Jake Parker, and Lee White are all quite talented and quite generous in sharing what they’ve learned.  Beyond SVSLearn itself, each also has videos on their Youtube accounts that are quite valuable too, not to mention all of their other social media posts. Here are links to where they are at (I will probably write more about each in other posts):


Jake Parker :


EDIT 05/25/17: 

Want to know where to start and how to progress through all of the classes on SVSlearn? A course-path list by Jake Parker has been provided here:

BrushBox Plugin to Organize Photoshop Tools/Brushes

Posted on Dec 28, 2016

Having purchased all of Kyle Webster’s brushes (technically they are “tools”) over time, there are so many tools/brushes that the list gets quite intimidating even after I renamed & organized for clarity.

So… I preordered BrushBox, a new bush & tool organizing plugin, a couple weeks ago and just finally got around to installing it. This looks to be quite promising for increasing workflow efficiency, so I thought I’d share in case others here are looking for something like this:
(Created By:

There are likely to be some improvements/updates to the plugin in the near future; though, it seems to already be an amazing help just as it is right now!

BTW, here are Kyle’s Brushes:
(Created By:

Here are screen grabs from my Photoshop:

01: Original Tool List (standard Photoshop tool listing with my renaming & organizing)


02: BrushBox Folder List


03: BrushBox Folder Expanded to Show Tool List-View


04: BrushBox Folder Expanded to Show Tool Icon-View


What art supply would you give your 9 year old self?

Posted on Dec 23, 2016

Another artist posed the question:

What art supply would you give your 9 year old self?

Here’s my response:

stuartngbooksAt the moment, I am thinking about the “Art of [Some Favorite Animation/Film]” kinds of books (like “Art of Zootopia” or “Designing The Secret of Kells” or “Art of Spirited Away” or “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens“, etc.). I didn’t have those back then, but I think that it would have been inspirational & aspirational for me [also showing me how these were created, which would have set me off on the right foot early on]. A place to start for perusing them (or buying) might be; though, you won’t likely be able to get an order by Christmas, unless you live or are traveling in/near Torrence, California!

prismacolorsAlso, a lot of my inspiration and initial development came from comic books & copying the art there…

As far as art supplies… I probably would have benefited from a Prismacolor set and decent paper. I think it would make a good compliment to the watercolors that Simona mentioned, allowing her to explore wet & dry media and consider mixed media.

Printer Recommendations

Posted on Dec 14, 2016

On Jake Parker’s site at, he lists the Epson R2000 Printer which he says:

“This is the best printer ever. I use it for making fine art prints that I sell at conventions. The color is stellar. It’s a work horse too. Any normal printer problems I’ve had with it were easily dealt with. I think every serious artist needs one. It’s also great for printing on smooth bristol or cardstock. I do my pencils in Photoshop, print them out, then ink over it. Win!”

I think that these are newer versions of that printer:

Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Wide-Format Color Inkjet Printer (C11CA16201)

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Color Inkjet Printer (CA61201-VM)

Epson’s site shows a Stylus Pro 4900


Lee White says:

“I use the epson 4900 and it’s been amazing. It can print on board up to 1/4″ thick. It can print big and the color and resolution are amazing. Some people complain of print heads clogging up which is typically due to not using it enough. These printers need to run at least every other day, even if you just print something small to keep that from happening.”

Regarding paper for selling prints, Lee says:

“I use Epson bright white watercolor paper on roll for my prints that I sell. This is an amazing paper. Better than any other paper I have found.”

Of course, these printers aren’t exactly cheap… Also, they may be overkill if one only wants to print sketches onto watercolor paper and aren’t planning on using it for prints & such. I’m guessing that there are probably less expensive printers that will allow one to get started for something like that; though, 1/4″ thick… that’s nice!

I think there are a few things that one would need to look for in a printer for printing onto watercolor paper:

  1. Can it handle heavy paper? If it has a feeder, like the Epsons above, then it is likely to handle such.
  2. Can it handle the size of paper you are doing your watercolors at? If you just work at letter-size, then your options are wide, but if you work big, then you’ll have to go wide-format like the Epsons above; though, that only gets you up to maybe 13″ wide.
  3. Are the printed graphics water resistant? The Epson R2000 that Jake listed says that the inks are, I’m not sure about the other two, but I’m guessing they are too.

While I don’t have personal experience here since most all of my work has been digital for awhile, being able to print a light, refined sketch onto the paper being used would be so beneficial.

Publisher’s Weekly 2016 Children’s Starred Review Annual

Posted on Dec 12, 2016

publishers-weekly_childrens-starred-reviews-2016If you haven’t seen this, it’s available online. You can download a pdf of it too (upper right link of the page):

“This year’s edition features 390 starred reviews of children’s and young adult books that published in 2016. Plus we talked to children’s book editors about what it was like to work with authors who were their childhood heroes.”

Also, here is the NYTimes “Notable Children’s Books of 2016”

my-name-is-james-madison_by_jonah-winter_and_terry-widenerAn illustrator here in Dallas that I know (Terry Widener) got listed too! He’s a great guy and we’re all so glad he got featured in this list! His book:

My Name is James Madison Hemings
By Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Terry Widener.
40 pp. Schwartz & Wade Books. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 9)

Inktober 2016 Recap

Posted on Oct 31, 2016

Thought I’d share a recap of all my Inktober 2016 posts into one image.


My approach was to do two inked sketches per day with each morning post done according to the daily prompts given by @Jake-Parker (listed on each sketch in the image) and the afternoon posts being free choice.

Since I tend to lean on painting/rendering with much of my work, I decided to do most of my Inktober pieces without the use of shading (whether using grayscale or hatching; though, there are about 6 pieces that I did use some hatching on). So, this became an exercise in playing with shape & character styling, line-flow & line-weight, and/or concept (particularly with a push towards the humorous side). Note: I held off of using my ink brushes and decided to stick with a Zebra F-301 for initial lines and with line styling done by a Copic Multiliner SP (0.3 & 0.5 tips) (a little bit of a Sakura White Gelly Roll was used on a few as was a Copic Multiliner SP 0.1 tip).

For me, considering the ongoing development my drawing style & character style direction, I am currently preferring: 09-A, 09-B, 12-B, 16-A, 16-B, 24-B, 25-A, 29-B (with some others coming in “2nd place”)

9A-Tinman is my favorite; or at least right at the top. I think the direction I took with his proportions (also the expressiveness of his emotions) is what is drawing me to him. I use to do a lot work in the past where the figures have quite long legs; kind of reminiscent to many fashion design illustrations. It seems that I am being drawn back to that again.

Also noticeable is that I did a lot of figures with what basically amount to “stick” legs/arms. This is particularly seen in 24B-Cookie-Fairy and 29B-Chef-Cupcake, which also both are more geometric in construction too.

I’ve been using my sketching & Inktober as a way of feeling out where I am generally wanting to go stylistically with my drawing & character structure. I haven’t wanted to commit to or “force” a direction yet, but I think 9A, 24B, & 29B are where I am headed, especially because they are similar in character construction to what is still one of my favorite paintings of mine: Dancing With The Bull

See the individual Inktober posts (with “commentary”) at my “sketches” Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook Page.

Inktober was fun and I’m glad I did it!

For those that don’t know what Inktober is:

Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month.

I [Jake Parker] created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.

Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.

Inktober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it online

3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.


Dancing Bull Illustration Featured on ILoveFantasyArt

Posted on Oct 13, 2016

Click for portfolio page just featured my Dancing Bull illustration on their IG account (which has 268,000+ followers). It caught me by surprise because I didn’t send them anything or tag them. It was just out of the blue. What a pleasant surprise! Thank you, ILoveFantasyArt!

The direct link is here:

Go like it and share it if you can!

(Also visit

New to SVSLearn? Start Here

Posted on Oct 10, 2016

svslearnSomeone joined and in the SVSLearn Forum, asked for recommendations of where to start on the courses:

First, the forum is a great place to start!

But regarding the courses, I think it depends upon where one’s needs are.

I might suggest Jake Parker’s class: How to Draw Everything Fundamentals Series as a good starting point.

I started with Lee White’s classes on the business side of things: How To Make Money in Illustration Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Still, there are many other good courses. I’ll put up thoughts on some of my favorites in the future.

SVSLearn Course Spreadsheet

Posted on Oct 5, 2016

Regarding courses, I didn’t see any way to keep track of which videos I’ve watched, mark as wanting to re-watch or make a note on, know how many hours I’d commit to for the set of videos, etc., so I had created a spreadsheet that I’ve been using for such. Thought I’d share it with everyone.

[SVSLearn has added some new courses since when I had uploaded this. I think just the Fall Critique, Loosening Up in Watercolor, and Stylizing Human Characters (and any new ones that follow in the future). You should be able to edit the file you download and add them (and others) or make any other modifications you want!]

Inside the zip are:
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.xlsx
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.numbers
• SVSLearn_Course-Breakdown_16-0919.pdf

Note: I will probably leave this up in Dropbox for quite some time, but eventually it will get pulled.