Mentorship Review: Commercial Style Illustration
Heather Windsor is an aspiring concept artist who loves to create appealing characters and fantasy environments.
Commercial Style Illustration Mentorship
Full 1on1 live mentorship custom-tailored towards your problems. We will work together every week to create full-blown marketing quality ready images.
Tell us about your artistic learning path and introduce yourself! When did you start creating art?
I started drawing as soon as I could pick up a crayon and never stopped. I wanted to always be drawing and would doodle on anything I could growing up. I was primarily self-taught early on and wanted to be able to draw like my favorite TV show (Sailor Moon), so when I was about 11 my parents bought me a Sailor Moon sticker, and I sat down with a ream of paper and just drew that same image over and over and over again. I would fill sketchbooks and notebooks, and was supported by my parents and art teachers, but not given a lot of direction until my late teens. I got into a private art school when I was 17, but couldn’t afford it, so I followed a different path for a few years (occasionally able to take a figure drawing class or illustration class here and there, but mostly teaching myself), and after completing an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, and Master’s Degree in other things, finally came back to studying art in 2018. I joined local figure drawing sessions, attended a drawing workshop at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, and continued creating art on my own through all of it. Once I started school at Academy of Art University (online, studying Visual Development), I felt like I finally started to improve. Most of my classes came down to, “Heather’s fine, she doesn’t need help, I need to focus on someone who needs it more.” And that even ended up being true a few times at AAU, but not with my concept art mentorship at CGVerse Online Art School. For the first time in my life, I had the attention I needed to improve my skills and was given the focus, feedback, and knowledge I needed to improve.
What problems did you experience when you were at the beginning of learning digital art?
Well, I started drawing digitally with a mouse in MS Paint when I was about 10 years old, so I learned to do a lot of things the hard way. Eventually, I transitioned to using GIMP and got a Wacom Intuos tablet, and a few years ago my husband got me a Wacom Cintiq for my birthday and helped me pay for Photoshop subscription, so I started to learn and improve. I participated in Paintable’s “Illustration from Imagination” workshop, and it taught me a lot of basics I had been lacking, which were then supplemented in my Digital Painting course at AAU. I had to “unlearn” a lot of things that I had been doing “the hard way” because of being self-taught for so long.
This character illustration was a collaborative effort between my mentor and myself, where I would follow instructions to the best of my ability and receive feedback and draw-overs that would help make adjustments and show me better approaches and methods for achieving higher quality work.
How did your skills improve during the mentorship and what were the tasks like?
I gained an overall greater grasp of anatomy and proportion, my rendering skills improved dramatically, and my understanding of lighting was improved. I learned new approaches and techniques that helped me find a better workflow and stay organized.
How did you feel about your mentor and mentorship?
I cannot overstate how grateful I am for this opportunity, and how grateful I am to my mentor for helping me improve so much in such a short amount of time. Although I still have a long road ahead of me to get to the level of skill I want, I honestly never thought I’d be able to work at the level I am at now, which gives me hope for the future.
Sword Dance, Process
What made you decide to take a mentorship at CGVerse?
When I was contacted about my ArtStation portfolio, I took a look at the mentorship program and the options. I knew I wanted to focus on improving as a digital artist, and the illustration mentorship I chose seemed like the best way to do that.
What motivations do you have for the future?
I want to be the best artist I can, regardless of any career goals. Ideally, I would like to find a stable position as a concept artist or character designer with an established studio, though I am open to other options as well.
(Before the mentorship)
Little Red Riding Hood
This character illustration of Little Red Riding Hood was created for one of my classes at AAU.
The Big Bad Wolf
This illustrated scene from my retelling of the classic folk tale of Little Red Riding Hood was created for one of my classes at AAU.