Author: Joel and Ashley

Illustrators at Joel & Ashley Illustration
Co-founders and designers at This Paper Ship

What We Listen to in the Studio

We’ve always been big fan of listening to music in the studio, especially while drawing. There’s something nice about having your favorite tunes playing in the background to help you get in the zone.

We have a lot of music loaded up on our studio computer, compiled from the last 15 or so years, but more often than not these days we play albums directly on Spotify (even the free service is fantastic, despite the occasional ads—that’s what the mute button is for!) and occasionally Pandora.

Here are our four main categories of music to play in the studio, with some of our favorite examples… Read more

How to Get New Freelance Illustration Clients

Do a quick internet search of “client chase” and you’ll come up with scores of articles exhorting, instructing, and sometimes downright pleading with you to stop trying to go to potential clients and to start getting them to come to you.

In theory, that’s great advice. It saves you a lot of time, it insures that you’re only working with people that truly want to work with you, and it gives artists the ability to negotiate the terms of the deal.

But it’s much easier said than done. What if your website is completely new, so it has terrible traffic? What if you live far away from the biggest creative hubs of NYC, LA, SF, London… or any larger city, for that matter? What if you didn’t graduate from an art program that not only granted you a degree, but also access to the larger network of working professionals in your field? (All hypothetical situations, of course.)

In short, how do you stand out in a massive crowd?

Apart from finding your niche and hoping people notice, which can take years, here’s the stupidly obvious answer:

Go look for the work.

It takes a lot of effort and discipline, but it’s stupidly simple. Here’s how we do it:

Read more

Watch These Videos of Glen Keane Drawing

(Image via Cartoon Brew)

Judging from the amount of process videos that go up on social media, I think it’s safe to say that artists love watching other artists. Ashley and I are no different; if you were to sit next to us while I watched a drawing tutorial, our reactions are so intense you’d think we were engrossed in some kind of sports event or action movie.

“Did she really just use that brush?”

“NO WAY, I never use that layer blending option!!!”


And so on.

It’s something that we really don’t take the time to immerse ourselves in, but we benefit in inspiration and technique every time we let ourselves do it.

For your viewing pleasure today, let’s check out some videos of the great Glen Keane doing his thing. There’s so much more to animation than drawing—great drafting skills are only the basic prerequisite to a good performance, after all—but we illustrators can learn a thing or two from our animator cousins!

Read more

Hi there!

Thanks so much for stopping by! We’re so excited to have you here, and hopefully in the coming months we’ll be putting up stuff on this blog to make you excited to come back.

We’re passionate about illustration. We love studying it and talking about it, we love illustrators, and most of all, we just love illustrating. This blog will be devoted solely to everything we can possibly pack in about illustration. We’re going to talk about the industry, our process, our favorite illustrators, and more.

We hope to pass along nuggets of wisdom and information on to you, and hopefully learn a little from you as well in the comments section!

Stay tuned for more!