I am intentional about following other illustrators on Instragram. It has been a huge help to my art! First, I love to study other artists’ art process, what mediums they use, their techniques. It helps me improve my own art. Whenever I feel my artwork is getting stale, I study other artists to see what they are doing. Second, I love to see how other artists market themselves. It helps me stay creative not just in creating art, but in sharing it. For instance, how artists run their social media, or how they get speaking and presentation engagements. There is so much to learn from other artists!
The challenge lies in not getting jealous of other artists success, or FOMO. It is very easy to look at other artists highlight reels on Instagram or on media outlets, but not see the hours or years they put in to build their career. To avoid jealousy, I try to follow artists that are in a different niche than I am. For instance, I love looking at Holly Nichols fashion illustration, her use of copied markers and the iPad. Though, I am a children’s illustrator and not a fashion illustrator, I truly admire her work. So I learn a great amount from Holly (and she has even personally answered my Instagram questions!), but I don’t get jealous because I am creating a different kind of art.
Here is a list of all my favorite illustrators, and a brief description as to why I follow them:
I first started following Holly back in 2016. She is very generous with sharing her art process. She shares how she uses copic markers, how to blend them, how to choose colors, how to outline figures, and more. She has since then also given mini tutorials on Instagram on the Procreate app. She gives out a lot of information, and it is for free on Instagram. I love her fashion illustrations! I love watching how she markets herself, from various fashion events to workshops at Apple stores, and so on. Also, how she runs her Etsy shop. All in all, Holly is a BOSS and there is so much to learn from her on how to make a living as an artist!
I have been following Vashti since before her book, Little Leaders, came out. It was exciting to watch her career take off! She really leverages Instagram to promote her art, and she is very open about her art journey by sharing photos of even her high school sketches! If I would describe her artwork in one word, it would be “magical”, which is perfect for children’s illustrating! She definitely has her own style, but experiments with different techniques which I appreciate. Just like Holly, Vashti is also very generous with her information and teaching others. She has a class on Skillshare on using the Procreate app to make art, which was really helpful to me. I find my favorite artists are the ones that share openly about their process and journey.
Benji Davies makes artwork that I aspire to produce. Granted, I don’t want to make work exactly like his, but I really do enjoy his style and let it inform mine. There is a childlike quality to it. It reminds me of the children’s books I used to read growing up. I look at his artwork and always get inspired by different techniques I can use in mine!
Mark Conlan is a great artist to follow for Instagram inspiration! His feed is wonderfully coordinated and so colorful. His artwork uses bold colors, and more color blocking than you see in traditional picture books. I am also very curious about how he makes videos of his art process, and plan to learn that one day to share my own work. I really look at Mark for his social media marketing mastery and his colorful work.
A few other illustrators I follow and greatly admire include: