Cara Ord Create


Improve your Illustration with Character and Story

illustrationCara OrdComment

Illustration is two fold; how you draw and what you draw. The how is the practical skills, your understanding of the medium (in example pencil/paint), anatomy, gesture, etc. The what is the content, story, character, illustration style and mood conveyed in your art. Levelling up both these sides of your illustration skills is important and often artists tend to focus on the how and not the what and this can lead to beautiful but uninspiring work.

You may have mastered the pen or the brush but your illustrations can still appear dry or amateurish if you don’t have intriguing content. I know each and everyone of you reading this are filled with great ideas and awesome art, however you may be struggling to realise these stories and visuals in your work.

In light of this I have created a class series for you, helping you add depth, character and story to your illustrations. The first course which is released today focuses entirely on your characters and figures, creating real personalities in them to draw your audience into your art and activate an emotive response and connection.

This class is an in-depth look at character design and development and it is packed with useful information to boost your stand alone illustrations and visual stories (such as comics and graphic novels). Take a deep dive into your characters, discover how they think and act and learn how to easily bring this out in your work. This class is great for all drawing skill levels. It focuses on the content of your illustration rather than the how to draw side, allowing you to vastly improve the quality of your work with minimal practice hours. Ideally this course works best coupled with practical drawing classes to help you improve your skill and theory simultaneously, I have a few classes here that could give you a hand with this and another coming next month to really push your art forward.

The class is a great asset to help you start from square one and develop your skills or brush up on ideas which you may have forgotten or lapsed in. It even includes a free workbook to help you focus your studies with short and simple exercises. And of course if you take the class I will be there along the way to help you with anything you are struggling with.

That being said, it wouldn’t be right to leave this blog post without a few helpful tips to give you a head start on your way to creating better illustrations.

Add interest to your art with these 5 simple techniques

  1. Always start with a thumbnail sketch
    When you are working out an idea, the first iteration of it on the page can be a bit stiff and bare, give thumb nailing a go and draw quick one minute doodles to flesh out your idea and how you wish to convey it visually. This eliminates the need to re-draw work to level it up, and speeds along your process to a grea finished piece.

  2. Allude to the environment
    Your character illustrations and figures in your work shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. When you are developing your works think about the characters context, where are they likely to exist? You don’t have to draw out a fully realised background but you can give hints to intrigue the viewer. In example if you are drawing a fantasy dwarf, he may be prone to going to the bar, so adding in a tipping stool and a sloshing pint of ale adds a story to the piece without a detailed background.

  3. Add movement
    adding action or movement rather than stagnant poses adds drama and emotion to the piece. Depending on your style you can express movement through gesture lines, speed lines or mid way poses. Think about how your character talks, walks, runs and what activities they would do and add it to your work, be creative.

  4. Extreme posing
    Maybe extreme is too strong a word, unusual could suit too. When planning out your illustration eliminate the first pose you think of, it may be standing facing forward or looking out, often it is a stagnant pose with stiff limbs. Instead grow the pose; if you are drawing a couple in conversation, add hand movements and expressions of talking and listening, add leaning in for excitable connections and leaning out for discomfort. If you are drawing an active character like a hunter, think about poses of stalking or shooting and then try and make it more extreme

  5. Use your angles
    Think about your drawing like a still through a camera. If all your photos are front on mid-distance it can become tedious and repetitive. Think about levels and interesting angles you can use to add interest to your work and make a dynamic story in a single frame. For instance a worms eye view of a boy playing with lego may make him seem like a tyrant in his kingdom playing make believe, when an above view makes the audience like a parent or care giver watching over the boy as he plays.

I hope that these tips and advice are helpful to you. If you would like a more in-depth look at taking your drawings to the next level check out the class and help yourself along the way to your creative goals. Let me know down in the comments any questions you may have. I hope to see you in class.

Keep creating,

Constant Growth is the Gateway to Success

designCara OrdComment

I have recently had birthday. Another journey around the sun and it has made me quite reflective on how I got to where I am in my life. To an outsider I am successful, I have a strong professional presence in design, illustration and performance, a good social life, loving husband and positive outlook for the future. People describe me as “lucky”, but luck has nothing to do with where I am or any accomplishment I may have made. Everything I have was built through constant learning, trial and error and lots and lots of work (and it was nurtured by the love and support of those I chose to surround myself with).

Luck, in my opinion is the hope of the lazy, for if luck exists, what is the need for hard work. I am not going to lie to you and say that if you sit just as you are some day your prince will come, your life will change, that some one will hand you the keys to the kingdom and as if by magic you will have everything you have desired. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you have goals, passions and desires then my only suggestion to you is to work hard and be diligent and this will give you the greatest chance to be successful in your endeavours.

Now this is a pretty vague piece of advice, ‘work hard and you will be rewarded’. However it has never failed me, even when the ‘reward’ came in a form which was completely unexpected or planned.

So below I have listed some steps you can take to grow your talents, and make your own ‘luck.

Using your sketchbook to up your skills

illustrationCara Ord

I am a professional designer, illustrator and artist and the one thing I can tell you about a career in the creative field is that you never stop learning. Whether you have to fast track your learning of new programs and trend styles constantly updating in your field or learning entirely new skills all together, it is a never ending process of self education which takes a deep commitment and consistency to make sure you always stay at the top of your game.

The best tool I have found to help me along the way in my career is my sketchbook. It is a dedicated personal space designed for growth, emerged in the visual culture which my career and way of thinking revolves around.

How to grow your Business | Giving back to your Customers

designCara Ord

It is so important to not be a taker but to be a giver. A business which just takes will eventually die out because you are not nurturing your audience. Think of a rainforest ecosystem, if the large trees just sucked up all the nutrients but didn't shed their leaves to mulch the earth the will eventually take all the good things out of the ground and die out themselves, strangling the young plants around them. SO giving is really important. The question is, how to grow your business? How do you give? You already sell great products and services, what more do you need to do? 

Well giving free advice and sending out free resources is actually a fantastic way to nature your audience. It helps you to build a community. Even if you are a 'teeny tiny' business like mine there is always something you can give. That is why I try and do a weekly blog, to share my insights and professional knowledge to help you.

Recently I have been thinking about small business, and what I can do to help out those of you who are independent creators and business owners. The first thing I thought was I want to support you and give you something that will help you promote and grow your business, expand your clientele and hopefully improve your revenue. That is when I decided to make my free resource 'A Guide to branding for small business'. It is a simple short eBook that you can use to help you get on your way in branding your business. The eBook explains what branding is and how it can help you market what you are offering. It even includes 5 tips to start branding your business, or improving the branding of your business yourself.

ebook: how to grow your business

ebook: how to grow your business

But then I thought, I can do more. Sure I just made this great resource (which you can find here) but I can help you one step further.

This is when this months brand new Skillshare class came into play. I had given back to you and I thought you might want an easy way to give to your audience. So along comes my new class:

'Creating an eBook | promote your business and give value to your customers'

how to create an ebook

how to create an ebook

Through this class I will take you step by step through the creation of a simple and effective eBook. I also add an abundance of tips on branding, content writing, social media promotion, creating visuals for your business and more. I am so excited to share this with you as it is brand new and I hope really helpful for you in your business journey.

If you would like to check out the class head here.

I hope both these resources are helpful to you and help you grow your business. if you have any questions feel free to contact me. I am here to help you out. 

Have a great week and I will check in with you next week.