Frequently Asked Questions


Last updated December 6, 2018

Artistic process

How did you learn how to draw?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment that stimulated my creative pursuits and so I’ve been drawing ever since I was little. In elementary school I took a few art classes together with my best friend where we learned to work with watercolor and charcoal. It was fun, but other than that I never had any formal education in the arts. Whenever I had some time to spare I practiced drawing and that’s how I got better.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I practically live on Pinterest! Things I’ll typically save to my boards are color combinations, pattern designs, potential reference images and illustrations by other artists that I like. My mom also likes to save fashion catalogs and magazines for me, which I’m very grateful for. I usually cut them up and keep the images that inspire me in file folders that I flip through every now and then. Running out of inspiration has never been an issue for me.

Who are your artistic idols or influences?
When I just started to illustrate fashion, my main idols were Brooke Hagel, Kelly Smith and Katie RodgersFloyd Grey was the one who first sparked my interest in strong black and white contrasts. The list of people I admire has grown a lot since then but I still love everything these people do!

How did you develop your own style?
I’ve written a blog post on this subject. Developing your own style isn’t so much a conscious decision as it is the result of drawing a lot and figuring out what brings you the most joy. I went through several phases where my style was completely different from the kind of work I do now. Can you imagine a time where I only drew wide eyed manga figures? If you’re not sure about where your own style is going, try taking an inventory of things or ways you like to draw. Do you prefer drawing animals or people? Do you like working with color or not? Do you like to draw from reference or from your imagination? If you’re not sure, experiment! And most importantly, feel free to change your mind at any time. You should never feel trapped by your own style.

Do you use references?
Yes, I do. My work relies on portraying the human form in a stylized yet realistic manner, so I use references to make sure I get the basic proportions right. I often combine several reference photos to make a composite image that I use as the basis for my illustration. This has the added benefit of not getting me in trouble in terms of copyright.

What software or apps do you use?
Adobe Photoshop is my go-to program for most of my work. I use an extension called BrushBox for Photoshop to manage my ever growing library of custom brushes, and an Intuos Pro M drawing tablet. When a project requires it I also use Adobe Illustrator to create scalable vector artwork. I also use an iPad Pro (12.9″ model) in combination with an Apple Pencil and the app Procreate.

Tips and advice

Should I get a formal degree in the arts?
Rarely will a client in the creative industry inquire about your degree. My clients come to me because of my portfolio, because of the work they see I’ve done. Many of the artists we consider to be famous today, never went to school to study art. Does that mean going to art school is a waste of time? No, absolutely not! There is a lot of value that can be gained from studying art. You get to learn from teachers who often have decades of experience in the field. You learn to get the most out of the tools and materials you use and progress significantly faster than if you were to experiment on your own. Not to mention the added pressure of handing in your work just before the deadline (a great exercise when working for clients with tight schedules!). Do you need to go to school? No, you could learn all of this on your own. Just practice daily, take an online class or watch a YouTube video, participate in a challenge, have your friends and family commission you… You can build a great body of work all by yourself if you really put your mind to it. But if you do need that kick in the butt, go to school.

I’m just getting started, how do I get clients?
Most of my clients find me through Instagram and I know that some of my colleagues in the industry have had success with Behance. But you could also create a profile on Facebook, Tumblr or DeviantART. The bottom line is, get your work where it will be seen by lots of people. Having your own website is great, but not many people will know to search for you if they haven’t seen you somewhere else first. Try to post daily, or just as often as you can (admittedly I’m not particularly good at this myself). While you could call or email potential clients, I find that the best projects come from clients contacting you. That way you already know they love your work and you don’t have to spend much time convincing them your work would match their brand.

Permission

Can I license artwork for commercial use?
This is usually possible. Please contact me to discuss the particulars at hello@esthervanderdrift.com.

Can I use your artwork as an avatar or profile picture?
Sorry, but no. There is usually no clear link or mention to me as the artist and I want to avoid situations where it may appear that I’m active on certain pages/platforms that I’m actually not.

Can I use your artwork with my poetry/writing?
Yes, but only under certain conditions. As a fellow creative, I would ask that you please respect these conditions.

Can I use your artwork as the basis for my tattoo?
Holy smokes, that’s awesome! Please do, no need to ask for permission. I’d love to see a picture of your final tattoo though. Send it to hello@esthervanderdrift.com when you get the chance.

Can I feature you on my blog or website?
Sure thing! No need to ask for permission, just please link back to my website www.esthervanderdrift.com in the article. Feel free to send me a link at hello@esthervanderdrift.com so that I might share it with my own network.

I saw someone steal your art. What should I do?
Oh no! Please email me at hello@esthervanderdrift.com so I can take the appropriate and necessary steps. If the platform you found the work on allows you to report it as an intellectual property violation, you can do that too.