Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April News and Updates!

Hi Guys! Leilani Joy here with some updates and announcements! Please check out my Shows and Events Page for upcoming live appearances: and connect with me on my new network, Google+ at:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Facebook Gives "Fan Pages" the Finger

Facebook has changed it's page policies and now only about 1% of my fans will ever see my posts. It's very disappointing for people like me who have worked hard to build up a fan base on Facebook over many years. (See the full article on TIME Magazine's website here:

Prior to this new change it was only about 16% of fans that saw my posts, as stated by Facebook in 2012. Facebook made $7 billion last year in advertisments, but now they've decided they need more money. I'm not some big corporation and there are a lot of other small businesses out there who will never get noticed because of this new policy. Facebook had been a great free platform for small businesses to grow their customer base and increase their exposure without having to spend thousands of dollars on advertising. But I suppose all good things must come to an end- if there is potential to make money. 

The new policy suggests you spend $1500 (per post) to boost visibility to your OWN FANS. That is ridiculous and obviously I am unable to pay for such advertising. It will be fascinating to see if Facebook's new money making strategy actually ends of backfiring, and driving people away from Facebook. I'm certainly hoping some of my fans will follow me over to a new platform like Google+. 

In conclusion, I'll continue to post my updates on Facebook, until I really feel like it isn't making a difference (and be sure to subscribe to get notifications when I post updates, if you want to stay connected) 

But as of now I will be making a transition over to Google+ so please connect with me here 

I'll also be utilizing my other platforms more frequently like Instagram, Blogger, and Twitter. If you'd like to continue to see my updates and participate in my contests please make sure you connect with me on one of my other networks as well (

I appreciate each and every one of you and all the support I've received from you guys! I would not be where I am today without you all- but like any good business person I must adapt with the times, and times they are a changing! xoxo L

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Design Pricing Formula

Pricing is possibly one of the most changeling things we must do as professional artists. I can't tell you how many times a potential client has insulted me with, "Why is it SO expensive!?" The client rarely takes into account that as an artist you are providing them with a specific service and that we don't just do it "for fun." We have bills to pay just like you. It's doubtful that someone would challenge their accountant, doctor, or plumber in the same fashion. Typically they expect those services to cost a certain amount so they are willing to pay the fee. For artists though, it can be tricky- especially with places like Deviant Art where you can find talented young high school students willing to work for free! 

I often get asked how to charge for artwork, and I have a much more "wordy" and in depth answer to that in my FAQ section here,

But recently I stumbled upon this fantastic little formula by David Airey ( a professional graphic designer from Northern Ireland. He simplifies the process so perfectly here! While obviously design pricing isn't an exact science- these are definitely the big points to consider when charging for your artwork! Hope this helps you along your journey toward being a pro! xoxo L

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GSCE Q&A with Leilani Joy

Recently I've been asked to do a few of these GSCE interviews for students looking to pursue a career in the art field. I thought I'd share the Q&A from my recent interview!

1.What was your first successful artwork? 

I’m not totally sure about this one, I think it was a collection of pieces. Right after graduating from the AAU (Academy of Art University, San Francisco) in 2009, I was contacted by a woman on Myspace (haha!) with a gallery space who had seen some of my school work. She asked if I could do 12 pieces for her gallery and I went nuts painting day and night for a month to get them done. In that series I did, “Kimiko,” “Jaeda and Jai,” “Leslie & Loki,” and quite a few others, but those three became really popular and I still sell lots of prints of them today.

2.Have you tried writing, singing, acting, or any other type of art?

All of those actually! I love creative writing and performance art! If I hadn’t been an artist I would have pursued writing professionally. I used to write daily for many many years and wish I had more time to do it now. I hope one day to combine writing with my art perhaps in childern’s books or graphic novels. I also love dance and performance and I trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance for about 10 years. In high school I became very involved in acting, drama and school plays. I performed in musicals as well, though singing definitely isn’t my strong suit- but I do love a game of Rockband or karaoke bars from time to time, haha!

3.To learn to draw, what are the top 3 resources/guides/classes that you suggest for beginners in drawing people? 

I wish I could narrow it down to “3” but unfortunately I think there are A LOT more than “3” resources you need to learn to draw the human figure. I’ve taken somewhere in the ballpark of 10+ classes on just drawing the human figure alone! Eeep! That’s a lot! And I still consider myself learning. To get started though I would suggest a basic “Analysis of Form” class- in which you basically learn how to interpret light and shadow and draw still life objects. Once you master some of those techniques you can use them on the human form. After that you would want to pursue a nude figure drawing class- possibly a series of them- it really takes a while to master some of the common forms and shapes of the human body. Once you have some familiarity with the nude figure you may want to pursue a clothed figure class and also a quick studies or gesture drawing class. The clothed figure classes will help you better combine your understanding of drapery and fabric and how it covers the human form beneath. A quick studies or gesture drawing class is great for learning to interpret more quickly and learn to draw more dynamic poses for your figures.

4. What is your favorite/ best art style?

 I would never say one style is “better” than another, but I do find myself personally attracted to art nouveau, art deco, pop surrealism, fashion illustration, and also abstract art. I would say my personal style is a hybrid of all of these.

5.What classes (outside of college) have you taken? Are they expensive?

 In high school I enrolled in the Saturday Art Experience offered at the AAU in San Francisco for high school students. It was an awesome way to try out the Art School experience and take really fun classes that aren't available at a regular high school. I took it both my junior and senior year. I took “Intro to 3D modeling” (at the time I believed I wanted to be a 3D animator-but changed my mind in college.) I also took “Comic Book and Graphic Novel Illustration” which I really loved. I suppose “expensive” is relative, and I wouldn’t say it was “cheap,” but I really had a worthwhile experience and it solidified my decision to go to the AAU for my formal training.

6. Why do you continue to do art?

 Because I MUST. Haha…. No, but seriously, I love it! It’s been part of my life since I was very small child and I can not imagine not doing art. Sure, I get burned out- and yes- doing art for a living is quite different than just doing it for fun, but there is still something so incredibly gratifying about creating something from my head that never existing in the world before- and that’s why I love what I do.

7. How do you define your style of art?

 I think I pretty much answered this already, but I usually like to describe my style as just that, “my style.”  My style is a collective of influences, styles, and personal experience that can only come from me. I do find it hard when I hear young artists say over and over “I can’t find my style” and they settle for emulating other artists. There is NO NEED for that! You don't need to “find” your style because just by being “you”- you already have your style! Yes, it takes lots of work and you should still seek art education, but you will find that you naturally gravitate toward a certain way of creating. You should embrace that which makes you unique, and never do things because you see other people doing them and finding success at it. True success only comes by being yourself.

8.Who supports you on a daily basis? When you're struggling?

My boyfriend and family are the best support system I could ask for! My parents have always supported me 110% and gone above and beyond to nurture me and encourage me to pursue my passion. They are still right by my side at every show and always a source of inspiration and an example of hard work paying off.  My boyfriend, Brian (whom I live with and is a fantastic artist himself) has also been an incredibly supportive partner and I’ve grown so much artistically since knowing him. He encourages me without criticizing but always offers insight and pushes me to improve my craft.

9.Was there ever a time when you felt art was not for you?

Haha! More times than I’d like to admit! But I don’t think it’s excusive to the art field. Choosing a career path in the arts is not an easy road and there will be struggles. My journey so far has been very organic and there have been many times where I had no idea if I was doing the right thing and I often worried that I was doomed to fail, but somewhere along the way I decided to just keep at it. I’ve been nearly a straight “A” student all my life and I learned early on that if you are willing to work hard enough you will succeed- regardless if you’re the fastest or most talented etc. With that said, pursuing an art career is not for everyone and there are certainly a ton of talented artists who prefer to do art as a hobby and not pursue it professionally or exclusively.  I think you just need to decide if you love it enough to brave the risk. In fine art and freelance it can often be feast or famine and you often may find yourself drawing for other people and not always enjoying it, but for me the rewards far out weigh the risks and cons. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Leilani Joy at WonderGround Gallery, Downtown Disney®

So excited to finally be able to announce this! This January I'll be the featured guest artist at WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney, Anaheim. My prints will be available in the store and I'll be doing a meet and greet and signing on January 11th and 12th from 1-4 pm! Come and by and meet me! Hope to see you guys there...

And also this is my 100th post! YAY! An an excellent 100th post it is! 

More info on the Disney website here:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Leilani Joy's Birthday Card Design Contest!

Contest Rules and Details:
  1. Any subject matter is welcome- but remember that it's a birthday card design!
  2. Only one entry per person
  3. Any medium is allowed
  4. Please send a small JPEG image to with your name and details
  5. Your submission MUST be received before MIDNIGHT on Monday November 25th 2013. (so the end of Nov. 25th)
  6. You need to design the front (cover) of the card only. You don't need to design the inside or back of the card.
  7. Winner will receive an awesome Leilani Joy Prize pack that includes: A signed 11x14"print of the winner's choice, a postcard set, a holiday card featuring "Magdalen and Magi"- and a pin back button! 
  9.  Please direct contest questions to

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Developing Your Own Drawing Style!

A lot of people ask me about how to go about developing their own unique drawing style, and I came across this great (if not a little... wordy...) tutorial on developing your illustration style by fellow YouTube artist Sycra ( The following is a fantastic exercise for those who are looking to develop a unique art style.

He makes some really great points in this video, and I couldn't agree more! A few hightlighted points to consider when developing your own style....
  • Always master the foundations of realistic drawing first!
  • Experiment with exaggerating characters in unique ways
  • Try lots of different styles
  • Avoid referencing other artists! Reference reality! 
  • Don't learn to draw from the way other artists draw. It will become obvious that your style isn't your own.
  • Stay true to yourself. Every artist has a unique voice. Embrace yours.
Sycra says, "I've seen this a lot- Artists who reference disney styles, like Glenn Keaton's style, or they'll do an Avatar The Last Airbender style-thing and it's very easy to see they copied from the style instead of learning how to draw properly, because you'll see little mistakes show up. More as with foundations, you can push things sooo far."

Sycra also answers one of my most frequently asked questions; "Will you create a video teaching us your artistic style and how to draw just like you?"

Sycra says, "As for people wanting to know how to do my own style- that's something I really don't want to do. And the reason is; I feel at that point THAT is what you create yourself. Right? I don't feel bad teaching foundations, but I wouldn't feel entirely good about teaching how I go about my own version of simplifying reality because that's MY way of seeing things. It's quite individual." 

So check out the video and try some of these things yourself!


 "Remember, inspiration is different than EMULATION. We are all inspired by each other and the things we are exposed to- but your work should become it's own unique manifestation of these things and your OWN interpretation of reality, not someone elses."- Leilani Joy ^__^