Friday, February 22, 2008

Illustration Friday: Multiple


Is there anything more multiple than cloning?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Working on new Blues Poster

It is hard to believe that is has been nearly a year since the last Blues Poster competition at the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival. But, it has and the new year has arrived to work on the next poster idea. I am thinking that I will be using the technique of acrylic over the collaged paper that most of you have come to see with illustrations like the Owl book and a few other pieces. It should give a great texture and feel to the piece as well as showcase the theme of the blues. For you viewing, I have attached last years submissions. They were both done digitally and were a lot of fun to work on.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Couple of great books for illustrators

As I am constantly looking for the newly updated books that are must haves for my art, I occasionally run into or am introduced to a new book that sparks my curiousity. One of those such books is titled "Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art" and was introduced to it at the last CBIG meeting that I attended. It is a book that benefits The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and has some great artists that have contributed to the book including Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, and Leo Lionni to name a few.

Another book that I just got is an update to the previous edition. It is the Graphic Artists Guild 12th edition of the Pricing and Ethical guidelines Handbook. This is a great book due to its in depth overview of the pricing in todays market of illustration. It helps with not only pricing but all the legal questions that usually arise within the market. This is truely a valuable book if you are an illustrator. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Arts in Harmony show

The cold is upon us once again here in Minnesota. Since it is an easy decision to stay inside where it is warm, I have been taking advantage of the time and working away in the studio on the new children's book project I have. Children's books I have found are a lot of fun to work on since you get to come up with the characters, the flow of how the book looks visually and also the final look and feel of the book when it is done. But the one thing that always presents itself in these ventures is the sheer amount of time that it takes to make sure that everything comes out just right. But when you find that path and the look that is to be done, it is so worth the time that it takes to see the outcome of all that work. Soon I will be able to start showing you that outcome as I get a little further in the development of the book itself.

In other news, I will be attending the opening reception and awards presentation tomorrow for the Elk River Arts Alliance Arts in Harmony show at the Sherburne County Goverment Center in Elk River. It is going to be a lot of fun to get out and see all of the amazing art that was juried into the show and to see the competition there is. Hopefully my painting "Richland County, ND" will do well. The reception is Sunday from 1-3:30pm. If you happen to be in the area, feel free to stop by and check out all of the great work.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Scanner on Roids!

As many artists know, capturing of ones artwork to the digital nature is one that is tricky, expensive and detrimental to the success of an artist. As an illustrator, it is a fact that can't be overlooked. If you have a great work of art that needs to be used for an article, a book cover, or a poster, your work must be as professionally captured as one can get. When you don't take the time to digitally capture your work properly, you can cause major issues such as fuzzy images, wrong colors, and overall unpleasant reproductions of what your art should actually look like. So, as I find myself working on more and more book projects with many illustrations for each one, I have decided to take the leap to the next step of controlling and capturing my artwork in the light in which it was made. Up until this point, I have relied on others at companies and copy shops to capture my work on large format scanners at prices that would make you cry. But with my new purchase this week , I will be able to make sure that the work and digital files that leave my studio will be of the highest quality and will represent my illustrations in a crystal clear view.

So with that, the scanner that I chose to work with from here on out is the Epson 10000xl Graphic Arts Scanner. The images above show the new scanner on the left side versus a normal sized scanner that you can find at stores like Office Depot and Best Buy on the right. As you can see, it is a monster flatbed scanner that can scan images 12.2" x 17.2" at a mindblowing 12800 dpi. I can't even imagine the need for a 12800 dpi scan, but having a scanner that has a scan surface as large as this will allow for a seamless reproduction of my illustrations and allow for myself to do the quality control and pace at which it is done. It will also allow for the color syncing of my scanner, monitor and large format printer all into likeminded profiles so that the surprise of a rogue color doesn't kill a piece. But as with any investment, it is not a scanner that is cheap. To think that I could have bought a macbook pro and still have some extra money, made this a decision that has been thought over for the last 6 months a tough one. But in the end, it was a decision that made more business sense than not getting it. To make an investment in ones career, is definitely one that I don't mind making, even if I have to figure out how to pay for it!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What to do with online portfolio sites

After a year of trying out some of the online portfolio sites that promise more visibility and clients, I have seen how much of a hit or miss they can be. As an illustrator, there are a number of options with listings online, in annuals, and also the traditional route of snail mail. The one thing in common though is to find a solution that works the best and on the best budget.

Now most of the online sites that offer portfolios or directory listings have a small fee for the most basic of information like website info, some images and the contact info, but you can quickly make that number skyrocket to close to a thousand or more for the advanced placement at the top of the listing and a limitless amount of images. Where do you draw the line though? Is it always best to pay to be at the top? or should you come back to your sense of marketing ability and pay for a medium sized portfolio and market the crap out of it to your possible clients. With that, I decided to try and start at the lower end of things and see where it was to go. For the best responses, I have found that being apart of an arts organization or group like the Childrens Book Illustrators Guild (CBIG),d Elk River Arts Alliance, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators can really generate alot of traffic to your site and the fees are only the annual dues for each with can range from as little as $20 to $60 a year. If you are looking for strictly an online portfolio presence, places like Children's Illustrators, Minnesota Creative and the TheISpot can be a place to pay a nominal fee and have a fairly decent amount of traffic for your illustration portfolio. So with all the different options out there for getting your work in the hands of potential clients, I would recommend doing your homework, finding out what kind of budget you have for advertising as a whole, and try a new approach to the traditional snail mail. It is amazing what you can do when you combine the two!