Monday, October 26, 2015

Illuxcon Tidbits

I'm on my way home from Allentown, Pennsylvania and almost need another suitcase for the business cards and postcards I picked up while at Illuxcon. It was incredible to become more involved with the fantasy illustration community and can now call many of my artist role models friends.
Lehigh River in Allentown, PA  

I received portfolio reviews from a number of people including artists, art directors, and art collectors. What was especially beneficial about the constant feedback was having the chance to take a general consensus on what work people responded to the most and what weak points were commonly discussed. Here are some tidbits I gathered from reviews and lectures about my work.

1. Be "edge-y".

The edges around my figures tend to be very cookie-cutter-like. If I'm going to use crisp edges in a graphic sense, I need to be more deliberate about it. If not, I need to soften those edges so a given surface can recede in space and be more cohesive with background elements.

2. Get out there.

It's time to exhibit at conventions and send out more postcards. I have a better sense of direction about what markets to pursue with my current body of work, thanks to some valuable feedback from art directors at Illuxcon. In terms of online exposure, I have a pretty decent coverage, but there are still other venues that I would benefit from. Instagram is a leader for visual content. My activity on Instagram is almost non-existent, but it would be worth a few minutes every week. Platforms like Patreon and Kickstarter are also potential venues for building an audience.

An Allentown grasshopper clearly on his way to Illuxcon.
3. Embrace the inner child.

I overthink when I draw and consequently don't do it very often. There was a time when that I drew at every waking moment... I need to get back to leisurely, imaginative drawing. This also carries over to my composition sketches and leads me to structure them predictably and mechanically. Seeing the process of artists like Rick Berry and Vanessa Lemen has encouraged me to be more experimental with compositions--in particular, not having a plan and seeing how I can place my figures into a random arrangement of values and textures.

Lastly, here is that resonated with me and I'm sure many others who visited Donato's lecture:

"You are hired for what you show, not what you are capable of." -- Donato Giancola

It is a sobering bit of wisdom, but very helpful to understanding the big picture when it comes to "branding" your work. Time to get back to work and bring my capabilities to the fore!

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