Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Long Did That Take?

aah, just finished writing up a new post for BookLifeNow, here's an excerpt:
"During a #SFFWRTCHT last month I was asked this question: “How long does it take you to do a piece from first line to finish?”* I responded with something vague about always being amazed at how quickly some pieces come together and how slowly others do. And that’s completely true: The time from first line to finish varies enormously depending on the illustration project. (Even more tricky to explain is why an illustration that only took an afternoon to complete may be more successful than one that took several weeks). One of my art professors used to answer:  “40 years and three weeks” when people asked how long a painting took (the sum of his painting career to that point and whatever time the specific painting required), which was a witty nod to how much more than just hours goes into an art piece. But as a freelancer, knowing how long a project will take is pretty important career information. So I’ve been working on that." ~read more
Now, I still gotta wrap up next month's Fireside illustration, it's short school day, kid has a doctor appointment, and OYG I HAVE TO BAKE PIE FOR TOMORROW... I'm off like a border collie**! (i wish)

But first, a few of the various and sundery links I compiled while writing this post:

  • And this interview with creatives talking about their time management methods:

* thank you Paul Weimer for asking the question!
** thank you Bo Bolander for lovely herd dogs.
*** thank you Remy Nakamura for pointing me to Scalzi’s article.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Brian & Wendy Froud

Because Brian and Wendy are the guests of honor at next year's Illustration Masters Class.  And Films such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth were huge creative inspirations growing up. Here's an excerpt from an article written about Brian his involvement in those two movies:
"'The irony of working on The Dark Crystal was that I had moved to the country to allow my work to blossom, and here I was in New York. And I thought there's something wrong with this picture!' But Brian threw himself into the project, and at the initial creative meetings he and others working on the film discussed creatures and how they might act, what their personalities would be and so on. It was during this time that Brian met Wendy, who had been hired for her skills as a doll maker. Together they refined the initial prototypes of the puppets before flying back to London to be near Jim Henson....

It was at a screening of The Dark Crystal in San Francisco that Brian and Jim Henson's vow never to make another film was forgotten. 'We were sitting in the back of a limo, having drunk a bit too much wine, and he said 'shall we do another one?'and I said 'oh, why not.' He asked if I had any ideas and I said not really so he suggested Native American Indians but I didn't really know anything about them so I said what about goblins? He liked the idea, but I said I want to put live people in it this time. Immediately I had this flash of an image of a baby surrounded by goblins.'
Jim asked Brian what the story was, but he didn't know. All he could think of was of a labyrinth, which is not only a physical conundrum but also a metaphor for many things." ~interview with Guy Cracknell


Friday, November 22, 2013

a career in the arts (more $$$ stuff)

A few excerpts from recent articles about paying artists (and artists asking for payment)

Slaves of The Internet, Unite! by Tim Kreider.
"I suppose people who aren’t artists assume that being one must be fun since, after all, we do choose to do it despite the fact that no one pays us. They figure we must be flattered to have someone ask us to do our little thing we already do. I will freely admit that writing beats baling hay or going door-to-door for a living, but it’s still shockingly unenjoyable work... The first time I ever heard the word “content” used in its current context, I understood that all my artist friends and I — henceforth, “content providers” — were essentially extinct. This contemptuous coinage is predicated on the assumption that it’s the delivery system that matters, relegating what used to be called “art” — writing, music, film, photography, illustration — to the status of filler, stuff to stick between banner ads." ~read more 
What to say when you're asked to work for free by  Rhonda Abrams
"You may want or need to work for free, especially when you’re just starting out to build a resume, client list or broaden your skills. At any time, you may be happy to donate your time and talent to good causes or very good friends...But with the right response, you can turn these freeloaders into something positive." ~read more
Being An Artist Isn't Practical by Elena Sheppard
"To support a career in the arts in 2013 requires a cocktail of connections, financial support, talent and tremendous luck – and many of us just starting our professional lives are choosing more stable paths. We are not in the financial position to take on more risk. The result is a rising creative class largely determined by money." ~read more 

Don't Quit Your Day Job by Juri Koll
"Compared to other countries, such as Ireland and Denmark, where there are tax-free grants or direct subsidies with special tax benefits, the United States lags far behind in its treatment of artists. The idea of making a living as an artist will probably never appeal to the bottom line sensibilities of corporate America.  That's why almost every artist I know -- aside from some of the famous ones -- has a day job." ~read more

 If You're an Artist You Need A Support System by Nisha Asnani
"With patronage and endowments mostly a thing of the past, artists must now rely on smaller amounts of support from individual contributors. This is easier with global communication, but tougher given the current distribution of wealth; it’s mostly broke artists who are giving to other broke artists via Kickstarter campaigns...More structured organizations that empower artists and teach them about fund-raising and business skills like The Field, where I work as communications manager, are also vital for our creative culture." ~read more
Instead of Exploiting Artists, Pay Them by Paddy Johnson
"Asking whether it's too expensive to pursue the arts is a little like asking whether it's too expensive to read or write. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t stop.Making art is not an economic decision for most artists, who are continually exploited for their ideas and labor... it’s time we spent a little more time figuring out how to support artists." ~read more 
 Being A lawyer is easier than being a Musician by Miki Navazio
"I did enjoy scoring independent films and documentaries, but these hardly paid the bills, and the commercial gigs just weren’t for me. I didn't want to be Miki Navazio Music, Inc. My fate was sealed when the National Endowment for the Arts terminated funding for individual artists in the mid 90s. For me, being a lawyer is a lot easier than being a jazz musician. In a sense, I’ve freed my art from the burden of having to support myself. And I would do it all over again." ~read more

I just realized that all of these collectively come off with a rather dim view of making a living in the arts and that wasn't really what I had in mind. But they did all resonate so here they, all assembled where I can find them again easily and, well, just keep thinking about that.

Meanwhile, here's a sketch I did the other day while sitting in the dentist office. The day after I posted it to FB, I got a notification from my 'page manager' that this post was "98% more engaging than your other posts on this page" (with an offer to help it be even more engaging if I just paid a bit of cash.) ((um......))
98% more engaging, woooo.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

final cover for The Future Embodied

It was a pleasure working With Mae Empson and Jason Andrew to create a cover for The Future Embodied. With table of contents full of amazing writers I'm in high anticipation to get my own copy.

divergent styles etc etc etc

Two entirely different illustrations I did last month for two entirely different clients.

1)  This piece for the hard sf story "Catch a Fallen Star" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks for Fireside Fiction Magazine:
2) This piece to accompany an essay about theodicy, "Arrayed in Silence I gave Him Nothing" by Jacob Baker for Sunstone Magazine:

To me, it looks like to totally different artists did these two pieces. What does that say about me? I don't know and I'm putting that on a back shelf to think about some other time.

Now here's a few really inspiring things cool people have shared the past week or so:

~An artist and her 4 yr old collaborate on artwork together.
~(Which reminds me of when my kid and I did this kind of stuff together.)
~ Examples of some of the best street art of 2012.
~These parents convincing their kids that their toy dinosaurs come alive at night.
~Russian graffiti body artist, Znag, and his mind blowing tattoo work.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Spectrum 20

Got something awesome in the mail the other day.
Spectrum 20 cover art by Donato Giacola. Image via Flesk Publications.
Yup yep, finally got my own contributors copy of Spectrum 20 and is it ever a serious collection of amazing art work. (And the new art-book smell... the pages, the ink, every time I open it it fills my nostrils and it's almost delirious.) I still can't quite believe I'm in it. But look, there I am, on page 224 nestled between Victor Koen, Olivier Villoingt, Feng Guo and Zhao Huanhua.

I'm still absorbing the book. There's a lot to look at. A lot to aspire to and be blown away by. A huge range of vision, style, and content. Oh, and many of the artists I attended the Illustration Master's Class are in here as well: Noah Bradley, Christine Mitzyk, Ed Ko, Peter Mohrbacher, Steve Argyle, David Palumbo, Lauren Saint-Onge, Cynthia Sheppard, Lauren K. Cannon, Mia Araujo, and Marc Scheff, not to mention IMC instructors Rebecca Guay, Donato Giancola, Brom, Greg Manchess, Dan Dos Santos, and Ian McCaig from my first quick glance through (I'm sure I missed a few, deepest apologies.)

Of course, the deadline for Spectrum 21 is coming up and I'm trying to think of what I'll submit from this past year's work. (And dealing with all the incumbent nervousness about what if I never ever have another piece of work in another art annual ever. ||sheepish||)

Speaking of IMC, I recently took the plunge and signed up for next year's session: Brian and Wendy Froud are the guests of honor and I could not resist. More about that later, there's a lot to say about what I'm hoping to do.  But for now, back to work.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Wish I could be at Orycon 35 in person, but I'm happy to at least be sending some artwork in my place. I spent a whole afternoon preparing art prints for shipping before crossing my fingers and sending them off in a homemade foam core and duct tape container. Much appreciation to the art crew who will be hanging my work.

With any luck and if I got my measurements correct, the display with look something like this:
Last time I was in Orycon was in 2011 and it was amazing. It's been too long, I need to get myself to the Pacific Northwest more often.