Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Beast Named Jury

Should you enter competitions?  If so which ones?  It's a tough decision when your trying to watch your spending.  Trite but true...you have to spend money to make money.  Entering competitions are rarely free and can add up to a hefty sum so it's important to pick and choose your competition.

Napoleon Boneaparte
One of my Five "Animals From History" pieces accepted into 3x3's Picture Book Competition

This summer I was extremely fortunate to get an email from Charles Hivey saying that five of my pieces got into 3x3's Picture Book Competition.  This was the same gaggle I entered into the Spectrum Call for Entries and the Society of Illustrators NY Annual show however I did not get accepted into either of the latter.

Elvis Petme

I don't take it personally if my work doesn't get chosen.  Every competition is juried.  All juries are different.  The work might not be chosen with one jury yet another may choose several pieces.  It's the nature of the beast named jury.

Migrowl De Cervantes

Research who uses the outcome of the competition.  Make an educated decision if it's worth taking the risk to enter.  If there is a handful of companies you have had your eye on that depend on the  outcome, whether it be a show, site or publication, then it's worth taking that risk.

Jizo Bodhissatva

If you get into a competition then chart your activity to see what it is doing for you.  If your obtaining new contacts, seeing spikes in your webstats, noticing more active email and social media requests then it's worth entering again.  The same goes for promotions, shows and conventions.

S. Leopard & Snowzelda Fitzgerald

If your unsure what competitions to choose then try several different ones.  See if you get any bites.  This method can be extremely enlightening if your unsure of what path to take in the industry.

You never know until you try and remember....an acceptance is so much sweeter when you have a pile of rejections in your wake.

Friday, May 16, 2014

SFAL: Why Do You Bother? You Don't Paint Like Them.

Recently I exhibited at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City MO.  If you are unfamiliar with SFAL I'll give you an extremely brief overview.

It is a convention that features the best of fantasy illustration.

There are some major industry hitters that exhibit, attend and lecture.  Many illustrators attend to connect with new art directors.  Many arrive planning to sell originals and/or reproductions to the hordes of fantasy / sci fi fans.  Some just go for the camaraderie among the many professionals in the industry.  All of these are definitive goals that are good for business as well as inspiration.

When it comes to the art most work shows a certain level of high action, figurative genius, fantastical elemental worlds and narrations of swashbuckling significance.

And then there's me.

Although I may have a microscopic bit of some of these things in my portfolio it's most definietly NOT what I'm aiming for at the moment.  So why do I bother attending a convention the focuses on something that, well, isn't me?

"Nobody puts kitty in a corner"

I really like to attempt to be organized so here is a list as to why I did it...

1.  It's located in middle Amercia and the organizers of SFAL have been marketing to the locals.  I paint animals in people's clothes.  Glorified pet portraits, I guess.  Yeah....simple.  Not rocket science.  People like it.  Not only did my sales significantly rise from my first SFAL two years ago but I continue to get sales via my online stores.  Total Score.

2.  My work is different from the majority, therefore it stands out.  Don't get me wrong...a lot of ADs, fans and illustrators who attend this convention are looking for grandiose images of figures, action and heavy narrative.  I'm not going to grab their attention.  But I am going to grab their friend's / child's / partner's attention.  Those small conversations I have with "the other people" go a long way in a short time.  During the first SFAL it led to my biggest backer in my kickstarter campaign hence the whole Animals From History book.  I'm a square peg and I like it.

3.  Although it's a fantasy and sci/fi convention the location is Hallmark territory.  It's like my perfect storm.  Many people that I spoke with have an interest in both fantasy and licensing.  These conversations led to other ideas on how to market my work.  The collected research alone was worth it.

4.  SFAL is accepting of many different mediums and styles.  The focus is on the strength of the image.  It's all encompassing, which is very good for my goals, and that breeds positivity among people in the industry.

The traditional vs digital snobbery scale at SFAL is at a low which is why the inspiration and camaraderie meters are so much higher.

5.  And let's not forget the obvious.  BBQ.  No.  I'm not kidding.  Dom and I rarely go on vacation so to be able to walk around a new city, sample the local fair and interact with the people is a great way to escape my own head.  This down time allows my mind to run wild and take in things around me.  Anything from the cuisine to the architecture.  In turn it sparks my creative juices and gets my mind working on the next image or story.  Kansas City is a beautiful city with a whole lot to experience.  It's a win/win.

SFAL has a direct focus that doesn't scream my name but at the same time the convention embraces those who think differently.  I'm happy to take that bull's horns and run.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spectrum Live III

Next Friday begins the creative inspiration fest that is Spectrum Live III. If you can make it to Kansas City MO you'll find a plethora of over 200 wonderful artists and their wares...not to mention world famous BBQ and mechanical bulls.  I mean seriously. You can't go wrong.  Here's the link to the convention.  It's only May 9-11!

"Distelfink Girl" 8"x8" oil and gold leaf on cradeled masonite

My booth number is 602 / 703 so stop on by and say hello!  In addition to numerous 11x14 prints priced lower than my normal $25 etsy prices, low cost drawings, studies and mini paintings I will also be selling six framed oil paintings, three of which are from my "Animals From History" book.  

Cleo is 11x14 oil and leafing on masonite

I realize that I haven't posted in a good long while so the Animals From History journey might be new to you.  I'll build a little anticipation and save that story for a later post.  All I'm saying right now is I'm working with a literary agent and I'm thinking podcasts for the fall.  Chew on that for awhile!

The Fitzgeralds are 16x20 with a big silver leafed frame (not shown).  
Oils, acrylics, leafing and collage.

Oh, but that's not all!!

 Napoleon Boneaparte gracing the cover of my 
Animals From History teaser booklet

I'll also have this little number featuring 10 of my animals along with brief teaser stories. These are only $5.00 and I have a limited supply so be sure to get them while they are hot!  I will not be reprinting or selling them anywhere else so it's a Spectrum only thing.

A little Blue Suade Paws perhaps....

Or a saucy little feline queen?  

Ok. So you have read this far which is only one reason as to why you are fabulous.  Because you have dragged yourself through my rambling I'm going to offer you a deal. If you want to buy a print  from me at Spectrum I'll give you $5.00 off but it comes with a catch. When your ready to cash out with me say the phrase "Napoleon Boneaparte is a sassy mongrel."  If you want to switch out the last word to spice up the moment, knock yourself out. 

M.L. Jobs looking annoyed....and super shiny.  11x14 oils.

But remember.....his name is pronounced BONE-a-part.  

See you in Kansas City!!