The photo to the left is the view from my hotel room. You can barely see it, since most of the trees are dormant, but there's Central Park- right down the middle!
The flight there was pretty uneventful...just some crazy bouncing as we came in for landing. (I noticed as we circled over Manhattan that there were dozens of baseball fields all over the city.) I got to the hotel with no problems...well, a very minor one. My suitcase had been devoured by something, and so the wheels weren't working. Instead of a rolling suitcase, I had a dragging suitcase-yuck! Fortunately the taxis weren't too far from the baggage claim. I rode to the hotel in a silent cab, and tried to absorb as much as I could about the city. I finally arrived, only to learn that my roommate had been delayed by a snowstorm and her flight cancelled! (oh no!) I comforted myself with a nap (I had gotten only 4 hours sleep the night before), then decided to walk around and see a little of the town. Later I met Manuela for dinner. It was very nice. Although her English is limited, we got along very well. There are just too many things that artists understand about each other. We hung out for a bit, walked around Broadway (which we literally stumbled upon) and talked about everything art. I went to bed a little early, taking a sleeping aid, just because I was so exhausted I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep. The next morning, I popped out of bed and dressed for the day; eating a banana and muffin I had bought on the short excursion we had gone on before returning to the hotel.
I learned so much during the conference, that it really is just too much to blog everything. I've internalized a lot, and keep replaying moments in time in my head. I've decided the best thing to do is to chop up what I've learned from being part of a very large art tribe (or the insurgent illustrators as Lin and Tomie like to refer to us.)
I've also realized that many of the speakers would probably not like to have their speeches published unbeknownst to them. I'm going to try and respect that as much as possible. I'm paraphrasing and rewording much of what I've heard.
That being said, here's a little of what I learned on Illustrator's Day: Three rising stars in illustration: Sean Qualls, Rebecca Doughty and David Ezra Stein were on a panel discussing Getting Started in the illustration business. Here's a little of what I gleaned:
1. Have a strong representation of self, you're leaving an impression of you in your art. (RD)
2. Have faith in your work, get beyond the doubt. (SQ)
3. Postcards work! (SQ)
4. Deadlines create fear, and fear is a great motivator. (DES)
A little of what I got from the panel on Understanding Criticism with Cecilia Yung, David Saylor, Marcia Werrick and Robert Sabuda:
1. It's not criticism, it's critique, and it will get easier to take. (CY & RS)
2. Part of your job is to listen and learn. (RS)
3. The art director is your best art viewer and your publisher your biggest supporter. (CY)
4. If you have a comment you don't understand, contact the AD and get it clarified! (CY)
5. Always be looking forward. (RS)
A panel on the Business of Illustration that had the formidable likes of Tomie dePaola, David Diaz, Robert Sabuda and Cecilia Yung had this to say:
1. "What is it about what you do that is unique?" (RS)
2. "You must believe in yourself." (Td)
3. "Approach illustration as you would a business."(DD)
4. "Draw, Draw, Draw! I'm more likely to remember a style than a name." (CY)
5. "Work-for-Hire is the Evil Empire for working artists." (DD)
6. "A lack of response to a postcard is not a lack of interest. It may be a lack of manuscript that fits your style, it may be a lack of interest from the editor, etc. I held on to a postcard for three years before I finally found the story that was right for one artist. When I contacted her, she told me that she didn't think I had ever received her card." (CY)
That's enough for now. I think I may have at least two more posts to go, with pictures included. I will say that for the short amount of time I was there, I feel like I made some very good friends. There was a group that was kind enough to include me in their dinner plans, and that I had a blast with: Ruth, Amy, Courtney, Ron, Manuela, Heidi (who was a top ten in the Showcase!) and a few others that unfortunately I didn't really get to meet. I also met Michelle and Leeza at the very first Keynote, and they were a blast to talk to.
One of the best things about being at the conference was getting to meet so many people, and trade cards. Just look at all of the cards I have now!
Look forward to: What Tomie dePaola has to say about style, the business of illustration as seen by Marc Brown, and how important is your childhood?