Monday, February 06, 2006

Things I've Learned-Part One

Well, I'm back home and a little recharged. I've got so much great stuff floating around in my head, I dread going back to my "day job!"
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?


  1. Great reporting. I can't wait for installment 2!

  2. Anonymous6:38 AM

    wow, all those cards - so great! Thanks for charing the experience and tips. I'm looking forward to the next "lesson".
    wynlen -

  3. Ciao
    It's so beautiful to read it out, I'm just back, the flight took 8 hours and 1 more for delay :P
    I still on a confused level, but read this :P and see this just helped me also out a bit to remember it was real.
    And I'm so happy to meet you :D and all of the people I was able to meet and knew a bit :D


  4. I'm so glad you had such a great time! Sounds like you were in wonderful company!

  5. aaaah, but you beat me to it with your notes on day one!!!!!

    Hahaahaha, it was so great to meet you - finally - and Courtney, too. Btw, I didn't realize we were both in 29,000 floating ducks. I have the Journal at the moment, gotta get it finished and off to Tokyo this week!

    I think I may have to work an extra couple of freelance jobs to pay for California. At least I have a better idea of what entails a portfolio and a showcase piece.

    Now hurry up and finish your ifri!!!

  6. Anonymous7:00 PM

    I am SO glad you went to this and came back inspired and charged up!

    And I am jealous that you got to meet Leeza! Don't you love her accent? :)

  7. Hi all! I"m glad you've enjoyed the posts. Yes, I had a blast. I wanted to move in with all of those fantastic people! (I can understand why artists must move to New York.) I am energized and inspired....I just have to get through the next two weeks of work (state test is looming for my students) and then I'm going to let my inspiration loose! Right now, she's tucked away, waiting for the right chance to come out.
    Oh and Beth, I do love her accent! It makes her that much more charming. :)

  8. Darn, I don't see my card in your pile!


  9. Ian, I remember seeing your showcase piece! I think all the cards were gone when I finally got to it. Hey, you can mail me one to add to my collection!


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