Saturday, July 18, 2009

Illustration Master Class-- Day 6 & 7--Sat. & Sun. June 20-21

Saturday was our last painting day, but it was also full of lectures. Argh!

One of Rebecca Guay's originals sitting around in Studio A--

At 11am was a lecture by Shelly Bond, an Editor at Vertigo Comics. Ever since its inception, I've been a huge Vertigo fan. Even though my comic buying is way down, I still like some Vertigo lines, such as FABLES. So this was quite exciting for me.

Shelly talked about what went into the production of FABLES--script, pencils, etc. and about what she did as an editor, coordinating it all, making a guide for where the word balloons would go, overlooking the pencils and panels and general look of the pages. She showed examples of pages, talked about balance of positive and negative space, numbers of closeups per page, two-shots (2 characters in a frame, speaking to each other--and the need to vary the angles). Lettering. Inking (looking at page balance). Color ("color will not save black and white"). Covers (likes it graphically pleasing, tells a story, sense of motion).

Talked about where she found artists (web, published things, conventions). Tips for Portfolio (presentation neat and orderly, less than 10 images). Prefers getting postcards 4x a year rather than .jpgs via email (which I thought was interesting). Advice: Know your potential client (do your research), make yourself available (may be needed to fill in for someone in an emergency), go to conventions and know how to submit your work for reviews.

She was just FULL of interesting and specific information and advice about comics work.

Piece Rebecca Guay was working on--

After lunch, there was a lecture by David Saylor from Scholastic (publisher for US Harry Potter books, largest children's/YA publisher in the world). Talked about picture books (32pp, 16 spreads, typically), the graphics book line (doing a BONE novel by Jeff Smith). Talked about advances against royalties(usu. 1/2 up front), schedules, how children's tends to be a bit more stable in this sort of economy, about other rights (foreign--as in, they will try and sell them). Agents (depends on the agent). Showed samples of various projects/books he was involved with. Recommended: Society of Children's Book Illustrators. Portfolio: likes to see a strong portfolio, maybe a full book MS with illustrations or illustrations from a classic tale. Talked a bit about narrowing market for books--mostly Barnes and Nobles and Borders (maybe Target and Walmart) these days. Covers need to work for THEM--like maybe one guys working for B&N who calls all the shots.

Both Shelly and David were roaming about the Studios in the afternoon, looking and talking with students.

I'm pretty sure this was Donato's... it was being worked on in Studio B, upstairs, so I never saw him actually painting on it--

But a day or so later...!!!--

Sadly, I had a very slow painting day on Saturday. I guess all the lectures didn't help, either. There was more lectures to come, too. But I felt like I was slogging through molasses compared to the day before. Luckily, Donato came by to suggest using some purples in the shadows of the shield... I really had no clue about what reflective light colors to use! And I painted in some golds in her hair and on her dress... and a wee little boat in the distance (Arthur coming for Excalibur???). Her dress and feet and part of the sword and the shield are supposed to be under water, but I hadn't managed to work on that yet...

To my left was Mark, working on a Princess of Mars image--

Karen's Lady of the Lake painting (she was on Ruth's other side). Karen's only been painting for a few years, so I think she did a fantastic job during the class--

Diana's Princess of Mars cover painting--

Jennifer Oliver's lovely Lady of the Lake and Arthur--

Irene Gallo's lecture was after dinner at 7pm. She, of course, is the very well-known, award-winning Art Director for Tor Books (also Forge and Starscape). And she'd been involved with the IMC all week, taking pictures, talking, wearing L.A. William's suit of plate armor, etc. She says she finds artists through annuals such as Spectrum and Expose and Soc. of Illustrators, Mailers (postcards with links to websites), Networking and Conventions, Bookstores (seeing published work), online communities(conceptart, cga, gorilla), recs from other artists.

Portfolios: 8-12 pieces (you are hired on your WORST work), consistency important, show work that answers your client's problems, show work you want to do/get, show great figure work (figures in motion, multi-figures).

Websites: should update regularly, no pop-ups, no indecipherable thumbnails, keep it fast and easy and sharable. Watch over-doing water-marks. Interviews: Impress, don't embarass; don't apologize, don't argue critiques, thank you notes are excellent excuses for a reminder/sample. She likes art blogs, for ease of access.

Irene has an excellent blog on blogger. Lots of photos and posts on the IMC and other things. Google her to find it. (And scarily enough, she had one or two photos of me/my painting, identified by name, which totally freaks me out. Nah, not really. She was actually very fun and nice! ... still... wish I had finished killer piece to show, but ah, well--my competitive days are over... I just don't care as much now! I even sketched in her book, which is something I avoid like the plague... told her the story of how everyone sees those sketches, such as other artists and ADs and some sketches can just be horrible--and that I'd actually done one of those horrible sketches that you just want to tear out of a book, but can't--and it turned out the guy became an AD later!!! Nightmare!!! although he hired me, but still!!!)

Again, this was upstairs in the other studio... but I think Greg Manchess was starting another painting since he finished his group of Steampunk Oz piece. Definitely a Princess of Mars, this one--

Student--Steampunk Wizard of Oz--


A Lady of the Lake--

Charles Vess ran an unscheduled lecture/slidshow after midnight on Fantastic/Fairy Art--lots of illustrators who are not commonly seen, many from the golden age, a few modern. He just happened to have some images with him and was just running through what he had. Said he often gives similar shows, but swaps the images out, so it's different every time. Surprisingly, even though most of us were frantically trying to get as much painting done, since it was our last opportunity, the lecture room was pretty full! It was a nice break, actually. And we all loved seeing more images! (I took audio notes--still haven't transcribed any of those yet, so no details, sorry!)

I think pizza was ordered again, but I can't really remember! I know it was getting light whe I finally walked back to the dorm rooms!!! ...and there were still people in the studios painting...

Our dorm hall--

10-12 we had to clean up the studios, leaving only our paintings on the easels.

1-5PM Open Studios with public invited to view. Also Yolanda LeRoy, Editorial Director of CharlesBridge Publishing and Susan Sherman, Art Director of Children's Books at CharlesBridge Publishing were going around looking and talking with students.

Hall with our studios and lecture hall--

Also... we all had these lovely red-bound gold-embossed IMC-logo sketchbooks to take notes in. And to collect sketches in, apparently. It started that morning... I grabbed Charles Vess early! (a fairy on a wood/demon) I love his work so much! Casual-seeming lines started to form. And piles of sketchbooks. I tried not to go crazy, since I knew none of the instructors would want to do 80 or so sketches. I just tried to get a few. Also got one from Dan DosSantos (elf girl head) and Greg Manchess (dragon head). And I got a few random sketches from the other students.

There was a closing ceremony where students had organized to give gift packages to the instructors. And we'd all contributed sketches for Rebecca Guay, and signed cards to all of them, and for Sarah, Rebecca's assistant. I tried to write about how much some of these artists had influenced me in the past and how they continued to inspire me, but I doubt it came off half as well as I wish it did. They really are so amazing, there really aren't words!

Rebecca's work from the intro-video. She didn't give a lecture this year since there were just too many people speaking already--

Dinner was quiet. We were all exhausted! People were hanging out in the studios, still, afterwards, doing a bit of final clean-up, putting all the easels and chairs away, etc. And still sketching!!!

I was doing very scribbley dragon head sketches... they kept getting looser the later it got! I was SO tired... but in a good way... Also sad, and didn't want it to end, even though we were all cleaned up and just needed to sleep and pack up for flying out the next morning.

One of the students fell and badly sprained her ankle while running around trying to show her samples to the publishers on Sunday. Students accompanied her to the Emergency Room and made sure the CharlesBridge people saw her work and samples and got her painting and items back to the dorms, and grabbed dinner and breakfast the next day for her.

Otherwise, things slowly wound down. I took a shared ride to the airport on Monday (organized through the class forum, beforehand). Had flight delays and changes along the way, but made it home at midnight (three hours more if you don't count the time change), and slept all day on Tuesday.

And that was it!

I hope there is an IMC next year, and if there is, I'll certainly try to be there.

In the meantime, it's not quite over. They've told us we need to finish our paintings by Sept. 1. I still haven't worked on it, but am thinking about what I need to do on it...

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