Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fresh Paint: Jason Chan

"Fresh Paint" will be a series of micro-interviews that focuses on young artists (wether they are actually young or people coming into illustration later in life) -- specifically to get their take on what it's like to enter into the market today. Like every other industry, the internet has changed the way illustrators work, promote themselves, and communicate with clients and potential clients. I seemed to have entered into the science fiction and fantasy publishing world just as the conventions were losing their hold as "the" place to network and secure jobs. With the internet and genre specific annuals, the pool of artists known to art directors has exploded. It’s invigorating the field while opening up a wealth of opportunities and challenges for artists entering the field today.

Jason Chan graduated from the Academy of Art University in the spring of 2006. He has a digital style that mixes manga with more traditional narrative illustration. Not out of school a solid year yet and he already has a healthy client list. Currently he is working as a concept artist for Massive Black while taking freelance illustration jobs, including the occasional Tor cover, on the side.

What where some of your successful promotional material?

Most of my work both in the beginning and now came from the internet. I started showing my work on the net while I was still in high school and landed an role playing game gig and some poster jobs early on. Finding some of the online artist gathering sites and posting my work there frequently helped to expose my work. I also kept an up-to-date portfolio site up to help sell my skills.


What do you feel is your biggest hurdle in getting commissions?

From my standpoint, it's hard to say. I only know when people want my work - if they don't want it, I never hear about the job to begin with. I guess the real struggle is to make your work look like what people want, but still be something new and original. You have to be unique and appealing, which can be a difficult thing.


Do you have a clear idea where you'd like to be in five years?

I take each day as it comes. Right now I'm working full time as a concept artist at Massive Black and doing freelance work in my spare time. I love what I'm doing right now and I don't plan on changing anything right away. However, I know that I may not always feel this way and might decide to move on to something else in the future. I'm trying not to plan out everything too far right now since I might not feel the same way when the time finally comes.


Any advice to current students?

Remember that school is just the start. When you finish your classes and have learned to draw and paint the way your school has taught you, don't think that you are done developing your technique. Try something different. A big part of success is to be unique, and you can't be unique if you do the same thing as all of your classmates and teachers. Use what you've been taught and do with it what you will.

15 comments:

Carl V. said...

Wow! Love these little art features you do and Jason Chan's art is amazing. He has a beautiful website.

Irene Gallo said...

Hey Carl,

You are from Stainless Steel!? I was going to link to your John Harris and John Berkey post, but I wanted to wait until I can see if I can pull a quote from the appreciation that Vin Di Fate wrote for Berkey’s Hall of Fame induction. I’ll get to it early next week (at the moment I am blissfully upstate New York and far away from research) but for anyone reading these comments, check out:

http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/?p=597

Carl V. said...

Yep, that's me!

Next time you talk to Jason Chan encourage him to get those prints up on his site. His work is amazing!

Ben said...

Great interview. As a "younger" (just barely not yet 30) illustrator hoping to break into the field, I'm really looking forward to this series of interviews. Thanks for sharing this with us, Irene!

braden matt said...

Extremely informative. This is a great way for artists starting out in this field to see how things are handled and what it really takes to be a successful artist. Thanks for posting such a great idea.

Irene Gallo said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I've got three more young artists lined up for this, I'll add to that as the time comes. Below are the questions I am asking. I'm telling them to pick and choose the ones they'd like to answer -- not wanting to take up too much of their time. If anyone has other questions I should add, please post them here. I'd love any input ya'll have to offer.

* Where did you go to school and how do you feel they prepared you for your career, both artistically and in business?

* What has been your biggest challenge post graduation?

* What where some of your successful, or unsuccessful, early promotions?

* What do you feel is your biggest hurdle in getting commissions?

* Do you feel as though you've had your first "break" yet?

* Do you have a clear idea where you'd like to be in five years?

* Any advice to students still in school?

heidi said...

Hello,

I just stumbled across your blog and I'll be keeping an eye on it. I have been working as a designer for 17 years doing odd bits of illustration but I am just about to go full on into trying to get my illustration 'career' on the move this year (I'm really old - 38!) www.heidisturgess.com

Irene Gallo said...

Heidi - I'm sorry to hear that 38 is "really old", as my 37th birthday is this Friday. ;-)

theatremom said...

Irene, your birthday is Saturday!

Irene Gallo said...

Hi Mom! -- I have four calendars here, you'd think I'd now what day of the month it is. Sheesh.

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