Day 2 pictures here.
Somehow the day ended with hanging out in a hotel room with four artists and a red tail hawk named Dakota. Everything else is an art infused blur.
Start time was mercifully late, given the party the night before. Intros and keynote were at 1:00. It took a while to get through the introductions since there are With 60 instructors here it took a while to get thrpugh introductions. I was happy for it, though -- it's amazing what kind of talent we were standing next to witout realizing it, not knowing what everyon elooks like.
The keynote was given by Lorne Lanning who talked about many cool things but stressed the idea of world building and ownership -- creating your own worlds that can be explore across many platforms: paintings to books to comics to toys to movies...Lorne was followed by Frank Beddor, whose Looking Glass Wars has been doing just that.
However, whatever is happening on the main stage is only part of the action at these things. At any one time there two dozen demos going on. If you are an artist, the thing to do is just sit yourself down next to these guys and start drawing and painting and bombarding them with as many questions as possible. Me, I walk around peering over shoulders a lot, taking to students and instructors and trying to catalog every promising lead I can. I saw lots of great portfolios and work doing done on the. (Any workshopers out there: I know we have the business day on Tuesday but feel free to grab me whenever you see me.)
I got to meet two artists I just hired before coming down here: Vance Kovacs, who will be painting covers and interiors for Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon series for Tor. In fact, I was able to hand deliver the manuscript on Saturday night. After watching him paint for a few hours, I got even more excited about the project. And I met recent Spectrum award winner Kekai Kotaki who had emailed me some kick-ass sketches late last week.
I met a Marvel talent scout, C.B. Cebulski. Talk about an awesome job, he travels the world looking at artists and bringing them to Marvel. We'll have to compare notes back in NY. I only just got a moment to check out his blog, but it seems very envy inducing.
We had to have lunch with a couple of great animation artists, Dustin d'Arault and Yashar Kassi.
Scott Brundage has been our meal buddy most of the days. He's a great watercolorist whose trying out digital for the first time here.
Ringling alumni are all over the place and looking good. Ringling will take over the art world.
A few Master Class alumni are here...making me both nostalgic for last year and excited about the upcoming summer.
And....somehow by the end of the night I was in a hotel room with Greg, David Levy, and Dakota, Manny Carrosco's beautiful red tail hawk.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Reverie officially started late last night with two kick-off parties. The first hosted by ReelFX animation studio. The second being the Massive Black/ConceprtArt.org party, in conjunction with the American Film Institute. It was easy to spot the AFI people -- they were the ones in ties.
It's Jason Manely's intent to have this party "hit hard with the inspiration" and it works. Three DJs, Andrew Jones performance painting, 20+ digital and traditional demos, models to draw from...attendees drawing, watching the demos, dancing, and talking. Everyone seems super psyched to get to work for the next bunch of days.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The ConceptArt.org workshop, Reverie, is gearing up. I got in to Dallas late last night, after a slightly harrowing flight. Dallas is having "weather."
I'm just back from a quick instructor meet-and-greet to get a look around our new home for the next three days. It'll be a great venue, much more intimate than Seattle was. The traditional and digital sections now share the floor, which will make it a lot easier to soak in both and listen to all the lectures. It's official: I am very excited about the upcoming days.
We are sharing Dallas with a photographic educators conference and the American Film Institute Festival. Fun neighbors. The photo conference has students running all over the hotel and the AFI festival will be sponsoring one of two kick off parties tonight. It's going to be a very long and fun night. Luckily, I slept until noon today.
I'll be Twittering the weekend away. I've never used hash tags before but for those that know what to do with them, I was told to use: #rev09
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Apologies for the piecemeal posts but I seem to be too impatient to wait for these to gang up, I'm posting hem as they come in.
Here's Greg Manchess with jet-pack dreams.
April Fool's is our deadline, I'm amazed how ahead of schedule these guys have been. It's unheard of.
Still to come: Michael Whelan, Wesley Allsbrook, Francis Vallejo, and Michael Kaluta.
...next up, Chris Buzelli with "Daymare."
Check out Chris' blog -- it's one of my favorites. Besides great work, it's the perfect balance of final paintings and process materials with just enough writing.
(Chris -- Congrats on your Society medal the other day!)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I put a lengthy cover process post on tor.com, including various thumbnails, embarrassing reference shots, and thoughts from Greg, the author of the book (Ken Scholes, Canticle) and me. Check it out here: Greg Manchess Painting Canticle by Ken Schoels
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon stopped by the office. I've never seen two people more excited about the artwork on the walls.
Me: "This is a Ber..."
Zelda: "...NIE FUCHS! I know!"
Kurt: "Sandy Kossin. Wasn't he on Today's Inspiration recently."
This is why I keep most of the artwork I own in the office rather than my dark and tiny apartment.
And the best news, looks like Kurt and Zelda will be seen on the "pages" of Tor.com in the coming summer. They are awesome. You will love it.
And, I had the pleasure of having dinner and hanging out with Robert Hunt and his California College of the Arts class. A great group. Safe trip home, guys! Remember to look me up at the Tor booth at San Diego Comic Con.
I mostly wrote about the Neil Gaiman/Charles Vess Books of Wonder event from the art POV. Here (hat tip to Joe Monti for finding the video) is the Neil Gaiman part:
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Congrats to all the Hugo nominees. Lots of friends on that list!
Since this is the Art Department, a special shout-out to the Professional Art nominees:
Dan Dos Santos
And for Best Related Book: Spectrum 15. Congrats to Arnie and Cathy Fenner (and all the artists that make up Spectrum.)
Last year I kinda dropped the ball on doing nominee profiles. I'll make a better effort of it this year. Stay tuned...
I remember Frank Stockton when he was just a puppy...He's still just a pup, but I remember seeing his work at the Society of Illustrators student exhibit not too long ago and it was clear he was to be something awesome in the field -- and he has not disappointed.
I had a cover that needed doing and his comic book style illustration was prefect for it. The Long Man is a novel with a heavy comic book influence.
Frank has posted a about the process on his blog, check it out and have fun exploring the rest of the site.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Greg Ruth just sent in his MicroVisions contribution.
It's cute! No, it's freaky! No...it's.....Awesome.
I own a few Greg Ruth drawings and they make me happy every day.
RELATED: Greg Ruth gave some great answers in this interview.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The latest from designer Peter Lutjen.
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe, is a young adult book about the trials and tribulations of dealing with zombie boys.
I love each of these for different reasons. But in the end, I came strongly on the side of the "flowers" version, which, thankfully,was the one approved. Although it was touch and go for a while...
For a while "pink dress" was in the lead - they liked seeing the girl. I liked this a lot and would have championed it...except there was something so funny-yet-sweet-yet-sad-and-cute-but-mostly-funny about the zombie suitor.
"Locker" is cool looking but better for a vampire book. It was briefly held up as a favorite but I'm glad we were able to steer everyone away from Twilight-fever. I actually didn't show it the first time around, for fear of said Twilight-fever, but at one point people were asking about it being more romantic, so I threw it into the mix.
Black and white "Dance" version is full of awesome, but better for an older crowd.
In the end, the editor and I were rooting for Flowers, while others were backing Pink Dress. At that point it came down to a "focus group" of four or five kids someone knew, all of which went with the flowers...Proving what I always suspected: My taste have not risen since I was 14.
Monday, March 16, 2009
This week on Tor.com's Saturday Morning Cartoons....
Two about time...
Apnée: A split second of time told in stillness.
La Jetée: Not new to anyone here, I’m sure, but worth a hundred viewings. A time travel movie told almost entirely in stills. Well known to be the basis of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys...while I loved 12 Monkeys, it’s amazing how much more is in this movie only a quarter of the length.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Paolo Rivera, of Mythos fame, has just sent in his MicroVisions. Thank you, Paolo! It's a beaut.
This and nine other 5x7 paintings will be auctioned, via eBay, at the end of April -- all proceeds will go to the Society of Illustrators student scholarship fund. Full list of contributors here.
Ya'll should check out Paolo's blog, he shares lots of great process information - color studies, photo shoots, sculpture references....
There is a great interview with Dave McKean on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, full of great questions and answers and full of great images -- go to read and/or look at the pictures, you wont be sorry.
[Via Neil Gaiman on Twitter.]
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
...speaking of the Society of Illustrators' Student Exhibition: Randy Gallegos wrote to tell me the winners for this year's competition have been posted on the Society's website. Congrats to each and every one of these kids.
Just in...Rebecca Guay has secured a slightly larger classroom for the Illustration Master Class -- five new spots have now opened up.
I feel a little sheepish every time I gush over the IMC but it was clearly one of the most rewarding events I have been involved with.
Illustration Master Class 2009
$1850.00 -- includes room and board. (Prepare to gain 5 pounds throughout the week. I did.)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Dan Dos Santos and I have organized an auction the past three years called MicroVisions. It features ten to twelve 5x7 paintings, drawings, and sculptures with all proceeds going to the Society of Illustrators student scholarship fund. The first three editions totaled over $16,000.00 raised for the scholarship fund.
This is the first of many "thank yous" I want to express to this year's contributors....
Each of these guys will produce a small work of art that we will auction via eBay late in April. I'll be updating as we go.
And Because somebody has to be first, here you can see Volkan Baga's beautiful little painting. I'm holding the original right now and it's a stunning shinny thing. (I say this every year but it doesn't make it any less true: my "pay off" is that I get to live with these wee paintings for a few weeks....Ok, that and meeting all the students at the exhibit and seing how excited they are.)
If I were near the Berskshires this weekend, I wouldn't miss:
Flights of Fantasy: Women, Myth, and Image
Saturday, March 14, 1 – 4 p.m.
Norman Rockwell Museum
Discover the fascinating world of fantasy art! Join illustrators Ruth Sanderson and Lynn Pauley, collectors Robert and Lynne Horvath, and Museum staff for an afternoon of exploration.
Monday, March 09, 2009
This week on Tor.com Saturday Morning Cartoons:
When kids get to drawing...
Gary: A boy’s crush on an older girl leads him to create a more powerful self....Which turns out about as well as incarnations of power normally do. The design on this is just fantastic. The look is super cute but the story has elements of real fear. In French but mostly wordless and doesn’t need translation.
Pencil Face: Pencil Face will draw your wants. Creepy. But darkly funny. And disturbingly sexy.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Originally I started this entry with “What a great day.” but Neil Gaiman’s post, late last night, gave the day an even greater poignancy in reflection.
Books of Wonder hosted an art exhibit, reading, and signing of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' new picture book, Blueberry Girl -- a prayer to a new life.
The day started not-early-enough before Bridget McGovern called and told me that there was already a line out the bookstore door. It was a quarter to 11:00 and the signing was scheduled for 1:00. I hustled over and, thanks to Bridget, we got in soon after and had a low ticket number.
Once in we had were able to view the artwork for a while -- I've talked about the paintings before but I had not seen all of them and I certainly had not seen them framed up and presented as a single body of work. It's a wonderful collection of images, in a slightly different style for Charles. Later on he would tell the crowd that it took him a long time to give himself the permission to utilize so much white space in the paintings. I’m thankful that he was allotted that time. It adds a dreamy every-time-ness that is so appropriate for the book.
Not unexpectedly we ran into many other artists -- Rebbecca Guay, Michael Kaluta, Rick Berry, Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon, Kristina Carrol, Tristan Elwell, and others. Michael Kaluta mentioned the glow of the room and he was right -- the place was packed with people excited by words and pictures, and packed with friends and artists that had traveled up to five hours to wish Charles and Neil, and their book, well.
After the art viewing the crowd gathered around on the floor in a semi-circle, kindergarten story-time style. Neil talked about writing the poem (in a hotel room in Vegas, of all places) as a gift for Tori Amos and her soon-to-be-born daughter. He read the book, noting that it was one of the few times he could read an entire book to a roomful of people and be done in two and half minutes.
Charles gave a quick slide show going over his first rough thumbnails, refined drawings, and some alternate versions of the paintings. He mentioned that the 18 lines of the poem doesn’t have a linear narrative so he quickly came to utilize images of pathways and migrating animals as a means of visualizing the journey of a girl’s life. He also mentioned that he did not want to lock down the “Blueberry Girl” as a specific person with a particular nationality -- instead he changes her race throughout the story and makes her any girl. The repetition of animal imagery helps maintain consistency throughout -- the same owl connects a blond haired girl on one page to an African-American girl on the next, and so on.
The goal of any artist working on a picture book is to add another dimension to the story -- to make the words and images together become a greater third thing. It’s an unqualified success. Bravo to both creators.
And then the signing began...lots and lots of signing. Again, thanks to Bridget we were able to get in early. I've known Charlie for years but have never met Neil...and was very shy to meet him now. Bridget forced my to say hello and I’m glad she did. All the rumors are true - he is the most gracious and charming thing you could cross paths with.
Some friends and I left for a while to garb a bite to eat and came back a few hours later - Charles and Neil were only halfway through the line, still chatting and being gracious to everyone as they stepped up. We left for dinner and Charles showed up hours later, high on adrenaline. It was a great night of eating and talking. Charles showed off the proofs to his art book, Drawing Down the Moon (due out “before Comic Con)....Holy smokes does it look great. A thick book, just about every paintings and drawing being a full page. Charles does not have an extensive collection of his work online, going through these pages and seeing so much work in one sitting is a heart-stopper.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Tuesday night was tough: Watchmen preview, Waltz with Bashir screening at the Society of Illustrators with David Polansky, or a symposium with six awesome illustrators. After some debate, Shelley Eshkar and I decided to go to the symposium.
It was great to see the large house was packed - many students, a lot of pros, and a number of art directors. On the panel, as seated above:
Christopher Silas Neal
modertor: Mark Heflin, director of American Illustration
Their work can be seen in this nifty video:
DWI: Under the Influence with Today's Most Arresting Illustrators from SPD Videos on Vimeo.
Some random notes:
A number of the artists talked about the importance of getting early, if not very glamorous, jobs right out of school -- not only to instill professional work habits but to help build a portfolio that doesn’t look like student work.
Tim mentioned that an artist typically has many kinds of breaks along the way and these all help to build confidence.
Chris told a story that implied these early jobs can help you address your strengths and weakness.
Style and Freedom:
Mark made the interesting comment that an art dissector is like a casting director.
Jillian made a distinction between aesthetic and conceptual style -- sometimes artists are hired for one but not the other.
Katherine made the point that the more freedom you give the artist, the more likely you get what you hired them for.
All the artist said that, as professionals, they will take on less interesting “bread and butter” projects. Peter mentioned that sometimes the money and relatively low drain on creativity of these jobs can free you up for more and better ideas elsewhere.
Tim stressed the importance of having a diverse client base. He also told students not to worry about the stories of “the good old days”. He was told he “just missed it” when he first started in the business. “You only have the reality you have, and it’ll be great. You can’t worry about what it was like in the past.”
Jillian mentioned that students have the advantage of being young and fresh. Tim backed this up by saying his wife, Elizabeth Parisi, an art director at Scholastic, always gets excited when spotting great talent in a new graduate.
Tim talked about cycles and working with new designers -- you have to keep introducing yourself to new crop of ADs and designers....and to always treat the assistant’s well! You never know where they will end up as art director.
Jillian and Peter talked about the importance of self-initiated projects -- projects that you do for yourself can lead to paying jobs.
Chris mentioned that working in a studio is a good way to bounce ideas off of other artists and help improve your work.
Jillian talked about being surrounded by highly motivated artist in school and how that was intrumental in pushing themselves to do better. She also talked abut the advantage of living in NY - it's not nessessary for a carreer, and yet it does offer a community of artists to be surrouned by and events like the Society openings and this lecture.
Tim was asked why he keeps a blog -- its another place to show off work to clients and a way for them to see him as a human being, not just a hired hand. Another reason was that it’s a way to take stock in what is going on in his life.
Jillian, who also teaches, wanted to stress the importance of sketches, which students aren’t always so keen on doing. Sketches are your planning. They save time in the long run. They are what you sell your ideas on and they are how the art director sells your ideas to their editors.
I think it was Tim who said, “If you don’t do sketches, you’re stuck doing jingles.” ...(which is a great sentiment...one that I'll steal in for student lectures.)
Katherine said if you're not into sketching then you better like doing revisions.
It seemed all six artists kept some kind of sketchbook, although not all of them traditionally. Peter mentioned taking tons of digital photos to look at - both as a means of taking notes and to discover things in a scene he didn’t notice while there.
Jillian talked about keeping a sketch blog to keep herself motivated.
And that's about all my notes say. A good night, capped off with a great diner with Yuko Shimizu, Zelda Devon, and Sara Crumb. Watchmen and Waltz movies be damned, I had a good night.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
A bit late here but I didn’t want to let any more time go by without saying a big “Thank You” to the Boksone committee. They invited me to be a Guest of Honor this year and I had a blast at it. I'm aware these events are entirely volunteer run but being behind curtain just a tad more than usual made me appreciate all the work these guys put into these events even more. I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating -- Boskone is one of my favorite conventions of the year and after seeing the dedication behind it, it’s no wonder why.
A quick recap....
After a crazy-frantic Thursday morning Bridget McGovern, Pablo Defendini, Greg Manchess, and I packed up the Scooby van full of art work and luggage and drove up to Boston, yakking non-stop for the four and half hour trip.
Mark Olson and Tim Szczesuil had asked if I could put together a special exhibit of paintings used on Tor book covers. I brought in a number that I own or could borrow from the artists, Joe Siclari and Edie Stern were gracious enough to bring in four great works from their collection, likewise, Mark and Prisilla Olson brought in two of theirs. The exhibit seemed like a reasonable thing to do but it wasn’t until I saw all the working hanging together that it struck is as something really very cool. Any time you change the context of the work it lets you reevaluate it -- these paintings were no longer solutions to marketing problems for me, they became artwork again. It feels selfish to say but, I hope others enjoyed it as much as I did.
Among my panel discussions was an hour long tour of the Tor exhibit. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough to say, nervous that no one would show up, nervous that too many people would show up...In the end, I think it went fairly well... although I talked non-stop at freight train speeds for an hour. (Note to self: If you tell people to ask questions as you go, then it’s best to give a little breathing room for them to do so.) If I can, I may track down jpegs of everything exhibited and do a recap.
The rest of my panels were the usual array of art concerns. Many conversations quickly turned to the future of publishing and eBooks. By and large, everyone, myself included, seemed excited about the opportunities that e-publishing may open up. Books will always need advertising -- some kind of artwork will be involved. Without expensive four color printing processes to deal with, it may even open up opportunities to create more interiors artwork and art that is not restrained to traditional formatting -- sequential, animated, more editorial styles, artwork for background info, etc.
Donato Giancola suggested a “Grill the Art Director” panel which sounded scary but the guys were easy on me...again the conversation went back to eBooks. One of the more interesting panels I was on, moderated by collector Jerry Weist, had artist Stephan Martiniere, and author Joel Shepard, and me. The artist, author, and art director -- getting all perspectives of the process.
Jane Yolen’s 70th birthday party. Hurray, Jane! (And hurray to all the chocolate and cake...enough to make me sit by the edge of the table and cry for not being able to eat it all.)
Madelynn Martinere is always a highlight. (Stephan, feel free to send her in your stead, anytime.)
Watching Dan Dos Santos paint digitally while Donato Giancola drew traditionally.
And eating and talking and hanging out with great people..lots of eating and talking and hanging put with great people.
Pictures on Flickr.
FISRT ROW: Donato demo. Dan Dos Santos demo. The great magazine giveaway. (Greg took dozens of these...just for the covers.)
SECOND ROW: Happy birthday, Jane Yolen! Greg Bear. Robert Weiner, Omar and Sheila Rayyan, Joe Scalari.
THIRD ROW: Madelynn Martiniere. Bob Eggleton and Mark Olson. Stephan Martiniere and Dave Seeley.
FOURTH ROW: Rick Berry. In the art show. Kids in the Dragon's Lair.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Spectrum, the most anticipated art annual in the genre, just finished judging their 16th edition on a snowy Saturday in Kansas City. Award winners (listed below) were announced, via video with Donato Giancola, on Spectrum's website on the day of the judging. The directors, Cathy and Arnie Fenner are currently compiling all of the participating artists. Spectrum 16 will be available October 2009. Check out their website for a look at all the award winning artworks and photos of the judging process.
Congrats to the award winners and all the artist that entered!ADVERTISING
Gold: Ryohei Hase
"Go Forard and Forward" for Fightstar/Raw Power Management
Silver: Yuko Shimizu
"Little Red Polka Dots and Other Stories" for Microsoft UltimatePC
Gold: Petar Meseldzija
"The Legend of Steel Bashaw"for Zmaj, Novi Sad
Silver: Jean-Baptiste Monge
"Dunlee Darnan" for Au Bord des Continents...
Gold: Jon Foster
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer #14" for Dark Horse Comics
Silver: Aleksi Briclot
"Annihilation: Conquest #5" for Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
Gold Daniel Dociu
"Mole Tunnels" for ArenaNet/Guildwars
Silver: Kekai Kotaki
"Snow Battle" for ArenaNet/Guildwars
Silver: David Meng
Gold: Craig Elliott
"Damali Richards" for Devil's Candy Store
Nate Van Dyke
"Pool Hall Brawl"
Gold: James Gurney
"Song In the Garden" for Maison D'Ailleurs
Silver: Jaime Jones:
Wizards of the Coast
Gold: Jeremy Enecio
Silver: David Laub