Tuesday, December 9, 2014

variety is the spice of life

Or perhaps the spice of an interesting career.

I have had a very spicy year. In spicy I mean lot of different types of projects and in many styles. One of my favorites was creating giant Photoshop paintings for a stage set. The paintings were output onto canvas and stretched over panels that are going to be reused each year for a Holiday Pageant. I lost count on how many panels there were, but my guess would be 50 or so individual set panels. Most were landscapes but all were digitally painted in Photoshop. Which I LOVE doing but don't get nearly enough projects that require it. Darn... So hear this theater companies, I LOVE painting sets digitally, feel free to call anytime.

Another great gig was a Graphic Recording job for Exterro. I spent two days learning all about the challenges of being a corporate lawyer and dealing with pending lawsuits and collecting pertinent emails, and communications of employees. And I thought my job was challenging sometimes. Ha. I sat in on different break out sessions and drew imagery to help explain the legalize as well as to capture the overarching concepts. I learned a lot and the attendees seemed to really enjoy the finished products. Many people were taking pictures of the graphic recordings and using them for notes. Success.

And in between those projects were holiday cards, an instruction manual, signs for small towns and countless others. I really feel that one of the keys to survival as an illustrator today is versatility. And although that is counter to what I was taught in college it has served me well. So to you young illustrators, don't be afraid to say yes to a project that makes you stretch. There is far more growth in the edges of ones career, than in the middle.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

breathing and regrouping

Wow, what a year. I finally have a lull so wanted to play catch-up and regroup.

This year I have had a broader range of work then years past. This year I got to animate my line illustrations for MacAfee in a series of videos about cyber security. I also had a great time at a recent event doing Graphic Recording. Who knew that a conference on the legal challenges for a business could be so interesting?

Some of the things I have learned this year. Sometimes it is better to say No than Yes. I found I got so busy that it was better for me and my clients to just say no. Although it was hard to turn work away it felt good to not overload myself and I delivered a better quality product to my clients. I also found I did the work I wanted to do and was able to give other illustrators a foot in the door with a project (I referred those clients to other artists). It felt great to share finally.

Another big moment was the Illustrator's Conference - ICON. This year the event was in Portland and made it easy to attend. The first night was an emotional roller coaster. Surrounded by so many Illustration super stars I felt insecure and full of self doubt. It doesn't matter that I actually make a living as an illustrator, somehow I felt that I wasn't good enough. Thankfully after a day I realized that one doesn't have to be a super star to have value. The world is chock full of people who are really good at their work that never have their names in lights on the marquee. We are the people who make things work, who innovate and create every day without the awards. And honestly that is a noble thing. So cheers to those of us who make good work!

Lastly, I need to find a way to manage my online work when I am so busy. This may be the hardest part. The creating is easy, the taking care of customers is easy, but sitting down and managing a portfolio, blech!

Until next time, keep drawing, keep making, keep being inspired.