Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nuts & Bolts Book Now Available

This book is for young illustrators just entering the marketplace providing them with useful tools to help them make the transition from university to the real world. While a professor may talk about the future students are too busy completing assignments for the next class to have any thoughts about what happens once they graduate.

No school has time to adequately prepare a student illustrator—or designer or fine artist for that matter—for the real world and as a result the illustration industry remains static. Fees haven’t changed in forty years. Illustration has lost much of the respect it once had among art directors, editors and advertisers. But I feel that can change if we provide young illustrators with a better set of tools.What I’ve discovered is that successful illustrators are all very astute business people as well as being talented illustrators. I think this book will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of starting your career as an illustrator. That’s good for your career. And ultimately that’s good for the industry.

Nuts & Bolts is a culmination of over seven years of intense observation of the illustration field and the contact that the author has had personally with successful illustrators. And he is coming from the perspective of a former advertising agency art director and graphic designer as well as publisher of 3x3, The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. He is in a unique position to see the best and worst of illustrator’s web sites and promotions as not only does he look at them now but he’s been on the receiving end of artist’s promotions for most of his thirty-plus year career. On top of that he actually started out as an illustrator so can identify with the problems illustrators face.

Based on a series of 2009 lectures in the United Kingdom, Nuts & Bolts talks about the three things every successful illustrator knows and the do’s and don’ts for young illustrators entering the market. Professors, Andrew Foster and Gary Powell at Central St Martin’s in London had this to say about his lecture:

“Charles Hively’s candid lecture to the current cohort of MA illustration students at St Martins School of Art & Design in London in 2009, was full of energy and an in-depth knowledge about the subject of illustration.

Issues were raised about the importance of draftsmanship, observational skills, intelligent creative ideas, and an awareness of professional practice was all fundamental in the pursuit of a successful illustrative career.

His talk was the appropriate balance between subject knowledge, fun, quality imagery and a few scary bits. The lecture raised many student questions, which in itself says a lot. His passion is contagious, even when you disagree with aspects of what he was actually saying. Good lectures should be informative, stimulating and a catalyst for inspiration, debate and questioning. This was a very good lecture, a pleasure to witness. We strongly recommend.”

Order Nuts & Bolts online or soon at Amazon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Déjà Vu

It happened again. I was in the middle of my presentation at our Nuts & Bolts Conference and I got to our magazine cover slides and had to pause in front of Issue 13, stand back and regain my composure. I thought I'd gotten past it, I thought the sadness had left. For those of you who don't subscribe to or purchase 3x3 on the newsstand you missed my editorial in Issue 14 so if you were at our conference or have heard about what happened let me explain.

As the new year arrived I was optimistic; even with the bad economy I was looking forward to 2010, but it all changed with the death of Nick Dewar at the end of January. It hit me hard. Here was someone I barely knew, only through our emails and the article that Brian Rea submitted last issue and of course by the work that I have admired since starting this magazine. Nick was special. And the loss at such a young age is tragic.

The thought of dying never occurred to me in my twenties or thirties, I was spared from any tragedy but as I grew older I began losing people I cared about, people who had made an impact on my life. My mentor and boss in a tragic boating accident; my copywriter partner, mother of four, from a mysterious illness; my marketing director who battled most of his adult life with an arterial disease that had taken his leg. All died suddenly. A couple of them I hadn’t spoken to in years, yet with all of them the grieving process took weeks sometimes months to go through.

When I learned that an insidious rampant leukemia took Nick’s life, the loss somehow paralysed me. Fear took over, not a fear of death but of life—I was wracked by sudden doubts about the future. Optimism turns to pessimism. The what-ifs began. Would anyone enter this year’s show? How many people would continue to support the magazine in this economic climate? Could we sustain two magazines and our annuals? Would we have to lay-off people? Fear of the unknown can cripple creativity and bring everything to a halt. Conquering the what-ifs is tougher than facing the what-is.

I’ve been fearful many times in my life, there were times when I’ve been unemployed for months at a time, there have been divorces that took their toll emotionally, physically and financially and yet I survived and many times thrived as a result of these debilitating occurrences. It’s been like déjà vu these past several months, but as always the practice of moving forward without looking back can counter the what-ifs of life. That and a bit of luck. People did enter—more entries from more places than ever before. First quarter subscriptions are up. We added an intern. The issue is out. Life—is—good.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

3rd Ward Open Call Announcement

What would you create for $5,000, three months in NYC and your very own art show? You have the vision and now 3rd Ward in New York City is offering you a place in the international art world.

You are invited to submit a portfolio of your best completed artwork, work-in-progress or conceptual proposal to be considered for the 3rd Ward Solo Show. We are looking for dynamic, inventive and provocative work of all mediums: sculpture, photography, painting, printmaking, illustration, installation, graphic design, video and more!

For full details and to submit go to:

Enter promo-code: "3rdWardRT1" and your first submitted image is free! (This discount expires July 12)

Submissions will be evaluated by our distinguished panel of judges including: Founder & Director of Scope Art Show, Alexis Hubshman; celebrated illustrator, Yuko Shimizu; TV Personality, Alexa Chung; and 3rd Ward Founder, Jason Goodman.

Your deadline is July 28th, 2010, 11:59 p, EST.

You may submit up to 6 images for $15 per image. For 7 or more images, there is a flat discounted rate of $95. You can upload up to 15 images for the discounted rate.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Public Relations

This just came across my desk from Rachel Friedman,CEO of EMSI Public Relations a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. She also hosts a national weekly radio talk show, The Family Round Table, and is author of the book, Celebritize Yourself.

The cycle of marketing was once summarized in the story of the circus coming to town.

If the circus is coming to town and you buy a billboard saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,” that's advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that's promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor's flower bed and the local paper picks it up, that's publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that's public relations. If the town's citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they'll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that's sales.

Most of the time, it’s really difficult to get the elephant to walk where you want it. In those cases, you need to generate your own public relations, and I’ve got some basic tips for you to follow to make that happen fast and inexpensively:

Find your inner expert—Think about your business or your profession and zero in on your expertise. Pick the area you know the most about, and focus on that. Do you have a ballpark idea of what that is? Keep that in mind, and we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Surf the Internet—Just about every key news source has a Web site, so do some surfing. Go to the Web sites of the news media outlets in which you’d like to be featured and harvest their contact information to build your media database.

Read the papers—One good way to figure out if what you are doing is newsworthy or relevant is to read a newspaper to see what the press is writing. If you want their attention, you need to figure out what currently interests them. Specifically look for news stories in your area of expertise or interest.

Put it all together—In remembering your media targets and the stories they typically publish about your topic or area, go back to your expertise. Is there something that you found that was in the news related to your expertise? Is there something you can comment on with veracity and credibility? That’s how you thread the needle.

PR Tools—The press release, as a reliable tool for public relations professionals, had been on life support since 2005, when newspapers first realized that they weren’t competing with television or radio as much as they were competing against Internet news portals. Dozens of newspapers and magazines have folded, and hundreds more have scaled back their staff and even their publication size. Consider the shrinking news hole, the shrinking staff and the emphasis on competition from online outlets, and you have to ask yourself if they even have the staff to read the volume of hundreds of press releases per day that they receive from email and wire services.

So, if they aren’t reading press releases, or only selecting press releases from trusted or existing sources sparingly, how can you get through to print media editors?

The answer is content. Most publications are not seeking news, but rather, ready-made content that they can plug directly into their publications, Web sites or both. The key is ensuring that the content you offer is more than just a sales pitch for you or your project. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that this is not a marketing project or a promotional project. It’s a news project. You want to take who you are, what you do and your primary message and marry it to something already in the news. Think like a news editor and not like an artist, and you’ll find something between the lines that will resonate with the media as well as the audience.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Animation Festival Call for Submissions

Jeff D'Silva at Quickdraw Animation passed this along to me.

The Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival is the only exclusively independent animation festival in Canada, with a focus on experimental and self-produced animated film.

GIRAF plays an essential role in the promotion, education and appreciation of independent animation from around the world, exposing hungry local audiences to the best animated content from at home and abroad.

Wednesday, November 3-7, 2010
Plaza Theatre, Calgary, AB Canada

Submission deadline: August 2, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Visit from Falmouth

A group of over twenty young adults from Falmouth University in the UK stopped by the studio on one of the hottest days in June. With that many packed-in bodies not even the AC turned down to 64-degrees could cool the room down. Their original visit was scheduled just as the volcano erupted in Iceland so the trip was postponed--their original date would have been much cooler!

After a not-so-brief introduction to 3x3 and some thoughts about the current state of illustration we got to the all-important portfolio critiques. As a group there were some excellent books and some very good books and only a couple of books that just weren't there yet.

There were a number of the same projects in the portfolios but it was interesting how each illustrator approached the problem. There were only a small handful of New Yorker covers which are so difficult to show here in New York, book covers, posters, children's books, sequential, advertising and of course editorial. Most of the work was shown in context which is always nice to see. And the work was presented very nicely.

Falmouth has an excellent reputation as an art school and I'm sorry we didn't get to visit in November--they're six hours west of London.

We always enjoy the student visits, it's great to see what the next generation of illustrators is up to.