Tuesday, December 13, 2011

3x3 Directory Goes to Press

We’re sending this year's 3x3 Illustration Directory to the printer today. We have a total of 335 illustrators from 29 countries represented inside our 480-page Directory. Work is divided in nine categories ranging from conceptual to children’s, whimsical to decorative, landscape to lettering, figurative to fashion with animal rounding out our categories.

What we’ve found is that art directors and art buyers really like our Directory. They love our selection—our Directory is curated, you must be invited to be in. They love our size—it’s portable. They love our design—single image per page grouped by color or theme. And they like the categories and our online counterpart that clicks directly to the artist’s site. They'll also like the option to view the Directory on their iPad.

Illustrators love our Directory because they’re surrounded by the best illustrators around. And they love our page price, anyone can afford to be in our Directory.

The Directory is distributed free to over 6,000 art directors and art buyers in the United States. The list is highly targeted to those who have an interest in illustration whether they’re in advertising, publishing—magazine and books, in-house corporate, entertainment or design.

The Directory will be distributed in January.

Cover illustration by Wonil Suh

Monday, December 5, 2011

3x3 Annual Goes to Press

We’re sending out the 3x3 Illustration Annual No 8 to the printer today. Chock full of excellent work, this 424 page annual displays most of the images in a single page plus this year we’ve added a separate Medalist section where the medal winners from each of our shows is displayed. Best of Show, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners from the professional show, children’s show and student show will appear in the front of the book, merits and distinguished merits will be displayed by category.

You’ll see some familiar names but also bear witness to some of the new talent our judges found around the world. Looking at 6,164 entries, the judges selected 347 winners. The judges were perhaps the most severe with the student show with only 34 winners from 479 entrants entering from 103 schools worldwide. The children’s show showed more winners from any previous show with a mix of 45% coming from outside the US. A frustration was how few animations were entered—this continues to be a small category; a disappointment was how uninspired judges found many of the unpublished entries this year. Perhaps it’s due to the economy, this should be a category along with self-promotion where experimentation can take place. Gallery was stronger this year than in some previous years, advertising was improved and of course, editorial was strong.

Winners receive a complimentary copy of the annual which we hope to have in the mail by the end of the month; international deliveries take a bit longer. We try to have the annual out in mid-December but due to the holidays and a bout with a terrible bug we fell behind. We also have the 480-page 3x3 Illustration Directory going to press later this month for a delivery date of mid-January, so as you can imagine we’ve been quite busy getting a total of 904 pages out the door, not to mention 84-page income survey and 252-pages of Creative Quarterly during the production process.

We’re rounding up next year’s judging panel as we speak and will start accepting entries mid-January for Annual No 9. Mark your calendars: deadline for the professional show is March 2, student show, March 23 and the children’s show, April 20.

Congratulations to all our winners. Look for the annual on selected newsstands worldwide; we’ll also be sending a free digital version of the annual to a select group of art directors and art buyers in the US.

Cover illustration by Bill Mayer

Friday, December 2, 2011

István Orosz Exhibition in New York

István Orosz (1951), one of the most prolific and best known printmakers, graphic artists and animated filmmakers of Central Europe has been creating his trademark art often employing forced perspectives, anamorphoses, illusions and impossible objects since the 1970s. Initially best known for his prints (including film and exhibition posters), his resumé has expanded to include unique trompe l’oeil graphics and some of the most inspired animated films to come out of Hungary (or Europe, for that matter).

He has had individual shows in Chicago (I Space Gallery), The Hague (Escher Museum) and over a dozen other major cities and art centers. Prizes awarded to István Orosz include the Gold Medal at the Biennial of Graphic Design (Brno), the Creative Distinction Award of the European Design Annual (Dublin), the Gold medal at the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Illustrators (NewYork) and the Main Prize of the KAFF Animated Film Festival (Kecskemét).

Join us to celebrate István Orosz’ first solo exhibition in New York, featuring posters, graphic art and animated shorts on multiple screens.

The opening will be followed by a reception with the artist.

December 14, 7pm
Hungarian Cultural Center
447 Broadway {between Canal and Grand}, 5th Floor

Friday, November 18, 2011

For What It's Worth 32

Last week concluded another illustration week here in New York and as always the anchor was the American Illustration Party. Everyone seemed to be having a good time though certain notable faces were absent, the room seemed to be filled with recent graduates or those still in school which got me to thinking. A recent email citing a new quarterly study of graphic designers attitudes about the economy and it’s impact on their industry coincided with the celebration of illustration. According to the survey graphic designers are continuing to see a dismal future with expectations lower than even observed in 2009. This lead me to the following prediction.

As a whole I find illustrators to be more optimistic, perhaps they are more prudent than designers and art directors whose salaries are a given and most certainly illustrators are more entrepreneurial. They are not tied to a studio or department which can be a destabilizing environment in tough economic times. And in general when I look at a profession I was a part of for the better part of my career I don’t see too much to be happy about. In fact, I feel illustrators have a much better opportunity to be successful in the future than designers. Why? As technology continues to improve designers will have fewer opportunities to do what they do best, whereas illustrators can offer visual solutions in any media for any product or service, designers are limited to hiring those services and with shrinking markets and budgets the illustrator will benefit and grow. Illustrators can work for anybody, their client list is endless; their ability to create original imagery puts them at an advantage because technology can never replace the ability to make interesting marks on paper or dream up unusual imagery. Plus with an ever increasing technology-driven environment where everything is crisp and picture-perfect there will be a growing desire for the handmade which will be a boon for those in the commercial world as well as for the gallery stars. Unique imagery will garner much more respect than it does today as the populace realizes that very few of them can draw—while everyone can take a reasonable picture today, very few can draw one. While more people think they can design a flyer, an ad, an invitation using today’s technology, more will acknowledge that they cannot nor will not draw or paint. The minority will rule. Price will be no object. An original image will become a prized possession.

I have no idea what designers will be doing ten years from now but I do know that illustrators have an edge. Where one time I would advise students coming out of school to be sure to have the skills of both a designer and an illustrator I have changed my view. While I think in the short-term knowledge of both is beneficial, the future is in illustration, not design. In the end everyone will become their own designer and with that news illustrators will have gained innumerable clients, and commissions.

I have gone through periods of consternation about the future of illustration and I have often concluded that the future was not too bright with the trend towards free media and content, the shrinking size of reproduction with the onset of tablets which leads to less revenue and lower budgets but in reflection I feel that the future has never been brighter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

An Evening with Tom Peak honoring Bob Peak:
Father of the Modern Hollywood Movie Poster

If you're not familiar with the work of Bob Peak, you need to join Bob’s son Tom at the Society this Friday. Tom will be showing never before seen work by his father which will be a part of a new book about the artist, The Art of Bob Peak. The book will include works spanning a forty year career in movie posters, advertising and his notable Time Magazine covers.

In 1961 Peak was named “Artist of the Year” by the Artist Guild of New York. In 1977 he was inducted into the prestigious New York Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. In 1992 after over 100 Movie Campaigns including his iconic images for such films as, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Star Trek and Apocalypse Now, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hollywood Reporters for his contribution to the film industry.

Society of Illustrators, New York
Friday, November 11  6:30 - 9pm
Followed by a cocktail reception.
$20 non-members/ $15 members/$7 students

Friday, October 21, 2011

AD Sarah Munt Honored by Parsons

My partner Sarah Munt’s work for 3x3 Magazine and Creative Quarterly is being honored this weekend at Parsons The New School for Design’s first annual juried alumni exhibit. Other distinguished alumni represented include illustrators Peter de Seve, Robert Neubecker, photogapher Ryan McGinley, fashion designer Yeohlee Teng and game designer Wade Tinney. The exhibition features more than 40 works in a range of media by alumni representing more than fifty years of Parsons history—from the graduating class of 1960 through 2011.

Sarah’s work is represented by her designs for Creative Quarterly magazines and the 3x3 Illustrator Annual No 7. A graduate of Parsons in their graphic design program, Sarah has racked up a number of awards for her work for our publications including HOW Magazine, Applied Arts, Communication Arts and Belvedere and featured in The Best of Cover Design: Books, Magazines, Catalogs and More, 2011. The exhibit opening is Saturday, October 22 in the Aronson Gallery, 66 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Illustrator Income Book Now Available

We are pleased to release the first annual Illustrator Income Survey; this 88-page book details the incomes of 616 illustrators from all over the world. Easy-to-read charts and graphs detail income information by country, age and gender.

You’ll discover what the top illustrators are making and where they live, how many illustrators gain the majority of their income from illustration, what percentage are also educators, graphic designers, animators. And how many have interns or employees, how many have health insurance and what their relationship with reps is. We’ll also give you the high and low income for each country as well as the average income for illustrators in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. And you’ll find there are quite a few surprises.

If you’d like to learn more about illustrator income you can order our print-on-demand book available from Blurb, $30 or a downloadable pdf available from 3x3, $5.

Thank you to all those who provided their information for our first income survey. If you’d like to particpate in our next survey please contact us at info@3x3mag.com with the subject line, Survey. Those who participate in our survey will receive a free copy of the results.

2010 Illustrator Income Survey, Compiled by 3x3 Magazine
ISBN13: 978-0-9829405-6-4
Softbound, 88-pages
7x7-inches (17.78x17.78cm)
Published by Artisanal Media LLC

Gallery Opening: Istvan Banyai and Tibor Kárpáti

I had the distinct honor and privilege to say a few words about the artists Istvan Banyai and Tibor Kárpáti at the opening of their exhibit at the Hungarian Cultural Center. For those of you who couldn’t attend I’d like to share what I had to say about these two illustrators:

Mr. Ambassador, honorees and guests, good evening. I have been asked to say a few words about two distinguished illustrators who I have had the great fortune to know. And work with. When Istvan called to see if I was interested in speaking he told me I just have to say two words and then I’m done. Naturally I said yes. Unfortunately two words just don’t cover the expanse of talent demonstrated by these two diverse, yet similar artists. Tonight I have over a thousand words. I am also gratified that a cultural institution is honoring illustrators and illustration. We need more public recognition of this kind. Illustration has taken a back seat to photography and fine art far too long.

I believe photography cannot replicate the ideas illustrators dream up. I believe illustration looks as different as the illustrators themselves. I believe illustrators are as original as original gets. I believe we can all take a picture. Few of us can paint one.

I believe we are all born with the ability to draw and paint yet only a few of us continue after grammar school, fewer still as we get older. We all start off loving art. Who can forget how we enjoyed getting our fingers dirty in kindergarten. With chalk. Or crayons. Or poster paint. We mushed clay together to make ashtrays. We pasted popsicle sticks to make a jewelry box. We drew pictures of mom, dad, siblings. Houses. Trees. Summer vacations. Crude though they were they had real meaning to us. And even today looking back they still do. Most of us moved away from art as our education continued. We became more enamored with science or math or history; art faded in our lives. But there were a couple of kids in our classroom that we knew would always be artists. And they are. Some are fine artists others are illustrators and a growing number are both.

I’m not just a fan of illustration I am an advocate. I believe illustration provides us our only true cultural guidepost. Illustrators capture the essence of our times through paint or pixel. The style of our times is evident in the illustrations that appear in magazines,newspapers, books and on screens big and small. They record events, personalities, ideas—political and otherwise, pathos, love, the zeitgeist in a much deeper and more meaningful way than we can ourselves or that an ordinary photo provides. The illustrated image is imbued with the hand and eye of the artist; it speaks to us in a truly unique way. And just like our early crude stick figures, it makes a lasting impression.

I believe when we look back ten, fifty or a hundred years from today illustrators, playwrights and musicians, not painters or sculptors will give us true glimpses of our past. Today you can visit the Met and see the new exhibit of Frans Hals who documented life in the 17th century. There will be no paintings hanging in the Met recording this time we live in. No fine artist will show a crowd scene with people on their iPod, iPhone or iPad. Yet stored away in flat files or on hard drives illustrators chronicle the every day. The every man. Everyday illustrators capture beauty and horror in line, tone and color. Illustrators record history in the making.

While fine artists measure their work by what has come before illustrators measure theirs by what is today. While photography can give us the real, illustration gives us the ideal. And more importantly illustration communicates an idea. Illustrators bring to life the mundane, the profane, the profound. The imagery of illustration is universal. Wrinkles. Warts and all. Illustration is truly the art of the people.

You may ask how do illustrators work? It is really no different than when Pope Julius commissioned the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1508. Art directors ask illustrators to portray today’s gods. And angels. And devils. For the pages of magazines, newspapers and books.

Being an illustrator is not easy. Illustrators work in solitude and on short deadlines. Fine artists have months, illustrators have hours. A project comes in from the New York Times on Wednesday and is due the next day. Not just an idea but an extraordinary idea. And an execution that is flawless. We expect much from illustrators; they never fail to deliver yet we pay them less than other visual communicators. Only a few make their living as an illustrator for more than seven to ten years. Illustration is like fashion; a style is in one day and out the next.
That’s what makes today’s celebration so special. You are honoring two illustrators who have beat the odds. One who has far exceeded the normal life expectancy of an illustrator; the other headed that way for sure. Istvan Banyai and Tibor Kárpáti. Two illustrators that are as diverse as they are similar. Artists. Authors. Animators. Both move easily between the still and moving picture. One relegates his work to curves the other to simple squares. Their voice is unique. But what inspired their work? Perhaps we should credit other famous Hungarians. Did Erno Rubik influence Tibor? Did porn star Cicciolina inspire Istvan?

I must admit I’ve known Istvan far longer than Tibor; with Tibor our communication has been solely in cyberspace, with Istvan I have broken bread with him and his lovely wife at their home in Lakeville. He recommends wines, we dine on Hungarian dishes and of course we talk illustration and art. But our conversations are usually interrupted by constant cigarette breaks. And I must speed this up, as I know he’s due one now. Istvan likes to deal with the absurd. When I was first exposed to Istvan’s work I would swear he was in his 30s. Yet when I met him I found we were the same age. Nothing exposed his age in his drawings. There is no old or new. Istvan and Tibor are both timely and timeless.

With Tibor the work echoes of both Mario Bros. and Angry Birds and yet remains fresh like we’ve never seen it before. Tibor is generous with his ideas. When we worked together I didn’t get one solution, I got six. I was sitting in New York he was in Budapest it is truly a global market. Ideas can come from anywhere, from anyone. In our latest issue of 3x3 his icons of New York sparkle on the page. Tibor owns the square. It’s just that simple.

And you immediately recognize the work of both artists without having to scan for the credit line. Thirty years separate their ages, nothing separates their talent

When we featured Istvan in an early issue of 3x3 I asked him for his words to live by, he gave me these: Never grow up, If you do, you’re dead.

The exhibit is up through October 14 at the Hungarian Cultural Center, 447 Broadway, 5th Floor.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hungarian Cultural Center Honors Illustrators

Illustrators Istvan Banyai, New York and Tibor Kárpáti, Szeged, Hungary will be honored in an event on Thursday, September 29 at the Hungarian Cultural Center, New York.

As Gergely Romsics, representing the Hungarian Cultural Center said, “The two artists were selected because this season we are concentrating on non-classical art forms, be that graphic art or jazz-world music crossover. The theme of this year’s event is Wealth of Difference and we will be trying to emphasize the innovative and unusual, the colorful and the funny rather than promote “old masters”—Franz Liszt and the like. Basically, we want to show original, weird, appealing, contemporary Hungarians to the New York public.”

Ambassador Karoly Dan, consul general of Hungary will be making the introductory remarks followed by Charles Hively of 3x3 Magazine who will offer his views on the contributions made by these two distinguished Hungarian illustrators.

Free to the public

Opens 6:30pm
Thursday, September 30, 2011
Hungarian Cultural Center
447 Broadway, 5th Floor (between Grand and Howard Street)
New York NY 10013

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Illustrator David Clayton to speak
at AIGA New York - Special 3x3 Discount

Dallas Clayton is an American author and illustrator best known for his children’s works An Awesome Book! and An Awesome Book of Thanks! With sales of over 50,000 copies to date, An Awesome Book! garnered accolades from online media outlets such as DailyCandy, Wired Magazine and The Huffington Post. The book also became a favorite among the Hollywood elite, including Gwenyth Paltrow, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Following the publication of his recent book An Awesome Book of Thanks!, Clayton made news by inking a three-book deal with publisher Harper Collins.

The World's Best Ever founder David Wilfert will be introducing Dallas and discussing how an unlikely partnership was formed between the 2 of them. Come out to see Dallas talk about his writing, creativity and overall joy for life, expressed through his words and drawings, for what guarantees to be an inspired night with the AIGA/NY.

Receive a 3x3 Reader Discount by clicking the 3x3 Reader button on the AIGA site.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Bumble and bumble, 3rd floor auditorium
415 West 13th Street Between Ninth Avenue & Washington St.
6:30–7:00PM Check-in
7:00–8:00PM Presentation

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Issue 17 Hits the Newsstands

Our international issue features artists from Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. As much as they offer different  approaches they all speak with a clear voice as storytellers. Italian artist Alessandro Gottardo provides us with a clever minimalist approach by eliminating the unnecessary and distilling ideas to their bare essence. A low-key palette provides a subtle backdrop to his heady solutions. Starting in a far different style he chose the pseudonym, Shout, to distinguish his new work; he hasn’t stopped since with work featured in major publications in the States and abroad. His clients include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Esquire, Newsweek, Condé Nast Traveler, The Atlantic Monthly, Forbes, Wired,,Runner’s World, Random House, Penguin Books, Viking, DDB UK, Young & Rubicam UK, BBH UK, Fallon US, and TWBA. His work has been gathered in three tomes and this year he journeyed to Los Angeles for a major retrospective of his work. Couple that with awards from the Society of Illustrators—including gold and silver medals, Society of Publication Designers, American Illustration, Communication Arts and 3x3, Alessandro continues to amaze and enthrall. Artist, and Alessandro’s mentor, Guido Scarabottolo provided the text.

When you’re looking for cast-of-thousand crowd scenes there’s no one better than, A. Richard Allen. Though he’s grown weary of repeating himself, he still enjoys putting together the odd Where’s Waldo piece. You’ll see how he’s moved past that. Richard’s palette runs the gamut from cyans to chartreuses; lines are used with economy, color and texture separate planes and fields. His work has appeared in Plansponsor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Utne, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Esquire, Reader’s Digest, BBC Worldwide, Nokia, Siemens and books for Folio Society. And he’s been recognized by the Association of Illustrators, Society of Illustrators—both New York and Los Angeles, Communication Arts and 3x3. Richard’s article was provided by fellow illustrator Steve Wacksman.

Paper. Rock. Scissors. Artist Stephanie Wunderlich uses paper and scissors, the results rock! Originally an art director in Vienna she decided to leave advertising, move to Hamburg and pursue illustration full-time. Her work appears in magazines, advertising, books, textiles and newspapers. Clients include Stern, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, Das Magazin, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Manager, Bertelsmann Verlag and Reader’s Digest to name a few. Her work has been honored by Lürzer’s Archive, 3x3 and the Art Directors Club Germany. Nora Krug wrote about her fellow German illustrator and friend.

This issue’s Icon is most probably the first Japanese artist import of note. Kinuko Y. Craft arrived stateside in the early 60s; by 1970 she had embarked on a solo career as a highly sought after illustrator. Whether morphing herself into a Renaissance painter or exploring highly-detailed fantasy illustrations, Kinuko’s work has well stood the test of time. She must first feel the flavor of a story before she can interpret it in paint. Her paintings take months to complete—from reading, research, the idea, the watercolor underpainting to the layers of glazes, she is obsessed with her paintings. While Ms. Craft devotes most of her time to paintings for Fantasy books and private commissions her clients have included Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, US News and World Report, Playboy, Morrow Junior Books, Sea Star Books, Platt & Munk, Follett Publishing, the Dallas Opera and AT&T.

He didn’t start out to be a magazine art director but since taking over the reins at The Atlantic, our art director profile Jason Treat has seen two redesigns and numerous awards for both design and his use of illustration.

In this issue we re-start our Op-Art series with Istvan Banyai’s view on the state of print. CareerTalk takes on the controversial issue of stock. And we’ve added a brand new feature, Survey Says, with answers to international illustrator income.

Rounding out the issue are our Showcase and Gallery sections.

Cover illustration by Alessandro Gottardo

Saturday, August 20, 2011

3x3 Children's Show No 8 Winners Announced

Our final show of the season is complete, the judges have made their selection and we’re ready to announce the winners. This was our largest children’s show ever and there were many excellent pieces entered and as a result we’re awarding the most medals ever. 

Congratulations to our Best of Show winner Gary Taxali, Canada, for his children’s book, This is Silly and to our gold medalists, Nancy Chiu, USA; Sandrine Mercier and Sara Gillingham, Canada and Constanze Von Kitzing, Germany. Click here for a complete list of medal and merit winners

Our international panel of judges for this year’s 3x3 Children’s Show include Paolo Canton, Publisher, Tipipittori, Italy; Cynthia Matthews, Creative Director, Mudpuppy; Yvonne Silver, Art Buyer, Scholastic; Christine Kettner, Art Director, Clarion and Harcourt Children's Books and illustrators Camilla Engman, Sweden and André da Loba, Portugal—presently residing in the US.

Winners will be featured in the 3x3 Illustration Annual No 8 due out in December. In addition there are plans to offer a separate book of our children’s show winners which will allow a larger format to showcase the work, stay tuned.

3x3 Student Show No 8 Winners Announced

The judge’s votes are in and tabulated and the winners are being announced below. And as it’s always been it’s a tough show with tough judges. Just to get in the show entrants must receive a majority of votes from our six judges. To receive a medal an entry must receive at least five judge’s votes and to receive the top awards it must receive all six judge’s votes.

What’s unique about the 3x3 Student Show is that it is truly international. Work was entered from over 16 countries and over seventy-five universities, colleges and art schools whereas most shows stay within their countries borders, we expand past our own.

Congratulations to our Best of Show winner, JooHee Yoon, Rhode Island School of Design who won the unanimous votes of our judges and will receive our $1,000 cash prize. And our Gold medal winner with two gold medals, Sean Lewis, Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada receives a $500-cash value prize. See the complete list of winners.

This year’s judges included Andrew Foster, Illustration Subject Leader, Central St Martins, United Kingdom; Frazer Hudson, Senior Illustration Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom; Steven Guarnaccia, Illustration Chair, Parsons The New School of Design; Allan Drummond, Illustration Chair, Savannah College of Art & Design; Chris Buzelli, Instructor, Rhode Island School of Design and Lars Henkel, Instructor, Folwang University of the Arts, Germany.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For What It's Worth 31

Having just wrapped up our show season last week with the announcement of our children’s show winners I have to say it was a bit disheartening to receive the following email from a children’s illustrator rep in London. I’ve heard said that you can gauge a total response by multiplying that response by twenty-five. So there are possibly another twenty-four individuals out there holding the same opinion.

Here is the email verbatim: “After spending many hours entering our AWARD WINNING (their caps) illustrators into your publication and not getting any of them in - you have the audacity to ask us to pay more for a page in your magazine (sic). Not only do we not want to pay for a page of advertising we will NEVER (their caps) be entering anything into your publication again - please remove us from any of your mailings in future.”

What this rep is referencing is our invitation to selected artists they represent to be a part of the 2012 3x3 Illustration Directory, the discounted page rate is $375 for those who enter the show and the Directory is not open to everyone, we only select those artists we want in the directory though all winners are automatically invited. And is denying one or more of their artists an opportunity to have a presence in a directory that reaches a potential market of those who commission illustration at a more-than-fair price really in the best interest of the artist? Isn’t the reps responsibility to help promote their artists? Here again a bit of frustration, we’re not charging thousands of dollars for a page in our directory, we’re making it as affordable as possible while at the same time only exhibiting those illustrators we select.

But it raises a far greater question of entitlement, does this rep think that because they spent hours—which is an exaggeration, they entered three children’s books—entitles them to a spot in the annual? Do they feel that their “award winning” artists deserve a spot in every show? Perhaps there are other shows out there that would look at the fact that someone invested enough money, or time to enter the show that they should be rewarded by an acceptance. A show might view such acceptance as a means of guaranteeing continued entries from this individual or group. Sad to say, there are such shows out there. They have quotas and reward artists each year just to make sure they continue to support their show. But what value is a show that operates that way? And maybe, just maybe I’m being totally naive here for thinking that there is another way. And by operating the way we do are we really losing entrants each year by the mere fact that a panel of judges didn’t feel their work merited acceptance?

Ours is perhaps the fairest type of show out there. All work is judged independently, the judges never meet, the judging is done digitally and takes place on their individual desktops, they have two weeks to complete the judging process and then all judging sheets are returned to 3x3 for tabulation. So the fact that an image, or book, doesn’t make the cut is at the sole discretion of the judge’s votes. I personally have been entering shows for the past thirty years, I get in some but a lot I don’t but it never stops me from entering again as I always feel my work improves and should have a shot, and I keep in mind that the judges change each year.

Not all really good work is accepted into shows, many pieces entered in our shows are just one vote shy from getting in but to have real meaning in having work judged is that the work must meet certain higher standards of exceptionalism; the criteria should never be the number of pieces entered or how long it took to prepare the entries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For What It's Worth 30

It’s that time of year, student portfolio reviews and exhibits are hitting the city, it was my first look at the new crop of graduating illustrators. Two visits, one with the students whose university had rented a wonderful space in Tribeca and the second was at a less glamorous but highly organized event in midtown.

It’s always easier to review work in a gallery setting, it’s much harder, more time-consuming and delicate to sit down one-on-one across the table viewing that student’s work and especially when the turnout among the city’s art director and art buyer community failed to show up. That meant that every word spoken could be heard by folks on either side and up and down the line since there wasn’t that buzz of conversation that can easily cover up not-so-flattering remarks.

And you have to feel for the students, this is the book they expect to walk out and get a job with and it’s almost like you’d like to ask do you want me to sugarcoat it or tell you the truth. Too often academics sugarcoat critiques, too many times students leave university feeling incorrectly that they’re prepared for the real world. It was disheartening to see books filled with what a professor told them to put in and even when the piece was weak just to stretch out the book. Too many times there wasn’t a consistent voice, the views were scattered and struggling—not a good place to be on the eve of graduation. Too many times there were simply too many pieces in the book and not all of them well done.

Certainly there was talent in the room, but you had the feeling they only wanted to hear good news and it must have been embarrassing to know that their classmates were eavesdropping into a critique meant only for one. It was always good to hear that the pieces that did carry a singular voice were the more recent work—in one instance it had just been done last week. But it was disheartening that work that was older and less refined shared the same space. Not to say that there weren’t excellent books, out of the group of 40 there were four excellent books. By excellent I mean they didn’t look like student’s books, they looked like they had been out in the market a few years. The work was consistent, fresh, exciting—all you could ask for.

Critiques are tough, in my graphic design class at Parsons they weren’t always received well, there seemed to be an expectation that they were all going to get As without really earning one. And even more frustrating was the emphasis placed on grades, no one is going to ask a graphic designer or illustrator what their grade-average was. The proof of any education is what is in the portfolio, how good or mediocre it is has nothing to do with grades. In viewing work outside the classroom I always preface my critique by saying this is one person’s opinion and then give them how I look at work, what I’m looking for and what I see is missing. And then I tell them to not take my word for it but when they hear the same remark at least three different times from three different people then they should take action. Whether it’s moving a piece forward or eliminating it. Too often pieces stay in the book because a peer says they like it, or it’s a personal favorite. They fail to realize that art directors and art buyers view a book in a blink of an eye, that they won’t stop to read captions nor will the artist be there to explain themselves. The book stands or fails on its own.

Recently I was invited to judge the work of undergraduate and graduate graphic design students in San Francisco and while the work was at an extremely high level what was disappointing was any suggestion on where graphic design, illustration, photography or media arts were headed. University should be a time of exploration not only with techniques and subject matter but with what may lie beyond. Too many times we see a factory-approach were students are all well-trained in the basics but lack individuality. Certain coursework is required but is our education too short to allow for exploration? I think so. As a result we turn out way too many me-too’s in a world already overrun with those.

There needs to be a rethinking about how we train and educate artists and designers, the obvious default is for graduates to continue to pursue their careers through graduate programs, but is that really necessary? It’s good for the university but is it good for the artist? A master’s degree is no guarantee of excellence, it merely serves to allow artists and designers to educate others, and even that’s not always the case. And are these master degreed artists really prepared to lead an industry when they too have gone through the same process? Too often illustrators in particular gravitate towards teaching at too young an age without really being in an industry long enough to teach others how to survive. Naturally it’s a safe-haven providing steady income and benefits, but too often it becomes the blind leading the blind. And while they are dedicated to their field they lack true knowledge on either teaching methods or the skills that come from years of being an illustrator. In fact there are those who have abandoned the field of illustration and rely solely on educating students. In no other profession I know of would this happen, in fact the opposite is true; academics are required to keep up with their field of choice, to prepare papers, attend seminars and work steadily in their field. And the obvious result is what we see from today’s graduates, a similarity that does not bode well for our industry. Teachers have succumbed to the university’s approach to learning. Universities are too busy making sure students continue in their program even if they lack talent. The push in some schools is to make sure everyone graduates with acceptable portfolios. Their false hope is that one day soon they can boast of how well their alumni are doing. Yet isn’t the reason for education to go beyond the basics, shouldn’t it be to inspire greatness?

Another issue may lie with students themselves, a false belief that their degree will land them a good job in their field of choice. The mere fact of an undergraduate or graduate degree in no way impacts the ability to get a good job. Fortunately the work that is shown in a portfolio, online or otherwise, is the best indication on what kind of job you’ll get upon graduation.

Perhaps what we’re missing is the apprentice system of old. When you consider the work from the Greek and Roman era through the Renaissance to medieval times, artists and designers were taught on-the-job. Their apprenticeships started when they were much younger than any college graduate—Michelangelo was only thirteen when he began. Were they more impressionable at that early age? Or were their teachers simply better equipped to motivate students to greatness. Certainly it can be said that even they were also not interested in exploring the medium as much as turning out masterpieces but when you compare their output with what we see today, something is amiss. It is so rare to see a graduate’s portfolio that indeed inspires you yourself to do better work. Why is that? How can we all change that?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2010 Illustrator Income Survey - Top-line Results

Over six-hundred illustrators responded to our initial income survey which is the first of its kind. We wanted to know what illustrator income was like country by country, region by region, city by city and are pleased with the response we received. While we’re still in the midst of digesting the data we wanted to present our top-line results. To make this easier to compare we converted all foreign income into US dollars based on June 2011 exchange rates and where we didn’t have significant responses we have not included either a high or low or average for that group.

All data reflects 2010 income from a variety of sources including commissioned illustration, education, graphic design, sales of prints, books and licensing. All data that was collected was provided by each individual and we rely on their accurate reporting. What we are presenting today is the overall statistics from our research.

Overall the highest income came from the United States, with two west coast illustrators netting $980,000 and $530,000 in income from a variety of sources including commissioned illustration, graphic design, animation and sales of books and prints. The top illustrators in the New York market made over $100,000 per annum. When looking beyond the US market, Canada’s top illustrator responding to the survey made $250,000, the United Kingdom’s top illustrator made $303,000, Europe’s—which included Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy—at $360,000 and Asia’s—which included Japan, New Zealand and Australia was $140,000.

We will be offering a more complete picture of income by region, city, age group and the classifications of income in the near future. In the meantime here are our top-line results by age group, by country/region based on our six-hundred responses. Averages below are based on the number of responses by each age group. Actual numbers by age group will be available in the completed survey which will include highs and lows and a breakout of individual income by region and amount as well as percentages of the total—no names will be included.

Average income in US $
18-24 = $12,908
25-34 = $46,717 High = $948,000 Low = $754
35-44 = $66,856 High = $241,597 Low = $5,000
45-54 = $69,536 High = $360,000 Low = $7,500
55+     = $70,181 High = $191,807 Low = $4,500

Average income in US $
18-24 = $23,325
25-34 = $47,808 High = $225,000 Low = $1,400
35-44 = $32,893 High = $100,000 Low = $9,800
45-54 = $68,500 High = $250,000 Low = $15,000
55+     = $57,666

United Kingdom
Average income in US $
18-24 = insignificant response
25-34 = $34,772 High = $303,430 Low = $6,600
35-44 = $55,368 High = $196,800 Low = $3,800
45-54 = $37,815 High = $77,100 Low = $19,700
55+     = $59,45 High = $101,700 Low = $57,400

Average income in US $
18-24 = insignificant response
25-34 = $31,113 High = $360,000 Low = $3,600
35-44 = $46,714 High = $151,200 Low = $10,000
45-54 = $37,815 High = $93,600 Low = $21,600
55+     = $33,820

Average income in US $
18-24 = insignificant response
25-34 = $29,864 High = $50,000 Low = $4,200
35-44 = $71,12 High = $120,000 Low = $20,000
45-54 = $95,111 High = $158,500 Low = $20,000
55+    = insignificant response

Our complete survey results will be forwarded to all those who participated in the survey; no names will be included as this information is confidential. We will then prepare a simple booklet outlining what we’ve found in numerical results as well as charts and graphs. The booklet will be offered as a downloadable pdf online.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Society of Illustrators - Making a Difference

The Society of Illustrators will make a difference in the lives of 100 at-risk youth ages 9-13 from the most vulnerable neighborhoods in New York City this July through their Summer Illustration Art Academy. This project with the Department of Parks & Recreation Afterschool Program is supported in-part by a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

The Academy serves 25 youth per week from the following Recreation Centers: Hunt’s Point in the Bronx, J. Hood Wright in Manhattan, Sunset Park in Brooklyn and Arrow in Queens. Students learn multi-media drawing techniques from 11 prominent illustrators; use NYC cultural, historical and scientific institutions as their learning labs; and gain greater insight into the life of an illustrator.

Each student receives a backpack filled with art supplies, An Illustrated Life textbook and Academy T-shirt for easy identification while traveling to such famous NYC landmarks as the Bronx Zoo, Rubin Museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, New York Aquarium at Coney Island and New York Hall of Science. The Society provides nutritious lunches and orients the youth to the program at their Museum of American Illustration located in an 1875 Carriage House on East 63rd Street.

This year’s roster of renowned Academy instructors include: Steve Brodner, Joan Chiverton, Bil Donovan, Lynne Foster, Stephen Gardner, Joel Iskowitz, Victor Juhasz, K. Wendy Popp, Melanie Reim, Edel Rodriquez and Chris Spollen. They integrate their illustration expertise with the NYS Learning Standards in the Visual Arts to provide students with holistic outcomes-based curriculum.

For more information regarding the Summer Illustration Art Academy, contact Society Director Anelle Miller at 212-838-2560 or anelle@societyillustrators.org.

3x3 Professional Show No. 8 Winners Announced

The judge’s votes are in and tabulated and the winners are being announced below. Judging was tough as always and what’s in the show has made the cut. What:’s nice to see is among the recognizable names are new illustrators who haven’t been in the annual before. When comparing it to other recent shows you may see some of the same pieces exhibited but I think you’ll also find many new pieces you don’t find. What’s unique about the 3x3 Professional Show is that it is truly international, work was entered from over 41 countries whereas most shows keep their countries borders, we expand it past our own.

Congratulations to our Best of Show winner, Chun Sheng Tsou, United Kingdom who won the unanimous votes of our judges. And to our Gold medal winers, Doris Freigofas, Paul Garland, Alex Nabaum, Shaw Nielsen, Valeria Petrone and Pieter Van Eenoge. A full list of winners is below.

This year’s judges included Jason Treat, Design Director, The Atlantic; Mark Reddy, Art Director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, United Kingdom; Haika Hinze, Art Director, Die Zeit, Germany; DJ Stout, Graphic Designer, Pentagram and illustrators Andrew Bannecker, Emiliano Ponzi, Italy, Oliver Weiss, Germany and Andrea Innocent, Australia.

Congratulations to all.

Best of Show
Chun Sheng Tsou, Self-Promotional

Doris Freigofas, Books
Paul Garland, Self-Promotional
Alex Nabaum, Editorial
Shaw Nielsen, Advertising
Valeria Petrone, Editorial
Pieter Van Eenoge, Gallery

Danae Diaz, Animation
John Hersey, Posters
Diego Patiño, Editorial
Karsten Petrat, Editorial
Valeria Petrone, Editorial
Yeji Yun, Graphic Novels

Marie Assenat, Unpublished
Dean H. Gorissen, Books
Olaf Hajek, Books
Robert Meganck, Institutional
Martin O'Neill, Books
David Partington, Gallery
Brian Stauffer, Posters

Distinguished Merit
Peter Diamond, Self-Promotion
Gérard DuBois, Editorial
Paul Garland, Editorial
Michael Hirshon, Editorial
Alex Nabaum, Unpublished
Yuko Shimizu, Sequential
Dadu David Shin, Unpublished
Brian Stauffer*, Editorial
Daniel Zender, Self-Promotion


Carlos Araujo
Paul Blow
Chris Buzelli
Julien Chung
Gilbert Ford
Aad Goudappel
Tim Gough
Irma Gruenholz
Hideki Kessoku
René Milot*
Edel Rodriguez
Merav Salomon
Yuko Shimizu
Simon Spilsbury*
Kellie Strom
Gary Taxali
Watermark Ltd
Brad Yeo

Lincoln Agnew
Wesley Allsbrook*
Stefanie Augustine
Anna & Elana Balbusso*
Calef Brown
Joe Ciardiello
Dan Cosgrove
Shannon Freshwater
Adam Graff
Cassie Hart Kelly
Rod Hunt
Hiromichi Ito
Mike Lowery
Gémeo Luís
Ross MacDonald
Franziska Neubert
Andrea Offermann
Emiliano Ponzi
Edel Rodriguez*
Guido Scarabottolo
Gary Taxali
Stephanie Wunderlich

A. Richard Allen
Wesley Allsbrook
Scott Bakal
Jonathan Bartlett
Megan Berkheiser
Guy Billout*
Jens Bonnke
Nigel Buchanan
Marc Burckhardt
André Carrilho
Sophie Casson*
Marcos Chin*
Nishant Choksi
Julien Chung
Francesco Conchetto
Cristiana Couceiro
Timor Davara
Peter Diamond*
Penelope Dullaghan*
Byron Eggenschwiler
Chris Gash
Beppe Giacobbe*
David Gothard
Aad Goudappel
Martin Haake
John Hendrix
Lars Henkel*
Jody Hewgill
Jakob Hinrichs
Michael Hirshon
Brad Holland
Daniel Horowitz
Douglas Jones
Don Kilpatrick
Jon Krause
Gracia Lam*
Mathieu Lavoie
Catherine Lepage
Randy Lyhus
Chris Lyons
Bill Mayer*
Luc Melanson
Alex Nabaum
James O'Brien
Tim O'Brien
Yuta Onoda
Karsten Petrat
Valeria Petrone*
Emiliano Ponzi*
Jon Reinfurt
Edel Rodriguez*
Marc Rosenthal
Yuko Shimizu
Dadu David Shin*
Lasse Skarbovik
Mark Smith
Brian Stauffer*
Otto Steininger
Kellie Strom
Gary Taxali
Pieter Van Eenoge
Andrea Wan
Mick Wiggins
Phil Wrigglesworth
Brad Yeo

Editorial Spots
Beppe Giacobbe
Lasse Skarbovik

Jill Calder
Bil Donovan
Toko Ohmori

Scott Bakal
Paul Blow
Jude Buffum
Marc Burckhardt
Chris Buzelli
Douglas Fraser
Olaf Hajek*
Ryan Heshka
Jody Hewgill
Linzie Hunter
Pat Kinsella
Delphine Lebourgeois
Blake Loosli
Mari Mitsumi
Alena Skarina*
Ellen Weinstein
Graphic Novels
Roman Muradov

Studio Tipi
Danae Diaz
Gérard DuBois
Andy Gonsalves
Bill Mayer
Valeria Petrone
Jon Reinfurt
Gary Taxali
David Vogin

David Braddock, Rob Wilson,
Kelly Allen, Brett Baridon,
Chuck Johnson
Hugh D'Andrade
Christine Hale
John Hersey
IC4 Design
Greg Pizzoli
Andrew Roberts
Netalie Ron-Raz
Yuko Shimizu
Daniel Zender

Daniel Dociu*
David Ho

Ofra Amit
Jonathan Bartlett
Phil Bliss*
Brian Cairns
Andy Robert Davies
Michał Dziekan
Stephanie Graegin
Till Hafenbrak
Jody Hewgill
Michael Hirshon
Verplancke Klaas
Gracia Lam
Mathieu Lavoie
Mark McGinnis
Curt Merlo
Nata Metlukh
Shaw Nielsen
Anton Petrov
Greg Pizzoli
Maria Soledad Tirapegui
Katrin Wiehle
Sarah Wilkins

Greg Clarke

Bjoern Arthurs
Marie Assenat
Karen Barbour
Q. Cassetti
Johnny Dombrowski
Daniel Horowitz
Jesse Kuhn
Bill Mayer
Otto Steininger*
Wonil Suh
David Vogin
Steve Wacksman
Mario Zucca

A. Richard Allen
Wesley Allsbrook
Scott Bakal
Jonathan Bartlett
Megan Berkheiser
Guy Billout*
Jens Bonnke
Nigel Buchanan
Marc Burckhardt
André Carrilho
Sophie Casson*
Marcos Chin*
Nishant Choksi
Julien Chung
Francesco Conchetto
Cristiana Couceiro
Timor Davara
Peter Diamond*
Penelope Dullaghan*
Byron Eggenschwiler
Chris Gash
Beppe Giacobbe*
David Gothard
Aad Goudappel
Martin Haake
John Hendrix
Lars Henkel*
Jody Hewgill
Jakob Hinrichs
Michael Hirshon
Brad Holland
Daniel Horowitz
Douglas Jones
Don Kilpatrick
Jon Krause
Gracia Lam*
Mathieu Lavoie
Catherine Lepage
Randy Lyhus
Chris Lyons
Bill Mayer*
Luc Melanson
Alex Nabaum
James O'Brien
Tim O'Brien
Yuta Onoda
Karsten Petrat
Valeria Petrone*
Emiliano Ponzi*
Jon Reinfurt
Edel Rodriguez*
Marc Rosenthal
Yuko Shimizu
Dadu David Shin*
Lasse Skarbovik
Mark Smith
Brian Stauffer*
Otto Steininger
Kellie Strom
Gary Taxali
Pieter Van Eenoge
Andrea Wan
Mick Wiggins
Phil Wrigglesworth
Brad Yeo

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Plates with Purpose Contest - DL: June 16

UncommonGoods, an online retailer that specializes in handmade, eco-friendly and uniquely designed gifts and accessories, has partnered with City Harvest, New York’s only food rescue organization, to host a design challenge.

UncommonGoods is looking for an artist or designer to illustrate our new Plate with Purpose™ that will benefit City Harvest’s work to fight hunger in New York City. Entrants may submit their entries here until June 16.

The winning design will be announced at the end of June. The winner will receive a $1,000 award and be recognized on the UncommonGoods website. In addition, the illustrator’s work will be considered for the UncommonGoods holiday catalog, which will be released in November. City Harvest will receive $5 from the sale of each plate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Art & Poetry

Jacob Denno just sent me a copy of Popshot is a bi-annual British based art publication that champions contemporary poetry and illustration. Gently intent on hoodwinking poetry back from the clammy hands of tweed jackets and school anthologies, Popshot looks to celebrate the poetry of today and tomorrow with the whimsical arms of illustration wrapped tightly round it. As Jacob says, “We are of the thought that the future of poetry is even more exciting than the past. Each issue of Popshot contains a collection of poems written to a theme. These selected poems are individually sent out to a collection of illustrators who illustrate the poems according to their interpretation of the piece. These illustrations are then bound together with the poems to create a beautiful volume of literary and artistic goodness.”

As Jacob continues, “Many of the illustrators we've worked with are British or European but hopefully a few of the names will ring bells in New York. If illustrators wish to contribute, they simply have to send a few warm and well chosen words to Jacob at Popshot, and a link to your website/blog/tumblr/flickr to: submit@popshotpopshot.com. Simple as that!”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Foz Comes to NYC

Andrew Foster, known to his friends as Foz, is having an exhibit in Manhattan starting Friday June 3rd. Foz is the illustration subject leader in the masters program in communication design at Central St Martins in London. Drop by and say hi if you're in the neighborhood.

Metropolitan Community Church New York
Jackson Hall Art Gallery
446 West 36th Street
New York 10018
The gallery is open Monday through Friday 11am-6pm and Sunday 9am-1pm, 6pm-9pm
Private View is Thursday June 2nd from 6-9pm
The exhibit runs through August 30, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Issue 16 Hits the Newsstand

Hot off the press, Issue 16 featuring the cover art of Q. Cassetti hits the newsstands this week. Subscriber copies are in the mail so expect those to appear in your mailbox in about two weeks. The issue features the work of three superlative female illustrators including Q., Monika Aichele and Mari Mitsumi. And our Showcase section features a couple of recent graduates: Victo Ngai and Chi Birmingham along with Joyce Hesselberth, Christina Song, Wonil Suh and Lianne Harrison. Our Gallery section is going under a reevaluation so look for something new in Issue 17. You won't want to miss Gary Taxali's interview with the legendary Ralph Steadman, our look at the New York City's MTA arts program, the interview with a leading children's book publisher from Milan and the wrap-up of our CareerTalk series.

You can find 3x3 on leading newsstands or by subscription. Look for some exciting news about our next issues which will feature Shout, A. Richard Allen and Stephanie Wunderlich.

Cover illustration by Q. Cassetti

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3x3 Nuts & Bolts Conference - Early Registration

Our new site is up and running, our first email blasts have been sent out, our speakers have been lined up and our workshops scheduled so if you’re a recent graduate—up to three years out of school still qualifies—or you’ll be going into your senior year in the Fall this conference is for you. More information online.

This is our second conference, the response from our survey at the end of last year’s prompted us to do it again. One-hundred percent of the attendees said they’d recommend the conference—a totally unheard of response from something brand-new. Yes there were some suggestions on improvements and we certainly took those to heart. Our speakers will be more direct about their subject matter, we’ve added both an artist representative and a lawyer to speak specifically about those areas and we’ll speed up the studio tours process with an air-conditioned bus—last year we went by subway! And we’ve added one more social event on the first day.

We’re bringing back a few of last year’s speakers and adding others. This year’s group includes Marcos Chin, Aaron Meshon and Paul Hoppe from last year and we’re adding Yuko Shimizu, Martin Wittfooth and Matt Rota as well as Kate Kelly from Morgan-Gaynin and Sheheryar Sardar, attorney at law. Plus we’ve added morning workshops with Katherine Streeter, Melanie Reim and Justin Gabbard for those interested in creative activities plus museum tours.

Early registration is open through June 9th, register by then and the cost is $250, after that it is $325 plus you can select from our workshops and museum tours to round out the two days. Payment plans are available and we can offer options for hotels and restaurants for your trip. Last year we had graduates from Utah, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine, Maryland,Virginia, Georgia, the New York tri-state area and Canada.

The conference is July 8-9th at the Society of Illustrators New York, for more details check out our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Register early, seating is limited.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hively Named Juror for AAU Spring Show

I’ve been invited to be one of the judges in this year’s Academy of Art University Spring Show. Fellow judges include the chair and brand strategist Camilla Bravo; Matthias Mencke, Creative Director, Siegel + Gale; Mark Coleman, Director of Communications, Gensler; Tom Biederbeck, writer and editor, Felt & Wire and Sarah Moffat, Design Director, Turner Duckworth.

We’ll be judging the work of the BFA and MFA students in the School of Graphic Design. I have to say if it lives up to what I saw last year, we’ll have a very difficult time deciding on the scholarship winners. It will be a three-hour judging marathon on May 25 in San Francisco—what a way to spend a birthday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MFA Illustration as Visual Essay 2011 Thesis Show

The exhibition brings together animations, children’s books, graphic novels, figurative paintings, comic books and other narrative works by 21 students graduating from the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department at the School of Visual Arts, New York. Curated by faculty member David Sandlin, the exhibition will be on view April 29 - May 14, 2011 at the Visual Arts Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th Floor, New York City. Reception: Thursday, May 5, 6 - 8pm

The MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of 21st-century media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.

Click here for more information.

Illustration by Chi Birmingham

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Save The Date:
2nd Annual Nuts & Bolts Conference

Our second annual Nuts & Bolts Conference to be held at the Society of Illustrators on July 8-9. We had a great response from last year’s event—100-percent said they’d recommend the conference—which is especially gratifying since it was our first conference. This year we’ve added a series of workshops and our speakers will be even more focussed on giving the audience the tools they need to build a successful illustration career.

We’ve brought back a few of the speakers from last year and added a few more like Yuko Shimizu, Martin Wittforth and Matt Rota who will join Marcos Chin, Paul Hoppe and Aaron Meshon on Saturday. On Friday, Kate Kelly from Morgan-Gaynin will discuss artist reps, attorney Sheryear Sardar will discuss the specifics of setting up a business and I’ll talk about the Dos & Dont’s of entering the illustration field. Couple that with workshops by Melanie Reim, Justin Gabbard and Katherine Streeter, museum and studio tours and two social events it promises to be an exciting two days of facts and fun.

Early registration begins May 5th, if you’d like to be on our mailing list just contact us at info@3x3mag.com, Facebook or Twitter. Complete details will be coming next week on our new Nuts & Bolts website. The event is for soon-to-be graduates and recent graduates only. Sitting is limited.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AI30 Results

We just got word that our cover for Issue 14 is a winner in this year's American Illustration 30th annual awards. Congratulations to Lasse Skarbövik!

This year’s distinguished jury included Nicholas Blechman, The New York Times Book Review; Rachael Cole, Schwartz & Wade Books; Michael Ian Kaye, Mother New York; Todd Oldham, Todd Oldham Studio; D.W. Pine III, TIME; David Saylor, Scholastic Inc. and Dean Sebring, Worth.

The judges selected 316 images from more than 7,000 entries by over 1,100 illustrators, magazines, agencies, publishers and schools. These images will appear inside the book and represent the best pictures from 2010. Entries were down from last year's 8,030 entries from 1,200 entrants and 388 winners. Let's all hope for an improving economy but let's also celebrate the great work that continues to be produced even under less-than-ideal circumstances. Congratulations to all the winners.

Friday, April 15, 2011

3x3 Cover Shortlisted by Victoria & Albert Museum

We just heard from Martin Flynn, head of information services in the Word & Image Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London that our cover for Issue 16 by Paul Blow is being shortlisted for consideration to hang in their annual show.

The V&A Illustration Awards are held annually to highlight the best book and editorial illustration published in the UK in the previous year. Their aim is to encourage, recognize and celebrate high standards of creativity in the industry. The awards are free to enter and offer some of the most substantial financial prizes for illustration in the UK. The winner will receive £2,000 and a trophy. The overall winner of the V&A Illustration Awards will receive an additional £2,000.

This year’s published category judges are Bel Mooney, author and columnist; Rob Ryan, artist; Francesca Gavin, author and editor; and Robin Allison-Smith, photographer and company director. The student category judges are 2010's overall winner Sarah Carr and Frazer Hudson, academic and a previous winner of the Editorial Award.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Presentation Ceremony on 6 June 2011.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Models on Demand, 24/7

Not only can you have your movies and programs on demand, now you can have a 360-degree look at the human figure—on demand.

I got this email today from Figures and Forms, and according to their sales pitch for $100 you can have a year's worth of models to choose from. Both male and female models in a variety of body types, dressed and undressed, ethnic backgrounds and props. Each pose has nine images showing all sides with the ability to zoom in on any detail. They also have three months for $40 and monthly payments for $15.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Issue 16 On Press

We’re happy to announce that the next issue of 3x3 has gone to the printer's—a tad bit late as usual but I think you're in for a tasty surprise.

We’re marking a milestone as we begin Volume 6 of 3x3 and to celebrate that occasion we selected three stellar female artists with di-verse backgrounds and cultures.

Q. Cassetti has spent the better part of her life as a graphic designer but chose to move into the world of illustration, first exploring that prospect at Syracuse University, and then on to a master’s degree at the University of Hartford. Her design and illustration clients include Steuben Glass, the Corning Museum, Tiffany & Co., Estée Lauder, T. Rowe Price and FreeRein Wines. Her work has been honored by Communication Arts, Illustration West, American Illustration, 3x3 Magazine and the Society of Illustrators. Thanks to Ursula Roma for her insightful article.

Monika Aichele is a world traveller. Currently she is splitting her time and studio space between Berlin and Munich but has also lived in New York and Barcelona. Her work has been exhibited in those cities as well as London, Rome, Naples, Venice, Tokyo, Lisbon and in the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Her clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Random House, Princeton Architectural Press, Bloomsbury, The Walrus, Der Spiegel and Universal Music. The Society of Illustrators, Society of Publication Designers, The Art Directors Club of New York, American Illustration, Print and 3x3 have all honored her work. Mareike Dittmer provided us a close-up look at Monica.

Mari Mitsumi is still fighting rolling blackouts in Yokohama south of Tokyo as we go to press. A graduate of Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin junior college she started her career as an editor before moving into illustration thanks to the Setsu Mode Seminar, a leading illustration school in Japan. She has been a freelance illustrator since 1995 working for clients in publishing, editorial and advertising. She also exhibits her work throughout Japan and has received recognition from American Illustration, Society of Illustrators and 3x3 Magazine. Her clients include AIG, All Nippon Airways, GQ Japan, Columbia Music Entertainment and various Japanese publishers. Fellow illustrator, Hiromichi Ito provided the lovely article—he painted with prose.

This issue’s Icon is Ralph Steadman who along with Hunter S. Thompson collaborated on the birth of gonzo journalism. In addition to work for Rolling Stone, he has illustrated numerous books including Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Animal Farm, not to mention wine labels and children’s books—both as a illustrator and writer. Gary Taxali catches up with Ralph as they talk about his latest projects.

We didn’t have to look far for this issue’s illustrated campaign, walk into any subway station in New York and you’ll see the work of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts in Transit program. Guided by Sandra Bloodworth, a recognized artist herself, Sandra oversees the department that commissions both illustrators and fine artists.

We travel to Milan for our art director profile and while Paolo Canton doesn’t assume that title, his company Topipittori works with illustrators from all over the world in developing children’s and young adult books and graphic novels. Educated as an economist he and his wife, Giovanna Zoboli, split their time between Topipittori and their design consultancy Calamus.

CareerTalk continues with a focus on developing successful promotion campaigns and building a targeted prospect list.

Thanks to Olaf Becker for Monika’s studio images and Junei Sakano for Mari’s, Q. provided her own photos.

Issue 16 will be on newsstands in the US at the end of April, mid-May in the UK and Europe.

Cover illustration by Q. Cassetti

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Marshall Arisman Inducted into ADC Hall of Fame

The Art Directors Club has just announced their Hall of Fame Laureates. The newest group of laureates, representing advertising, design, filmmaking, illustration, photography and education will be inducted at a creative black-tie benefit gala on November 10, 2011 in New York with proceeds going toward ADC education programs.

ADC Hall of Fame laureates for 2011 are:
Ruth Ansel, art director, editorial design
Marshall Arisman, painter, illustrator, chairman of the MFA degree program, School of Visual Arts (Educator Award)
John C. Jay, partner, executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy
Joe Pytka, filmmaker, commercial director

In addition, Paola Antonelli, senior curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will receive the ADC Manship Medallion in special recognition of curatorial excellence.

ADC established the Hall of Fame in 1971 as a cross-disciplinary acknowledgement of the most renowned professionals in visual arts and communications. Past inductees represent a diverse group of luminaries in those fields, including Richard Avedon, Saul Bass, Leo Burnett, Matthew Carter, Jay Chiat, Walt Disney, Charles and Ray Eames, Louise Fili, Milton Glaser, Annie Leibovitz, George Nelson, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Cipe Pineles, Paul Rand, Paula Scher, Andy Warhol and others (for the complete list, please visit www.adcglobal.org/archive/hof/).

Monday, April 4, 2011

For What It's Worth 29

As I begin this issue’s editorial the world is in a huge mess, not only have we had mini-revolutions in the Middle East, the country of Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War II. Pick up the paper, log onto your favorite news source and there is little good news, even the celebrity news is mostly all bad. We see improved unemployment statistics but we know full well that people have just stopped looking for work. We see state governments struggling to keep operating and to keep from raising taxes but who knows where the cuts are going to come from and who will suffer next. It’s not any different if you’re running a state, a country, a business or a household. You can’t spend more money than you take in, and yet while we consumers tighten our belts we have little hope the government will or even can. How do we cope in the face of bad news?

The best advice I ever received was on the day I started my advertising agency in Houston. Our attorney who was drawing up the incorporation papers said to us: Don’t worry about anything other than the job at hand. Concentrate on the project you’re working on because if you worry about problems in the business you’ll become paralysed and your business will likely fail. Very good advice indeed, hard to do, but necessary. That’s not to say that we can avoid making business decisions, or that we should stick our head in the sand to avoid unpleasant circumstances. We just need to keep everything in balance.
This is the time of year I spend a lot of time worrying about our shows. Will people enter? How many entries will we get? Will the quality of work be good? I’m not alone with this concern, speak with any competition coordinator and we’re all overly-concerned because show fees make up the bulk of our annual income. Even though intuitively we all know everyone waits until the last minute to enter, it makes for many sleepless nights until the final entry is logged in. Inevitably, as each year proves, it always turns out fine.

How will the year go, how many projects will you have, how many sales will you make, are you on track with last year—or behind? Worrying about these possibilities zaps your creativity and can prevent you from getting today’s assignment done. Bear down on the task at hand. Be creative. There’s a Daniel Burnham quote that seems apropos: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with every-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.” Amen.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Book: Joe Ciardiello

Just got word that Joe Ciardiello's book, Black, White & Blues, published by Strike Three Press will be available on April 1st. The 48-page letterpress volume is being printed and hand bound by Daniel Smith & Virginia Cahill in Brooklyn. It's a limited edition of 64 signed and numbered copies so you'll want to order today from Joe's site. It sounds wonderful and I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Studio Visits: Kingston and MSU

We followed up the visit by the Emily Carr group with two other universities, Kingston, outside of London  and a group from Missouri State University. Both stretched the limits of our space and both groups were a very patient and gracious. Sorry no photos on these two groups.

The group from Kingston was led by instructor Geoffrey Grandfield whom we had met when I spoke at Kingston in late 2009. We were just one of the many stops the students had on their agenda so we did an abbreviated talk about what we do here at 3x3 and Creative Quarterly and how I see the market. I referenced my new book, Nuts & Bolts about the do's and don'ts of entering the illustration field, we gave them a copy of last year's 3x3 Illustration Directory and quite a few also purchased N&B—hey, it saves the shipping cost. Unfortunately a number of students ended up at the wrong address—thanks to the lack of GPS in our NY taxis—and just got to hear the last few minutes of the talk. We pointed them to the EFII podcast as a worthy substitute.

Our next group came in from Springfield, Missouri on their annual trip to New York City. Led by Joe O'Neill, a fellow-student, this group was a mix of graphic designers and illustrators. We treated them to pizza, they were thoughtful enough to bring us a sweet treat—which we forgot to share, sorry about that. The talk was split between what it's like running a design firm and the importance of illustration. We ended the visit with candid portfolio reviews and then we had lots of requests for Nuts & Bolts so we had to fill a lot of orders. Now we know the secret to selling books, invite people over for lunch!

We enjoy these visits, it gives us an opportunity to see what's happening out there in our colleges and universities. We'll see if we can get more chairs next time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For What It's Worth 28

My recent Escape from Illustration Island podcast seems to have stirred up some discussion especially about web sites. It’s timely since this is one of the two times a year that I’m researching illustrators; my go-to site is illustrationmundo.com because it has the best selection of international illustrators featured. And I’ll also checkout the folioplanet.com site as well as responding to mailers, emails and postcards. 

In looking at illustrator sites no two are alike and I’m certainly not advocating that they all look alike but you should look at not on what other illustrators are doing but what designers and photographers are doing. This is what the audience is most familiar with. There is way too much fluff on an illustrator’s site, too many life drawings, too much confusion, too many mediocre images, complex loading, cumbersome navigation so yes if it were up to me I’d makeover the bulk of the sites out there and go to a format with simple thumbnails, easy navigation and large images just so an art director can easily view a site.

If illustration was held in higher esteem you could (any illustrator could) say and do anything you wanted to, but unfortunately illustrators aren’t well-respected...yet. So you have the play the game by their rules, violating them makes you look less professional and therefore less worthy of making the money you rightly deserve. First impressions are everything, when illustrators make their sites difficult it really says they themselves are difficult and are not up to meeting an ADs expectations. They have high expectations but want to pay you peanuts—there is a reason behind that.

I’m trying in every way possible to build up the respect an AD should have for an illustrator. When you are as busy as most art directors are you just don’t have the time to spend more than a few seconds to decide if you want to see more of an artist’s work. It doesn’t take me more than a couple of clicks to determine if I want to stay on the site and bookmark it. And I’m not going to your About page, your Links page, your blog or even your shop—my mindset is to find new illustrators. The image is king. And believe me I spend more time on a site than the typical art director will. When I consider the volume of illustrators I’m personally researching at the moment—there are twelve illustrators per page and 593 pages on illustrationmundo.com, that’s over 7,000 illustrators. I’m going to this site because I’m doing a broad search of the market but that’s much too big of a job for a busy art director or even an art buyer. Getting an art director to even know your site exists is even more of a challenge. Something has to prompt an art director to find you—you can’t just put up a site and do nothing.

Web site design is certainly just one of the issues but not even with one template could we do anything about showing mediocre work or showing everything the artist has ever done—our job is not to overwhelm an art director and we should only show our very best work. And I disagree with comments that suggest an illustrator has to show an AD that you can draw an apple for them to believe you can. Any really good art director can determine your talent base and how you could be best utilized. Judge your sites harshly, don’t show any mediocre work—it’s no different than in the old days of the hardcase portfolio. All the work has to be at one level, you're judged by the weakest piece in your book as that’s the least an art director will expect; they’re hoping for your best work but if your weakest piece is so distant from your best you’re just not going to get the job. Art directors don’t want to take the risk that you don’t deliver your best.

Fees are never going to go up if illustrators are considered the “cheap alternative”, illustrators do much more work than any photographer out there and get paid pennies on the dollar. People are spending $10,000 on a photographer and a $1000 on an illustrator—it's totally backwards. But illustrators have to earn an art director’s trust and respect; the entire industry has to do a much better job and it all starts with their web site. I’m sorry to say but there are too many web sites I’m seeing over the past few days that take illustration down, not up.

You just need to present your best work in the fastest, simplest way possible. It’s not important that your site has bells and whistles so your site stands out. Being different doesn’t make you good, being good makes you different.

Monday, February 28, 2011

EFII Podcast - Episode 72

Thomas James, Editor of Escape from Illustration Island interviewed me for his podcast earlier this month. It was a thoroughly painless process over Skype and we covered a lot of ground including my thoughts on promotion, web sites, competitions and as Thomas says,"the virtues of running an effective creative business." Thanks Thomas for the interview.