Thursday, September 27, 2012

Open Studio Fridays: Portfolio Reviews

We'll be opening our studio in Brooklyn for complimentary portfolio reviews on Friday afternoons between 2pm to 5pm. Each session will be a maximum of 30 minutes. Our portfolio reviews are open to all illustrators, you can be a college student, recent graduate or been in the field for years, we're happy to give you honest feedback on your book.
Portfolio reviews will be conducted by the founder, editor and design director of 3x3 Magazine, Charles Hively.  Our studio is located 45-minutes from midtown Manhattan on the F or G line. You'll receive complete directions once you've signed up.

About Charles Hively 
Charles started his career as an illustrator, has founded two award-winning advertising agencies and has worked for major international advertising agencies during his illustrious career. During his career he has commissioned both illustrators and photographers for local, regional and national campaigns. As founder, editor and design director of 3x3 Magazine he is constantly engaged with the world of contemporary illustration and combined with his experience as an former art director and creative director he provides a unique perspective on the field than few can match. He has lectured at important industry events and universities here in the US as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany and has taught senior-level graphic design courses at Parsons The New School for Design. In addition, he is the author of Nuts & Bolts: A Blueprint for a Successful Illustration Career and is currently working on his second book.

Set an appointment

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Redesigned Magazine Premieres

Subscriber Copy

Newsstand Version

Hot off the press, we just received the new issue of 3x3 Magazine, Issue 19 from our printer in Canada. After a three-month long redesign, we’re happy and excited to present our new issue.

It was back in July 2003 that the first design of 3x3 took place in a cramped bedroom with a 14-inch monitor, three months later the first issue rolled off the press in Nice. Albeit certain tweaks, the magazine design has remained constant since those very first days. We’ve come a long way since 2003, in equipment—a better set of Macs and bigger monitors—a bit more room though still a live/work space and support from my partner Sarah Munt and a dedicated group of freelance writers and photographers. But reaching our tenth year called for reflection on where we’ve been and where we’d like to go which resulted in changes.

There is no longer a premium subscription.
There is no longer a separate annual.
There is no longer a student discount.

All subscribers receive the annual, it’s a part of the magazine now.
All current subscribers will receive a digital version of the complete annual, going forward this will be offered as an option.
We’ll offer print and digital subscriptions, our digital subscriptions are a flat $27.99 for all countries. And perfect for students worldwide.

Our redesign includes a new size and our juried show results are within each of our three issues.

The 3x3 ProShow winners are in this issue, Issue 20 will include the Student Show winners and Issue 21 the winners of our Children's Show.

Inside the redesign

A smaller size so our newsstand copies will receive front row positioning rather than our current taller magazine which goes on the back row.

A larger format for our annual show winners so that we give more prominence to both single and series images.

And more pages, jumping from our standard 86-pages to 240-pages to justify our cover price of $22—comparable to the CA Illustration Annual at $24. And just $6 more than what we were charging.

We’ve dropped our Gallery section and modified and renamed our Showcase section. Our new Spotlight section will feature six illustrators and each spread shows multiple images with credits as well as answers to our standard 20 questions.

We’ve changed the way we are profiling illustrators especially with the introduction spread. There’s now a large photo of the illustrator opposite an original illustration incorporating their individual article number. All features will have titles and our design of the credits will be modified to work better with tablets and mobile devices.

In addition we’ll ask each illustrator for names of art directors, editors or designers they’ve worked with so we may get direct quotes about why they like working with them and incorporate those into the layout.

Each of our new issues will have a theme, this issue we look at whimsical illustrators, in our next issue we look at the new generation of illustrators and our third issue will focus on children’s books.

Why the change?

As we head into our tenth year we’re reflecting where we’ve been and where we’d like to go. Unlike most magazines we do not make our money from advertising, we are able to produce and publish 3x3 with a combination of newsstand sales, subscriptions and show entries.

What we see on the newsstand is that our annuals surpass our magazine sales counter to what we’d like to see as our audience of art directors and art buyers should be exposed to more of the background of how illustrators work. By combining our magazine and shows we hope to entice more readership for each of our magazines giving our audience a mix of features and award winners.

We’re working on a new web site and an app for our digital subscribers now.

We hope you will continue to support our efforts here at 3x3, we’re excited with our new direction and expect only good things to happen.

If you have any questions please let me know, And let me hear your comments on our new direction.

Want to take a look? Subscribe and save 20% off the cover price. And 58% if you choose our digital version.

Cover image by Aaron Meshon. Badge design on the newsstand issues by Sarah Munt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Studio Visits

We’ve been entertaining a few illustrators lately, something we like to do but haven’t had the time to do for awhile.

Our first visitor was Jason Raish who was on his way to live in France. Jason is a young illustrator who was raised in upstate New York but since leaving school has lived in China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain and now France. It was interesting to get his take on his adventures, how he adapted to each new country and new language—he prepares for each trip by boning up on Pimsleur tapes, except of course for his sojourn in the UK. Just goes to show that it’s easy to live almost anywhere and get work from everywhere. His pal, Daniel Fishel joined him for our evening cocktail hour. Sorry we didn’t take any photos of his visit, but as you can see he’s enjoying his stay in Paris.

Our next visitor was Christian Gralingen, an artist that I’ve been following for sometime. Based in Berlin, Christian has been working in a design studio for the past two years but will be returning to illustration full-time starting this fall. Christian’s work is influenced heavily by his father's livelihood—his dad was an engineer so the books in the library were full of diagrams which you’ll see Christian elaborating on in his art. He takes images from these sources and layers them collage-style to form new images that are both intricate and involving. We look forward to seeing what Christian has coming up later this year.

We’d like to get back to our artist lunches which we’ve had in the past as it’s a more intimate gathering where we get to know more about each artist rather than meeting them at crowded industry functions.

Hively Speaks at MECA

Being on vacation in Maine has its perks, certainly lobster and more lobster and tons of seafood was there for the taking but towards the end of the trip I had an added treat to speak at the Maine College of Art in Portalnd. Thanks to Jamie Hogan for setting this up and the wonderful poster and for Scott Nash, the new department chair and Jamie for making it all possible.

The talk was a shortened version of my lecture at our annual Nuts & Bolts Conference and the bulk was taken from a chapter in my book, Nuts & Bolts.

It’s always good to get in front of students as they’re entering their senior year or those who have just graduated. There is so little time to cover the basics of being an illustrator in any classroom, and what I’ve found is that the focus is so much on each assignment and creating a singular voice that it leaves little time to think about what it’s going to be like once they’re out of school. As those who’ve heard me speak will say, I don’t sugar-coat anything but at the same time it’s not meant to discourage anyone, it’s to better prepare them before or right after graduation.

Too many make too many mistakes entering the field of illustration which contributes to the low number who actually continue in the profession. One in eighty graduates are still practicing illustrators two years after graduation and an even smaller percentage are actually making a living as an illustrator. Too often they neglect the simple acts of promotion whether it’s their web site, their portfolio or even something as simple as their email address. It all leads to fewer young illustrators making it once outside the classroom. Our Conference, book and talks are all geared towards changing the dynamics, to offer more counsel in what it takes to make it in the real world.

Illustrators are not alone in this, graduates of most programs have no clue about working in their chosen field but unlike other professions, illustrators are on their own right out of school. They are charged with being business owners as there are only a fraction of jobs where they might land in what might be called a safe harbour. Design graduates go to work for design firms, ad agencies or the corporate environment, illustrators don’t have that luxury. Very few designers start a business right out of school, all illustrators do. It’s not the fault of the educational system necessarily for the ill-preparation of its graduates but it is disappointing to see such talented artists graduate and then disappear. I’d like to change that as much as I can.

Nuts & Bolts: A Blueprint for a Successful Illustration Career is available online for $10 plus shipping.