Wednesday, December 4, 2013

3x3 3-Day Holiday Sale - Save Up to 50%

Now is the time to save up to half-off on selected 3x3 books, annuals and magazines. A perfect time to add to your collection—and a chance to grab our print editions before they become digital-only. But hurry, the sale ends midnight Friday. To make it extra-special, we’re only promoting this offer to our followers on the blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Preface for Beppe Giacobbe's New Book

Just got the low-res pdf of Beppe Giacobbe’s new monograph published by Lazy Dog Press in Milan and excited to see my preface in Italian. No, I don’t speak Italian but thanks to the editor Debbie Bibo she had my words translated.

I was honored to have been asked to write something about Beppe’s work which I’ve admired for a long time. And enjoyed meeting him when he came to the studio for lunch some years ago.

Art direction was by Massimo Pitis with design and layout by Massimo with Federica Marziale, translations by Alta L. Price, copyediting by Laura Maggioni and printing by Tipolitografia Campisi, Venice, Italy.

Available direct from Lazy Dog

3x3 Illustration Directory Going to Press

We’re putting the finishing touches on the 2014 3x3 Illustration Directory. Chock full of wonderful illustrations in thirteen separate categories from illustrators all over the world. Sent exclusively to art buyers and art directors in the United States, this complimentary Directory is gaining in popularity. Art directors like it for the curated artwork, the portable size and the simple one-image-per-page design. Art buyers like the selection and variety of illustrators, the categories and the new app. If you’re a working art director you may sign up to receive your free copy coming out at the first of the year.

Illustrators like it for many of the same reasons and appreciate the affordability. Artists for the Directory are selected from entrants in our three shows; we also do special invites to new artists we’ve seen in print or online.

Each year we select an image from the Directory to feature on the cover, this year it’s an image from Belgian illustrator, Klaas Verplancke.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Issue 22 on Newsstands Now

Issue 22 is on newsstands now. Grab your issue before they sell out as it’s our final magazine issue—when they’re gone they’re gone. Of course we’ll always have digital copies but once the print issue is sold out there aren’t any more. If you can’t find the issue on the newsstand you can certainly order one in our shop. Demand has been high but there are still a limited number of copies for sale.

In this final issue we will be featuring Aad Goudappel, Harry Campbell and Beppe Giacobbe as our main featured artists and our Spotlight section will be featuring the conceptual artists Paul Garland, Jon Krause, Jon Reinfurt, Anthony Tremmaglia, Jim Tsinganos and James Yang. Our profile is illustrator, designer and art director Matt Dorfman from The New York Times Op-Ed and our Icon is David Suter who was a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed pages. And our final CareerTalk speaks to the issue of artist's rights. And as a special feature we’ll reproduce the gold medal winners of the 2013 ProShow.

Writers in this issue include Klaas Verplancke, Tim O'Brien, Valeria Petrone and our staff writer Anna Jane Grossman. A special thank you to both Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin who so generously produced our CareerTalk features. Thanks also to Aad for the striking cover.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

3x3 Picture Book Show Winners Announced

We’re pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Picture Book Show. Once again we had entries from all over the globe with four out of seven medalists from outside the United States.
¶ Just to get in the show entrants must receive a majority of votes from our five judges, we originally had six judges but out Australian judge was on a sabbatical and couldn't be reached by email for our judging. 
¶ To receive a medal an entry must receive at five judge’s votes. Medals are determined by the number of judges who select a particular piece as their favorite, the more judges who select a particular piece the higher the medal i.e. Best of Show, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Judges were not permitted to vote for their own work. 
¶ Winners will appear in our first 3x3 hardcover annual coming out later this year. A softcover version of the annual will appear on newsstands worldwide, another example on how 3x3 continues to promote the art of illustration.

Best of Show -  Doron Sohari, Israel
Gold - Marion Arbona, Canada
Silver -  Doug Salati 
Bronze - 
Maria Carluccio
Nina Cuneo, Italy
T. Lively Fluharty 
Klaas Verplancke, Belgium

Ann Bobco, Executive Art Director, Atheneum Books for Young Readers a part of Simon & Schuster
Rachael Cole, Art Director, Schwartz &Wade
Belén Freijeiro, Publisher, OQO Books, Spain
Judith Drews, Illustrator, Germany
Julien Chung, Illustrator, Canada

Thank you to our judges. Congratulations to all our winners:

Best of Show 
Doron Sohari, Childrens Book Unpublished

Marion Arbona, Children’s Illustration Unpublished

Doug Salati, Childrens Book Unpublished

Maria Carluccio, Childrens Book Unpublished
Nina Cuneo, Childrens Illustration Unpublished
T. Lively Fluharty, Childrens Book Published
Klaas Verplancke, Childrens Book Published

Distinguished Merit 
Marion Arbona, Childrens Illustration Published
Aljoscha Blau, Childrens Book Published
Valeria Petrone, Editorial
Jack Wang and Holman Wang, Childrens Book Published

Rafael Alvarez, Childrens Illustration Published
Marion Arbona, Childrens Illustration Unpublished
Valeria Docampo, Childrens Book Published
Audrey Niffenegger, Young Adult
Kristina Brasseler, Childrens Book Published
Julien Castanié, Childrens Book Unpublished
Hudson Christie, Childrens Book Unpublished
Jamey Christoph, Childrens Book Published
Christopher Corr, Childrens Book Published
Teresa Cortez, Childrens Book Published
Owen Davey, Childrens Book Published
Byron Eggenschwiler, Educational
Louise French, Childrens Book Unpublished
Susan Gal, Childrens Illustration Unpublished*
Sara Ogilvie, Childrens Illustration Published
Aya Gordon-Noy, Childrens Book Published
Aad Goudappel, Childrens Book Unpublished
Stephanie Graegin, Childrens Book Published
Lianne Harrison, Book Covers 
Tom Jellett, Book Covers 
Tom Jellett, Childrens Book Published
Angela Keoghan, Editorial
Alistar Khabuliani, Young Adult
Vitali Konstantinov, Childrens Book Published
Dahye Lee, Childrens Book Unpublished
Steven Lenton, Childrens Book Published
So Yeon Lim, Editorial
Simone Massoni, Childrens Book Published
Scott Nash, Young Adult
Robert Neubecker, Childrens Book Published
Robert Neubecker, Book Covers 
Andrea Offermann, Book Covers 
Hsinping Pan, Book Covers 
Valeria Petrone, Childrens Illustration Published
Valeria Petrone, Miscellaneous
Valeria Petrone, Childrens Book Published
Valeria Petrone, Editorial
David Pintor, Miscellaneous
Marco Piunti, Childrens Illustration Unpublished
Natalie Pudalov, Childrens Book Published
Anna Raff, Childrens Book Published
Kelly Murphy, Childrens Book Published
Zack Rock, Childrens Book Unpublished
Maria Isabel Roxas, Miscellaneous
Doug Salati, Childrens Illustration Unpublished
Maral Sassouni, Childrens Book Unpublished
Eunhye Seo, Childrens Illustration Unpublished
Natalie Waksman Shenker, Childrens Book Published
Studio Tipi, Editorial
Yoko Tanaka, Childrens Illustration Published
Francois Thisdale, Childrens Book Unpublished
Niv Tishbi, Childrens Book Unpublished
Emma Vakarélova, Book Covers 
Alicia Varela, Childrens Book Published
João Vaz de Carvalho, Children's Book Published*
Estrella Vega, Educational
Constanze Von Kitzing, Childrens Illustration Published
Katrin Wiehle, Childrens Book Published
Mike Wimmer, Childrens Book Published
Stephanie Wunderlich, Childrens Illustration Published
Chia-Chi Yu, Young Adult
Pamela Zagarenski, Childrens Book Published
Debra Ziss, Childrens Book Unpublished

* denotes multiple pieces in category

Cover Illustration for digital 3x3 Picture Book Annual, Simone Massoni

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chris Van Allsburg to be Honored
by the 2013 Carle Honors

In the Artist category, The Carle will recognize Chris Van Allsburg, the groundbreaking artist and author and winner of two Caldecott Medals for Jumanji and The Polar Express.

Other honorees include Phyllis Fogelman Baker, influential editor and publisher; Lynda Johnson Robb and Carol Rasco, Reading is Fundamental and Barbara Bader, author of American Picturebooks from Noah’s Ark to The Beast Within.

The Carle Honors is a critical fundraiser for the The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, helping to support the Museum’s mission of inspiring of love of art and reading through picture books.

For ticket and sponsorship information, including the ability to sponsor an educator to attend the gala, please contact Rebecca Miller Goggins, Director of Development at or 413-658-1118.

The 2013 Carle Honors
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Guastavino’s,  New York City

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Laura Tolar Joins Us

We’re pleased to announce a new addition to our virtual studio, Laura Tolar. Laura heads up her own design firm and will be helping us out with future publications of 3x3. In fact she completed the pre-press work on Issue 22 which went to press last week.

“Laura and I go back a long way, she was my right-hand person at my agency down in Houston for a number of years and we’ve kept in contact since my move to New York. She is a super-detailed individual with a great deal of experience and we’re happy she can help us out as we move forward.”

Thanks to today’s technology we’re able to work in two different cities on the same project.

Welcome aboard Laura!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Final Issue

As we start our eleventh year we are sending the final issue of 3x3 Magazine to press. Eleven years ago today the idea of 3x3 was born in a bedroom in Queens. In the past ten years we’ve produced twenty-two issues featuring sixty-six illustrators as well as 356 illustrators from around the globe in our gallery, showcase and spotlight sections. We’ve profiled leading art directors who favor illustration. We’ve hearlded many of the icons of illustration. We’ve tried to feature only the best of the best. But after ten years, we must pause and ask one question. Are there better ways to fulfill our mission? I feel the time has come to step back, suspend publication of our magazine and explore new directions.

Perhaps too at this stage in my life I hear the ticking clock grow louder There are projects lying dormant on my desk. Books I want to write, monographs to edit and design, podcasts to produce, apps to develop and design projects in the idea-stage that deserve to see fruition.

Without a doubt we will continue to be an active voice in promoting the very best of illustration. Our juried Annual will remain visible on newsstands across the globe. Our site will continue to offer both back issues, blogs, books and annuals and soon new offerings.

We invite you to continue the journey with us. And see where the next ten years takes us. Change is good.

In this final issue we will be featuring Aad Goudappel, Harry Campbell and Beppe Giacobbe as our main featured artists and our Spotlight section will be featuring the conceptual artists Paul Garland, Jon Krause, Jon Reinfurt, Anthony Tremmaglia, Jim Tsinganos and James Yang. Our profile is illustrator, designer and art director Matt Dorfman from The New York Times Op-Ed and our Icon is David Suter who was a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed pages. And our final CareerTalk speaks to the issue of artist's rights. And as a special feature we’ll reproduce the gold medal winners of the 2013 ProShow.

In closing, I’d like to thank all of you who have supported 3x3 Magazine throughout the years and I hope you will continue to support our efforts going forward.

To make sure you get a copy of our final print issue, order today. To order go here. Some back issues are still available as print editions, all issues are available as pdfs and soon apps.

Cover illustration by Aad Goudappel

Saturday, June 22, 2013

3x3 Student Show No 10 Winners Announced

More schools. More entries. More countries. Our international student show continues to grow each year. This year entries came in from eighteen countries and ninety-three colleges, universities and art schools. It’s exciting to see work from all over the world and I’m sure this won't be the last time we see these artists.

Our judges were extremely tough this year, while many wonderful entries came just shy of getting into the show, for the first time we have no Best of Show winner and fewer medals. The judges were looking for work that was truly unique and timely—work that you’d expect from the next generation of illustrators. There was no quota given so it was up to the judges to determine how many pieces would get into the show. All judging was done digitally so there were no undue influences and judges were not allowed to vote for their student’s work.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Monica Garwood, California College of the Arts
Lisa Perrin, Maryland Institute College of Art

Boyoun Kim, School of Visual Arts

Ping Hua Chou*, Academy of Art University

Distinguished Merit
Kari Brooks, Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta
Ping Hua Chou, Academy of Art University
Tal Granot, Bezalel Academy for Art and Design
Niv Tishbi, Universität der Künste Berlin
Ulrike Zöllner, University of Art Berlin

Liisa Aaltio, OCAD University
Emma Ahlqvist, Edinburgh College of Art
Justinas Alisauskas, Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Matthew Burrows*, School of Visual Arts
Reina Castellanos*, Savannah College of Art and Design
Jun Cen, Maryland Institute College of Art
Ziyue Chen, Ringling College of Art and Design
Nomi Chi, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Ryan Cho*, Art Center College of Design
Boyeon Choi, School of Visual Arts
Ping Hua Chou*, Academy of Art University
Hye Jin Chung, School of Visual Arts
Min Gyo Chung*, OCAD University
Katie Davis, Parsons the New School for Design
Kristen Davis, Parsons the New School for Design
Deshi Deng, Ringling College of Art and Design
Trudi Esberger, Anglia Ruskin University
Jackie Ferrentino, Rhode Island School of Design
Linnea Gad, Parsons the New School for Design
Caleb Heisey, Tyler School of Art
Rebecca Hendin, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
Lauren Hess, Rhode Island School of Design
Pablo Iglesias, Sheridan College
Masuko Jo, Parsons the New School for Design
Keren Katz, School of Visual Arts
Nuri Keli, Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta
Boyoun Kim*, School of Visual Arts
Lori Klopp, Syracuse University
Chi Kuan Christina Kong, OCAD University
Jay Lang, OCAD University
Tina Le, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Leftstudio, Savannah College of Art and Design
Coney Leung, Art Center College of Design
Rachel Levit, Parsons the New School for Design
Rujun Liu, Rhode Island School of Design
Jeff Lowry, The University of Arizona
Ashley Mackenzie, OCAD University
Evan Mazellan, Indiana Wesleyan University
Meredith Miotke, College for Creative Studies
Armineh Moghadasi, Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta
Nick Nazzaro, The Art Institute of Boston
Hugh O'Connor, Dublin Institute of Technology
Suharu Ogawa, OCAD University
Monica Ramos, Parsons the New School for Design
Ramona Ring, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences 
Jonny Ruzzo, School of Visual Arts
Cun Shi, School of Visual Arts
Meghann Stephenson, Parsons the New School for Design
Janet Sung, Parsons the New School for Design
Ayumi Takahashi*, Art Center College of Design
Cyndi Waldron, Utah Valley University
Liz Wikstrom, Rhode Island School of Design
Ji Hyun Yu*, University of Applied Sciences Mainz
Ai Zhang, Savannah College of Art & Design

* Denotes more than one entry

Cover illustration for the digital Student Show Annual by Lisa Perrin, MICA

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Open Call to Artists & Designers - Deadline July 8th

Illustrator David Ercolini’s fiance contacted me about a new program open to New York-area artists and designers. Based on the model of Community Supported Agriculture where shareholders invest in a local farm and receive a monthly share of fruits and vegetables, Brooklyn Community Supported Art + Design (CSA+D) is a subscription service for locally-produced art and design and is part of a national movement to provide a new marketplace for local artists and to make contemporary art accessible and affordable.

How it works 
Selected artists or designers receive a $3,000 commission to create 50 pieces, which can be part of an edition ex: a series of etchings in an edition of 50 signed prints or a photograph in an edition of 50 prints, or 50 signed serigraphs. Or you may choose to provide unique, individual works.

CSA+D is looking for a diverse range of work across disciplines—including printmaking, photography, collage, table-top, book art, ceramics, textiles, t-shirt designs, drawings, paintings, calendars and more. Each participating artist or designer will receive a $3,000 commission for the edition they create and there is no fee to apply. Artists are not required to reside in Brooklyn as long as they can deliver work to a specific Brooklyn location on the required date. Commissions will be paid to artists/designers upon delivery of the work to CSA+D.

Interested collectors will be able to purchase a share (or half share) from CSA+D, the shares are $500 for 6 pieces and $250 for 3 pieces.

The Jury
Jurors selecting the artists and designers include Charles Hively, Kathleen Massara and Susan Walsh. Charles Hively is the founder of 3x3, The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. Prior to founding 3x3 Hively was co-publisher at Graphis magazine, founder and creative director of two award-winning advertising and design firms and was vice-president and creative director of two major national advertising agencies. Hively has a degree in fine art and began his career as an illustrator. Kathleen Massara is the Huffington Post’s Arts & Culture editor and the former literary editor of She has written for N+1, Popular Science, The Sunday Times and other publications. Sue Walsh is the Senior Designer at Milton Glaser Incorporated and also operates an independent design consultancy. Before landing at Milton Glaser Incorporated, she worked at The New York Times and The Museum of Modern Art.

For questions regarding the program or application process contact Dianne Debicella or Jill Peterson at, to apply click here.

Deadline: July 8th

Friday, June 14, 2013

Coming Attraction: New Yorker Cartoonist Movie

VERY SEMI-SERIOUS is an offbeat meditation on humor, art and the genius of the single panel. The film takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the New Yorker and introduces the cartooning legends and hopefuls who create the iconic cartoons that have inspired, baffled—and occasionally pissed off—all of us for decades.

The film is now in production, with a target release date of Winter 2014. See the trailer here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

3x3 ProShow Winners Announced

I’ve never been prouder than looking at the results of this year’s show. What a selection of outstanding work from all over the world. Our Best of Show winner is from the United Kingdom. Of the seven gold medals, five came from outside the United States. Of our seven Silver medals, six are from overseas and a little more than half our Bronze medals were from outside the United States. My dream has always been to be the only true international show for illustration. While we’re based in the US our shows receive entries from all over the world, we don’t claim to be an American show, our claim is to be an international show. This year proves it.

As always our judges had a difficult time selecting all our winners. In a lot of cases, as in the past, many entries were just one vote shy of getting into the show. With the addition of several new categories and the quality of entries, we have more than double the number of accepted entries making this our largest show ever. For a complete list of all the winners go online to our web site.

Congratulations to all our winners!

Best of Show
Chris Thornley at Raid71, Sequential - United Kingdom

André Carrilho, Comics/Cartoons - Portugal
André da Loba, Animation - USA
Leonardo Espinosa, Editorial-Conceptual - USA
Alessandro Gottardo, Advertising - Italy
Aad Goudappel, Annual Reports - The Netherlands
Yann Legendre, Books - France
Dietmar Reinhard, Books - Germany

Ella Cohen, Posters - Israel
Ella Cohen, Editorial-Travel - Israel
Asaf Hanuka, Comics/Cartoons - Israel
Bill Mayer, Editorial-Conceptual - USA
Emiliano Ponzi, Covers - Italy
Emiliano Ponzi, Editorial-Conceptual - Italy
Lucinda Schreiber, Animation - Australia

Harry Campbell, Unpublished - USA
Bojana Dimitrovski, Fashion - Serbia
João Fazenda, Books - Portugal
Aad Goudappel, Posters - The Netherlands
Keith Negley, Editorial-Conceptual - USA
Keith Negley, Unpublished - USA
Hsinping Pan, Covers - USA
Emiliano Ponzi, Editorial-Travel - Italy
Steve Simpson, Advertising - Ireland

We’re working on the ProShow annual now and also designing the medals. More news to follow.

3x3 Illustration Annual No. 10 cover - Illustration by René Milot - Canada

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For What It's Worth 34

Your postcard mailings aren’t working; all the money you’re spending on mailing lists, printing and postage is a waste of money. You may think by sending an excellent drawing that you’re grabbing the attention of art directors. You’re not. For the most part they come in, go in a stack of other mail and are headed for the trash within seconds of arriving. I’m speaking from personal experience, over thirty years of experience of receiving postcard mailings from illustrators. Of the six postcards I received today, I chucked all but one.

It came as no surprise when I looked over the judging sheets of the Self-Promotion category in our current 3x3 ProShow, by and large illustrators voted for pieces that the art directors didn’t. Our illustrator judges appreciated the art; our art director judges missed the message. That’s the biggest problem with postcards from illustrators, there is no message. Just imagine an art director getting your mailing, what do you want their response to be? I can tell you what you don’t want the reaction to be: "WTF, Huh, So-What or Why? Yet time after time that’s exactly what my reaction is. You must go beyond just creating a wonderful piece of art. As art directors we expect you to be able to draw—why else would you call yourself an illustrator—but what we want you to do is think. Think about who is getting your mailing, think about the image you choose, the language you put on the back and even how you address the postcard. We all know you’re not just sending out one post card, you’re sending out hundreds or more so we don’t appreciate receiving something that isn’t even personalized. So you’ve lost us even before we turn the card over to see the image. Think you’re getting around this by just posting on social media? Read on.

Say you’ve done a better job addressing your card, now how are you choosing your image? Are you choosing one that is relevant to my needs? Or just your favorite image? I know you’ve been told to show work you’re interested in doing in a style you’re comfortable with but the science of promotion goes way deeper than that. You are the image-maker, what you show is a reflection of you, so if it’s a confusing image then I suspect you're not a together illustrator. If you’re sending me images of food and I’m an art director of a science publication then there is a total disconnect. And a lost opportunity. Keep in mind I’m not only judging your style—we know that’s subjective—I’m judging your content and context. Yet this happens over and over again, the wrong image sent to the wrong audience and then you wonder why nobody takes notice. You think you’ll avoid the postcard route and post illustrations simply to show something new. The sharing thing isn’t working for over 80-percent of the art directors out there. The majority are still relying on postcards to find new illustrators, not social media.

It’s criminal how little you’re told about how to promote yourself, for most of you it’s just trial and error, that is if you’re even promoting yourself. Or you could be that rare person that hit the big time right off the bat, no need to promote as one job leads to another. But unless you’re that person you’re hurting yourself more than you’re helping yourself every time you mail a postcard. Too many well-versed illustrators are not getting the work they deserve simply by their actions of poor self-promotion.

An advertiser on television has 30-seconds to “sell” you on their product, you have a millisecond. The choices we art directors make are instantaneous. Just like our judges, it’s either “In” or “Out”. You may be saying, “I did get a job off a postcard or my blog or my email or my posting.” Yes, that is possible but look at all the opportunities that are out there and the masses of art directors you’ve not even touched, either physically or emotionally. There is an untapped market out there, one that needs to be convinced to use illustration.

So while I applaud you who are promoting yourself, take care on how, when and what you promote. There is a science to it.

All of this holds true whether or not I were holding a self-promotion workshop but it’s an even better reason to attend. I spent $2,500, not including hotel reservations or airfare, to attend a one-day workshop where I learned just who I should be directing my energies towards, which prospects were the easiest to persuade and how to approach them. The event changed the way I looked at promotion. For a much smaller fee you can discover the science of it all too. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Scientific Approach to Self-Promotion
Six-Week Workshop

Self-promotion is nothing new, everyone knows they must promote their work but a rare few approach it in a scientific manner. I have always known the importance of promotion but not until I attended a workshop years ago in Washington DC did I realize there was a better approach than just sending out postcards and hoping for the best.

Knowing who you are is the first cardinal rule of self-promotion. While we all think we know ourselves it wasn’t until this workshop that I realized what my core strength was. I also learned that the world is divided into four quadrants, knowing which quadrant we’re in let’s us see not only who we are but also who our prime prospects are. And I learned that while we all need to get work from all four quadrants, it’s much easier getting work from the quadrant we’re in. Knowing that is a valuable first step that no art school we know of talks about.

I want to share what I’ve learned so I’ve put together a six-week workshop where we’ll delve more deeply into the scientific approach to self-promotion. The workshop will include lectures, critiques and assignments that will help you prepare new materials for promoting your work. Promoting yourself successfully might be just as simple as what you put in the subject line of an email. Or what image you select. Or how you address the postcard. There is a method to the madness of promotion.

The workshop is open to all illustrators, at all levels, but seating is limited as the workshop is being held at our live/work space in Brooklyn. That DC conference was $2,500 plus airfare and hotel; ours is much more affordable.

To learn more or to register, click here.

3x3 Self-Promotion Workshop
Saturdays, 10 to Noon
June 22 to July 27th

Seating is limited. Payment plans are available.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Crit of a Crit

We stumbled across a piece on Steven Mardo’s blog about his portfolio review here at 3x3 and asked his permission to reprint it:

My critique with Mr. Charles Hively of 3x3 Magazine

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having a small crit session with Art Director/Designer Charles Hively of 3x3 magazine. He gave me some amazing words of wisdom and made me re-think my direction as an artist/illustrator. If you don’t know who he is check out this interview from Illustration Age or 3x3 magazine.

When I arrived his gracious partner Sarah invited me in and asked if I needed anything. It was a nice cozy little office in Brooklyn, and it made me feel more relaxed than I thought I’d have been. Mr. Hively came over shook my hand and asked about me, my background and what kind of art and artists I liked. I told him I loved comics as a kid and became more interested in illustration and artists like Arthur Rackham, Winsor McCay and modern illustrators like Tomer Hanuka and James Jean as I had gotten older and attended college. He then proceeded to look over my portfolio.

Now I won’t sugar coat this, Mr. Hively was a tough crit. But, he was genuine and real with what the industry wants to see. I have had some harsh crits in my day so I didn’t take any offense to his words and looked at them as ways to improve. Also, I went in to the critique with a sense of honesty about my own work (this is key for any illustrator or artist in general). What he told me was there was nothing that wowed him and that I had to go that extra mile in some of my pieces. Mr. Hively also told me to stop looking at illustrators for a while. Get inspiration from other avenues: photos, architecture, books, museums etc. I’ve been told this before but, it was refreshing to reminded.

Another eye opening and interesting bit of information that was touched upon was the difference between American and European illustration. Mr. Hively pointed out some of my work differed style wise, American editors don’t want to see that. They want to know what they’re getting up front. They want to see something that’s uniform in your work. European editors are a bit more flexible and will want an illustrator to take on a different style or approach to an image.

This is something I’m coming to terms with in the last few years. I always dreamed of being a jack of all trades, but I find it doesn’t really help your portfolio. Steven Heller once said if you try to be a jack of all trades it shows you’re not really good at one thing. I believe to some extent he’s right. I can paint in watercolor, acrylic and oil pretty well and use other mediums but, I’ve realized that pen and ink is my strong point. That doesn’t mean in 5 or 10 years down the line I won’t want to change my style but, I’d like to be really good at it before I decide to make a new artistic identity.

Mr. Hively also brought to my attention making it as a full time illustrator. He basically told me don’t quit your day job. He didn’t mean it in the suggestion of “quit drawing”. He meant it in the sense of it’s going to take you a good two years if not more of constantly sketching and drawing, sending out mailers, enter competitions and figuring what works for you.

Finally, he dropped the gem I was looking for… Make work for yourself first and people will gravitate towards it. I know this is a golden rule for all artists but, sometimes in this industry (especially when you’re new and trying to make a living off of your art) it can get sent to the back burner. And it is true you can tell when an artist is having fun making work or when he’s just doing it for a pay check. Case and point, when I told him I loved comics he told me “My face lit up” and advised me to keep working on that if it’s true love.

The critique was a great experience, and it was very satisfying to hear from people in the industry that you’re taking the right steps and not walking backwards.  Art is a difficult gig and I’ve found receiving crits and slowly growing tougher skin is half the battle. Well, I hope this helps anyone who’s taking the same path as an illustrator or just wants to have a career as a creative person.  I know it was a little lengthy and if you made it to this point thanks for the read.

Free portfolio reviews take place once a month, follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to find out dates and times. We’ll be adding a video Skype portfolio reviews next month for those outside the New York City metro area in addition to our monthly, live in-studio reviews.

Friday, May 3, 2013

SVA Thesis Show Through May 11

Sarah and I took a look at the work from the SVA graduating class and walked away impressed by the variety and talent displayed. Among our favorites:
Sarah Klinger
Hye Jin Chung
Rovina Cai
Keith Negley
Other favorites included the lovely etchings of scenes along the Taconic by Jonathan Burckhardt, Matthew Denton Burrows’ complex drawings, Yue Wangs realistic birds, Federico Infante’s minimal paintings and Natalya Balnova’s silkscreens. All in all a very strong show.

The exhibit is up through Saturday, May 11 at the SVA Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th Floor.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two Days Left to Enter the 3x3 Picture Book Show

Just two more days to enter this year’s 3x3 Picture Book Show. Sorry, unlike other shows there are no extensions. All work must be uploaded or postmarked no later that this Friday.

Open to all illustrators, art directors, editors, publishers and designers in all countries for published and unpublished work produced in 2012. Your book need not be printed in 2012 but your work must have been completed during the 2012 calendar year.

Published and unpublished children
s books, published and unpublished young adult books, published and unpublished book covers, published and unpublished illustrations for children, educational, editorial, childrens programming and miscellaneous which includes posters, packaging and murals.

Our judges
This year’s international panel of judges include Ann Bobco, Executive Art Director, Atheneum Books for Young Readers a part of Simon & Schuster; Rachael Cole, Art Director, Schwartz & Wade; Belén Freijeiro, Publisher, OQO Books, SpainErica Wagner, Publisher, Allen & Unwin, Australia  and illustrators Judith DrewsGermany and Julien ChungCanada.

So gather your entries and enter the 3x3 Picture Book Show now.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interesting Salary Survey

Coroflot has always done an excellent job of polling creatives—other than illustrators—on what they make. The full survey is available online.

It is interesting to compare these salaries with our 3x3 Illustrator Income Survey.

And it would be interesting to see how incomes vary by school similar to what Coroflot did here:

I’d bet it’s not too different.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Envelope of the Week

Our favorite envelope of the week was sent in by Jean-Christian Knaff.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

3x3 Int'l Picture Book Show Call for Entries

Were ready to accept entries for our tenth annual children's show which weve renamed the 3x3 Picture Book Show...and more. 

New entry process
This year we continue to streamline our entry process adopting the same entry system used by other leading publications making it even easier to enter and pay online. And added PayPal as a payment option for our international entrants. And you can either upload your files digitally or send us the actual book. All digital entries are low-res files, we will request hi-res images from our winners along with complete credits.

As part of our tenth year celebration we’ll be awarding actual medals and paper certificates for all winners. And as a winner you'll be invited to our tenth year anniversary party. All winners receive a complimentary copy of the annual.

Open to all illustrators, art directors, editors, publishers and designers in all countries for published and unpublished work produced in 2012. Your book need not be printed in 2012 but your work must have been completed during the 2012 calendar year.

Published and unpublished children's books, published and unpublished young adult books, published and unpublished book covers, published and unpublished illustrations for children, educational, editorial, children's programming and miscellaneous which includes posters, packaging and murals.

Our judges
This year’s international panel of judges include Ann Bobco, Executive Art Director, Atheneum Books for Young Readers a part of Simon & Schuster; Rachael Cole, Art Director, Schwartz & Wade; Belén Freijeiro, Publisher, OQO Books, SpainErica Wagner, Publisher, Allen & Unwin, Australia  and illustrators Judith DrewsGermany and Julien ChungCanada.

The Call for Entries email blast has gone out, if you didn’t receive it please join our mailing list.

So gather your entries and enter the 3x3 Picture Book Show now.

May 3, 2013

Banner image by Anna + Elena Balbusso, winners in our 3x3 Children's Show No 9

Monday, April 1, 2013

Issue 21 Going to Press

We’re putting the final touches on the next issue of 3x3 which features Valeria Petrone—her cover above, Anna + Elena Balbusso and Bill Mayer.

Featured in the Spotlight section are picture book illustrators Andrea D’Aquino, Kelly Murphy, Ella Cohen (Israel), Carey Sookocheff (Canada)Carlos Araujo (Brazil) and our 2012 Best of Show Children's Show winner, Marta Madureira (Portugal). Our art director profile is Rita Marshall with The Creative Company; our Icon is children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney and our CareerTalk article speaks to the issue of longevity.

And with our new design we’re featuring the winners of our 3x3 Children's Show No. 9.

To pre-order your print or digital copy click here.

To pre-order a digital version of the complete Annual 9 including the professional, student and children's show, click here.

3x3 Int’l Picture Book Show Judges Announced

It’s time for our annual Picture Book show that actually covers more than just published and unpublished children’s books. Our categories also include published and unpublished illustrations for children’s books, covers, educational, editorial and children’s programming as well as illustrations for young adult books.

This year’s international panel of judges include Ann Bobco, Executive Art Director, Atheneum Books for Young Readers a part of Simon & Schuster; Rachael Cole, Art Director, Schwartz & Wade; Belén Freijeiro, Publisher, OQO Books, Spain; Erica Wagner, Publisher, Allen & Unwin, Australia; Fausta Orecchio, Editor, Orrechio Acerbo Editore, Italy and illustrators Judith Drews, Germany and Julien Chung, Canada.

Our Call for Entries will be going out this week, the deadline is May 3, 2013 for all submissions.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

David G. Kuhlmann 1938 - 2013

Circa 1985
Today was quite maudlin around the studio, I was supposed to be at my dear friend Dave’s memorial service in Houston, unfortunately the flu-bug paid a visit and nixed the trip. My former partner and co-founder of The Hively Agency passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. Dave always loved to be out-of-doors which lead to several trips a year to the doctor to remove various skin cancers but we thought nothing of it, after all in Houston you can be by the pool from Valentine’s Day through Thanksgiving. In the end it was more serious than we ever imagined.

We started a small ad agency in 1985 and when I say small, we had three employees starting on day one, Dave, myself and a receptionist slash copywriter slash public relations person but we quickly doubled the staff the first year and went on to grow the agency in accounts, billings and employees until we were a $12-million dollar ad agency with 21 employees ten years later. We were never going to be huge—we used that to our advantage—we were lean and hungry and searching to prove ourselves. We did work no other agency was doing for clients most didn’t want but the campaigns worked and we got more work and in our first outing at the local advertising club awards we walked away with 18 medals. Nobody could believe that an agency of just six people could pull that off. To be so young, so small and yet so visible. And the visibility brought more clients, some for just pitches, others for pitches and wins. I look back on those times when the creative department was me and a freelance writer—we really never had more than two writers—how were we able to do so much good work? The answer is Dave Kuhlmann.

I have fond memories of the early days when we didn’t know if we were going to make it or not, each month was a question mark, the loss one-by-one of all of Dave's clients that we “bought” from his former employer and he still hung in there. He once said that he was so glad we’d teamed up as he now had something to sell, something he believed in. It was such a perfect partnership, him smooth and cool, me hot-tempered with lots of rough edges, we balanced each other so perfectly. Him the business-side, me the creative-side, thank god for his taking that off my plate—I fully realize today how valuable that was and is—God if someone would only take the business side now!

The first eight-room office space by the railroad tracks that we redecorated with grey walls—the owners and wifes doing the painting, curved glass block entryway we negotiated with our rent renewal, the Knoll and Herman Miller furniture that we bartered for adwork. And the people. Our first employee who was totally crazy and brilliant and then adding one-by-one,  and we couldn’t believe our good luck and recounting that alarm on our check-writing machine that went off every time the train rumbled by would always bring a laugh, no matter how many years it had been.

The custom black glossy formica conference table that we would polish before every client presentation,  then on to the new space with the large conference room with curved wall, grey and red and still we’d polish the table—this time a Eames conference table—before every meeting.

The trips to Brenham in that ten-year old yellow Benz, the entreprenuers we dug up somehow, someway and the bargain lunches at the Olive Garden—soup and salad only to stretch every dollar. The growth spurt, the new office space, the million-dollar accounts, the awards and jealousy in the community about this upstart with a staff a tenth of everyone else in town sweeping shows, getting press, making headlines in The New York Times and of course the celebrations, donuts on the conference room table in true Twin Peaks’ style, martinis after work in that minimal little room between our two offices—dirty martinis.

The laughter and sometimes tears, the Bible a departing staff member brought with her when we fired her—we never really liked firing anyone. The view from our eighth floor offices—those floor-to-ceiling windows. The water pistol fights in the hallways, the pool parties—indoor pool table and backyard pool, the bar at the Kuhlmann's, the Christmas parties in the townhouse and Dave and Ruanne’s. The laughter, always the laughter, even when things looked the bleakest, the jokes and laughter always kept us going forward, we never went backwards, always forward. And the people who joined us, sometimes taking salary-cuts, sometimes leaving and coming back because they couldnt do better work, the gains, the losses, the conflicts, the satisfaction. The risks to always do better, to give clients what they needed not what they wanted. The client who threatened to chain me to a radiator and burn down the house if our campaign didn’t work, and Dave saying, “Now you really don’t mean that do you?” Yes he did. And succeeding with work that shouldn’t have worked but believing it would work and did.  

The television and photo shoots, the television spots, the radio, the print, the invitations, brochures all executed with taste and style and above all substance. The awards that filled a lobby, the national recognition from those outside Houston, outside Texas, the articles in The New York Times about this micro-ad agency in Texas—the king-maker of ad agencies Phil Dougherty took an interest in a tiny shop way across the Hudson and it only got better!

Yes, the what-ifs always plague us especially at times like these, we miss the good old days, but more importantly we miss our dear old friends. Dave was always too fond of going to funerals, sometimes it seemed there were one or two a week, but he always went, he said it gave him comfort and being a spiritual man if provided something he truly needed. The true rememberance of a man is how much he’s missed once he’s gone, what memories they’ve helped etch in our minds and to that degree and more, Dave will be sorely missed and the memories will be treasured until our dying day. God’s speed!