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.