Perhaps you are wondering why everyone is babbling about Illuxcon and have been for a while, perhaps you are considering going there next year and you want to know if it’s worth your hard earn money, perhaps you have been before and couldn’t go this year!
Well, it’s not going to replace the whole experience, but maybe you can get a glimpse of what you missed as I regale you with wondrous tales of … eh… lectures.
Now, let me tell you, at some points there were up to three lectures going on at the same time and I had to make some choices. These were not easy choices. I think we all struggled to choose.
Todd Lockwood – The art of composition
Well, this was more of a show and tell than a class on composition. Todd walked us through his extensive career, and showed us all the possible ways to paint Drizz’t Do’Urden. I did pick up some composition tips, one of which is the sharp cast shadow to bring out a character who’s the same color as the background. He also had nice touches as spine elements in his wraparound compositions and he did talk about using lines of action to guide our eyes across a scene.
Jane Frank – The art of negotiation: a lecture and role-play
Jane has a most colorful style and extensive experience as a negotiator. This talk was targeted at both artists and collectors. She walked us into the different steps and styles of negotiation and she gave us tips so that we can practice. That’s right, just like everything else, getting a good deal requires practice. She then followed up by negotiating live with a volunteer and giving us a play by play of everything he did right or wrong. This talk was both educational and entertaining. Michael Whelan was also sitting to the side and giving us nuggets of wisdom as the lecture went.
Jeff Menges – Learning from the past: The influence of golden age illustration on fantasy art today.
That title was a mouthful. This one was interesting, but I don’t think it’s going to change the way I look at art or the way I work. I found looking at parallels between contemporary illustrators and their golden age counterparts to be entertaining, but I already look at the past to get inspired and I already knew about other artists doing so. I learned new stuff about Dover publishing (Jeff works there) and I picked some new names of artists to look at but it might have worked better as an article in, say, Realms of Fantasy than as a lecture in a crowded room of overexcited people.
Dave Seeley – Dollars & $sense: How to keep the financial from sabotaging the creative
Another mouthful. Here Dave walked us along the path of his career and the choices he made. He made it very clear that this was his path and that someone might have done differently, and it was nice that he was not shy about spelling things out and giving us numbers. He talked about reliability, about agents and what they can do for you, about doing shows and getting your name out there, about the difference in pay in advertisement jobs and publishing jobs. It was very down to earth and I’m sure it was a serious dose of reality for many attendees.
Donato Giancola – The business of freelance
Donato moderated this panel that included Greg Hildebrandt and his agent Jeannie (if I understood well,) Michael Whelan, John Jude Palencar and I think that’s it. Microphones would have been nice for this one, even sitting in the 3rd row, I had a hard time hearing everyone. It was interesting, and I have to say that the point of view from an agent was the most educational for me. I was a bit disappointed that some of the younguns like Dan Dos Santos or Steve Prescott have not been included, starting a career in the age of the internet is very different than starting it 30 years ago.
Lars Grant-West – Dragon design, a naturalistic approach
That was amazing. Lars used to work in a zoo and he knows his stuff, he talked about many factors that can and should influence dragon design. How scales work, what bird feet looks like, the weight of horns and antlers, how wings are built in vertebrate (birds, bats, pterosaurs,) muscle placement, jaw structure, teeth, you name it. He had brought specimens (casts, skulls, antlers) for us to handle and marvel at and had an extensive slide-show to support his explanation. All of that with a serious side order of carnivourous beetle management and the science of roadkill. This lecture will definitely change the way I draw fantasy animals.
Now, I might have done some different choices if I had not attended the IMC last year (and if I was not going back next year) but for now, I made the choice that my business knowledge lags behind my art knowledge and it tinted my selection of lectures for this IMC.