Yeah in the last post I said I was too lazy to do more than one post about Illuxcon. I lied. The fact is I was exhausted and couldn’t think of more to say, but now that I had time to sleep I found out I have plenty more to say. So I’m probably going to do this post about stuff I have learned there and one more about people I have met there. I hope I’m just not going to lie again and not do a third post. Sheesh.
About setting up a table:
- Test the pens you plan to use to sign prints on the prints you plan to use them on. I found out over there that my gel pens would not write on the printed parts of the print, so I had to sign on the white part. I bought a felt tip silver pen now, but I still have to test it.
- 12×18 prints take a lot of space and it’s not easy to find frames for them, 12×16 is more common, even if it doesn’t make much difference on the space on your table. I don’t think it made a difference on my sales but I discovered that shopping for frames before the con. I don’t want my clients to have problems framing my art, so the next prints will be 12×16.
- Even if visitors pick up your prints, they still want your business card, they do different things with them (I nearly ran out of business cards.)
- I surveyed people on my different styles, it gave them something to talk about and it was an ice breaker, I made people spend more time at my table than they would have otherwise, without making me look like a sales person. There’s also the fact that I was there not expecting to sell anything, so it helps.
- People don’t read signs, at least handwritten signs. I had a sign saying:”These small prints are free, pick one” but maybe two visitors in the entire show have read it I think. I had to tell them to take one. Some of them didn’t really believe me and kept asking :”Are you sure?”
- You should not expect amazing sales of prints in the showcase, because you are competing with the main show for money and wallspace. I know some people sell originals in the showcase, or books. I only sold two prints and that’s because it was prints of Lily and Notre Dame des Fleurs, a style that was quite unique to me, so there wasn’t anyone in the main show doing the same only better.
About meeting people:
- It’s perfectly ok when the time for meal comes to go see a bunch of people milling in front of the door and ask them if they are going out for dinner and if you can tag along. It’s easier if there is anyone in there you have talked to previously, but seriously, sometimes you think it’s all people who know each other and you’re surprised once at the restaurant to find you are in a kind of spontaneous mob.
- Sometimes you really want to talk to someone at their table but other visitors come along and the person wants to be a gracious host and greet everyone stopping by. It’s fine to show your portfolio and chat, but be aware that you are not the only visitor and some other visitors might actually buy art so they need to be talked to.
- Take your portfolio everywhere, you never know when someone will want to look at it.
- Conversation pieces are good, you want people to remember you. Dorian Iten gave me a beautiful hand drawn business card. It’s the first time I ever get one and it’s a great idea. If everyone was doing it, it wouldn’t be as good an idea however. Find your own thing.
- Wear your name tag, people might have talked to you and subsequently forgotten your name. A subtle glance at your nametag is less embarassing than admitting they forgot your name. They might talk to you more if you wear it! I know I do, and I’m terrible with faces. Nametags are a life saver.
Wow, remembering what I was doing at this time last year is tough. It’s been a busy busy year and it looks like the next one is going to be even more so.
Last year in January, we were still living in Quebec city. I was somewhat involved in the Art Order community, having just finished my Hurakan piece. I used to hang out with the folks at the Quebec City Drink and Draw, and coming up with activities for the Drawing club at work. I knew I wanted to do more illustration work, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. I was registered for the IMC but I didn’t know what to expect of it.
In March, my partner got a job offer in Montreal that he couldn’t refuse, so he moved there while I was looking for a new job. I tried transferring from Ubisoft’s Quebec studio to their Montreal studio, but they just didn’t need any artists. I sent a whole lot of resumes and ended up accepting a position with EA Mobile on their prototype/new devices team. I started in May, only our apartment wasn’t available until July. A lot of logistics ensued. In the middle of this mess, I went to the IMC, and despite almost missing out on the fact that I had an assignment to prepare and getting there with just thumbnails, I came out of there with a whole new focus and a lot of motivation.
I worked worked worked on my portfolio and went to Illuxcon 3 in November. It was great and I got the chance to meet up again with a lot of my IMC mates. I also got the chance to show my portfolio to a lot of people. Including Jeremy Cranford, Steve Prescott, Jean Scrocco and Jeremy Jarvis who all gave me great critiques. I was particularly lucky that Jeremy Jarvis was there because he had critiqued my work at the IMC and I had worked hard on the aspects that he told me about. Now he gave me new things to work on, so that’s encouraging!
I came back motivated again and kept working on my portfolio. Just like with my Hurakan piece for ArtOrder, I finished a new ambitious piece: Donjon Delve, just before the Holidays. I took a well deserved rest during the Holidays, and now I’m ready to get back in the action!
I also already registered for the 2011 IMC (only 12 places left!) and for Illuxcon 4 (and I got a showcase table, they were sold out in 30 hours!) So I’m looking forward to seeing some of you guys there.
As usual, you can see my work here: www.chantalfournier.com
My posts about Illuxcon 3:
Some other artists who made a review of 2010:
I met many cool artists at Illuxcon. The subjects of today’s post I met more precisely, at le Bistro cafe where a bunch of us had an impromptu dinner together on Friday night.
Chelsea Conlin has her own blog where she posts all kinds of cool sketches and studies. However she is also involved with the iloverescueanimals.org site where she handles a regular column, Shelter sketches. She features an animal looking for a home in a sketch on a regular basis. Great promotion and great cause!
Beth Trott doesn’t look like she has a blog, or if she does, it doesn’t seem to be linked anywhere. I don’t know which is worse. But she has a website with lovely watercolor work.
So far, it looks like happy animals were the theme of the dinner! But then Matt Sullivan who was sitting at the next table joined us. He does cartoony comics but not really happy animals.
And well, Drew Baker and me had been sitting at the table all along and we don’t really do happy animals. I meantioned Drew in my Friends with Podcasts post.
For the second time in the history of the convention, there was a second art show at Illuxcon this year: The showcase. Contrary to the main show where artists are handpicked, the showcase was open to all on a first come first serve basis. It was open during limited hours (Friday night and Saturday until noon) and there were no lectures or other activities going on at the same time.
35 tables were available and pretty cheap too (30$ a pop) and the show was held in the ballroom of the Altoona Ramada hotel, which was the hotel where most attendees were staying in the first place. Friday night was packed! The tables formed a rectangle and on the side opposite the door where the people who started right and the people who started left met, it was a pretty big traffic jam.
It didn’t help that Petar Meseldzija was showing off the art or The Legend of Steel Bashaw right in that spot too. I think it’s safe to say that Petar was the surprise star of the showcase and by the time I made my way to his table, his book Bron Van Verbeelding was sold out.
I met plenty of other artists in the showcase, some of whom I knew from forums but had never met in person such as Joe Wilson, Noah Bradley and Kirsten Zirngibl. Noah had probably the best promo scheme of the showcase, he was giving away fantastic prints of his grandiose environments which made everyone else look like a cheapskate. I chose the End of Sorrow one.
I also discovered many new artists. It’s not possible to name them all here (admittedly, it was a sensory overload and there are people I would forget.) Here are a few highlights for me.
Sam Burley, who also does enviros with an amazing sense of scale. You might have seen his turtle shaped mountain when browsing forums, everyone seems to know it!
Chris Burdett and his amazing Mutation Nation creatures, seriously, an angler fish and an elephant? That’s badass.
Lauren K Cannon, I only got the talk with Lauren later in the weekend but I had seen her art in the showcase. Eerie stuff.
All in all, the showcase is a fantastic opportunity, I hope I can have a table next year.
I ordered some postcards and business cards yesterday in prevision of Illuxcon next week. I’ll have to go pick them up tomorrow. It’s the first time I’m having postcards made (had greeting cards and business cards in the past) and they have the Medusa image on them. I can’t wait to see what they are like. Until then, I’m trying to have as many new pieces as possible to put in my portfolio!