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Lightbox Expo 2021

My top notes from LBX2021

Content: Portfolio, Illustration, Visual Development


Departure: Exploring and Building Worlds - John Burton
- work big, fast, big brush first
- big shapes
- silhouette
- 4 values
- once you learn to play you react, not afraid to mess up, don't need to learn anymore (like a sport)
- Drive, work like crazy (others doing 1 painting you do 10)

Refining your art and voice (portfolio) - Cody Gramstad
- Building a portfolio > Proving you can do the artwork

- Target your portfolio (have a goal in mind: freelance/studio, more than 1 portfolio, idea development, your ideas as well as artwork), first glance, keeping engages

- Stylized to realism

- Lack fundamental art skills (line and shape, perspectives composition, light and value, color, materials, anatomy, narrative) : skills to emotion and story beat, local color & lighting color influence, materials so don’t look flat

- Keep them engaged: Plan visual layout and presentation

- Multiple tasks

- Inspirational (story moments, full color env art) and informational (iterations, isometrics, line ups, prop design, character design)

- Entertain them! Catch and keep attention

- Engage every 5 pages, engage/context/reengage/context

- 1 font for titles/text, not necessary

- Treat each page as its own composition, priority of size, line of action

- Clean up all your drawings

- Framing, change it up

- Cut work out, Always evolving, have ppl you trust cut it

- simple

- book format
- 10-15 pieces
- don't be afraid to edit out and cut out pieces

Linking Commissions to Personal Projects - Donato Giancola
- integrity - compare successes and failures, success drew from internal passion

- 6 samples b4 first job book cover illustrator

- Inspiration: iron man, hands, portraiture, D&D, personal aesthetic, multi figure (action narration storytelling epicness), art museum, busy busy town, abstraction; Personal project, commercial commission: drawing LOTR sci-fi space robots landscape painting; gallery show: astronaut painting, hero’s vulnerability, great emotional moments

- Ideas on sketchbook rough ideas

- Wall in studio of concepts I have, bring those ideas into commissions

- Learning medium: no books, hands on experiment challenges, classes to show about materials, storytelling & composition

- Only two master copies - gain knowledge of techniques

- Use models

- Spectrum: sci fi and fantasy

- Assess what you accomplish in a year

- Medium: Oil painting

- 4 weeks to make one large painting

All about ART ANXIETY and how to BEAT IT - Danielle Pioli (30 min video)


Visual Development for Picture Books - Noah J Klocek
- Visual Development is searching and exploration / Illustration is story in the moment
- Everything revolves around STORY
- Start with an existing story, something that's interesting/moves you/excites you - or - your own story
- Function over Form = believable, timeless
- Design - Research (until you're moved/excited/ready to dive in, ask why questions ex. why do I like this? which boat? why? what emotions/feelings want to convey?), Observation (visualize in mind, find and build your own language), Iteration (never get it the first time, go back start over redesign)
- Character Design - Character (who are they?), Emotion (how do they feel?), Specificity (unique to that person/recognizability & authenticity)
- Set Design - Vernacular (language of the environment/asthetic, push it/feeling), Space (how make feel? how deep?), Specificity (adds believability)
- Color Scripting - Relationship (how passage of time affect? story arc, character arc, climax), Palette (limited, less is more), Reality (how real situations in the story affect lighting)
Too complex, local color only in white light, other lighting situations change color
Simplify - look at color in terms of emotion + storytelling
- Style is what you're interested in + chasing, things I'm moved by + inspiration, Noah's goals are naturalistic + pushed form
- control/limitations to make choices (not a shot in the dark)
- DEMO: 1. BREAK UP SCRIPT (see image) 2. RESEARCH (first 10 pages google not interesting, find something that moves me/dive deeper and deeper) 3. START DRAWING (set + character design, don't copy reference FEEL it, right feeling first in scale and big shapes, building a language you can roll with 1/2 of sketchbook or 2 months of work)


Creating the Illustrated Novel, Part 2 - Armand Baltazar, Iain McCaig, Victoria Ying, Greg Manchess & more
- Greg Manchess: Timberline, 123 widscreen paintings total (11-34/m), give yourself permission to work on things bigger than you are, 8 years total, 40 years of painting training, freelance work and night job working on book, saved to cover a year + teaching + freelance, structured schedule (9-5 hour break for hot cocoa and a book 6-10 wind down with a movie), originals! Show in Paris in 1-2 years of all originals.
- Betsy Peterschmidt: had a story I wanted to tell, tackling giant feet is a marathon not a sprint, the more rest the better the work. Day Job to pay the bills: Book Art and Design Manager for Blizzard, Designer for Children's Publishing for Penguin and Schoolastic, while making this picture book on the side, extrovert office setting to avoid depression, feed off creative energy feel inspired and driven to work on own book, routine and structure, making time for friends/family/sleep. The less I compare to others the better the work is.
- Ian McCaig: Shaddowline, How do you come up with good ideas? Gnoman workshop on creativity. Ideas come from the marriage of things...things you collect; experiences books friends...etc. Wherever you go ideas everywhere; eyes open and have fun. Work 18-20 hours a day, drawing and writing is a mediation for him, dreaming, experience, relaxing and mediative experience, allows him to overwork himself. Have to stop himself at end of day. Hour to read at end of day is big reward.
- Armand Baltazar: Timeless; 600 pages, supposed to be 24pg children's picture book for my kid, evolved into middle grade adventure book. monstrous thing with no restraints, tell core of store as concise as possible with keeping the spirit of it. Cater to actual physical limitations of publisher. Covid stuck at home made figure out what's important in life. Animation industry pushing, forget what's important. Anger driving work, need a change and life and those love first. How to be balanced and a happy artist that's living a good life. Whether going back of forward is one step closer to seeing what your capable of.
- Victoria Ying: CIty of Illusion (256p), City of Secrets, Graphic Novel, how avoid burnout? Choose to not work weekends/nights. Tell yourself to stop and go home. Protect evenings, 10-4 daily. Sleep is not optional. Mood tracking, what made it a good day? Agent for picture book illustration but found different one when write own stuff, some people fear rejection or changing your book, make sure keep your own rights, also need someone who gets you same vision for your career, good feedback, pushing book to best can be, detailed list to go through it on her blog. Make own choices based on their feedback.
- Mia Araujo: all do traditional, doesn't matter how long takes as long as finish it

A Parent’s Guide to Growing as an Artist - Inmar Salvatier & Maxis Art Team
- take control of schedule and planning thing out with significant other
- before Covid go to studio easy to separate work life
- parallel habits when used to go into work, core hours when working
- communicate
- schedule & routine
- love being home to see kids and significant other
- kids inspiration, cathartic, legos, dance around, good for the soul, everything brand new
- collaborative canvas with your kids
- kids want to play with crayons - practice color theory, get loose
- adjusting expectations
- allow yourself to fail
- be content with little steps, even if it's fast even it its sloppy
- Separation: your not home your working, separate space

How I Create the Art for Picture Books - Francis Vallejo
- 15 years professional - Teach Illustration

- Jazz Day: 25k, Read manuscript 3-4 times, created dummy digitally scribbles, sequencing not even composition, 14 different versions of thumbs, photographed actual locations (request traveling funds, figure models: find people to pose for the book, door to door churches, coordinated costumes for every single person, photo reference, forgot to change sunlight angle, vocal make ppl feel comfortable, modeled NYC 3D, model helped with lighting, large complicated scenes and crouds, put a lot in shaddow, (thumbs, approved, photo ref 3D, final sketches, value studies, color studies), value: draw the viewers eye, 5-6 value studies for each one, 22x30 illustrations, 3 years, 2y process 6m final art expressive and loose, acrylic washes nu pastel and soft pastel on top, gamsol/mineral spirits melts nupastel, leave art school with a portfolio and a process professional good quality imagery > awards, submit to society of illustrators, head art director for folio society

- Where you want to work and how to get your work in front of them

- Anasi Boys Neil Gaimon: said 6m> can’t do that, mock up of book and slip case, contacted old friend to pose for the photo, pictorial experimentation fav part, 120h on the final cover, traditional then 24h digital, Robert McGuinnis, 6 color illustrations, 14 chapter headers, 35 spot illos

- No publisher own book now

- Tips for breaking into Book Illustration: 4 full color interior images, covers > shop to agents, join SCBWI, society of illustrators, folio society other publishers, cons, get an agent, port reviews, call the publisher > how can I get in my work, set up meeting take them out and pitch there, graphic artist guild handbook & hoodspah sisters, the dark art of pricing by jessica hitche PDF $15

- Build relationship then they’ll ask what book you want to do?

- Get revisions? Yes. Spell out revisions in contract

- Organization tips: giant calendar, write a lot of deadlines - write when finish thumbs, color studies, & deadlines for the day and HIT THEM!

- 25k + royalties


RE-RUNS "RE-WATCH" FUTURE (Notes coming soon.)

Visual Storytelling Through Illustrations - Greg Manchess, Victoria Ying & more (SAT)

The importance of portfolio storytelling - Travis Blaise + Wink Winkler (FRI)

Creating a Perfect Picturebook Portfolio - Anoosha Syed (SUN)

Picture Book Illustration Process - Benson Shum (SUN)

From Study to Concept - John Park (SUN)

Intro to Kid Lit for Illustrators - Steph Laberis (SAT)

John Nevarez: Live Demo 1 - John Nevarez (SAT)

* There were many more that I was interested in but these were the ones I had time for and my top choices.

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