It was an early start for the winners and based on the look on their faces they didn’t get much sleep. They were busy working on their assignments. Some worked digitally and some worked traditionally. Lazarus began the morning early and presented the theme for the day: Portfolio Presentations. Each day there has been a recurring overall theme, “You are good enough to do the work, that is why you are here.” Today the winners would learn how to sell their portfolio to clients.
Part of selling to the client is making sure to hit all of the important parts within the brief. In the assignment “the Red Dragon” handling client curveballs (where the client changes what they ask for) became a point of critique. This became a good example of how to communicate and take care of your client. Between critiques, the Illustrator winners had now proceeded to the reference gathering part of the creative process. Creating a good sketch is important, helping to ensure the gestalt or “the overall” is working well, as well as structuring the message for one’s eventual audience. Yet it is the reference that the artist can use to really sell the image. The winners took turns posing as each other’s references for their pieces, setting up lighting, using props. Anthony Moravian’s reference piece was particularly extensive and everyone was happy to jump in. With many expressive faces, we all gathered together to scream at the imaginary horrors. With each winner’s reference pack, they were able to flesh out their ideas and really tighten up the drawings for presenting later.
The winners were then gotten to “sell” their portfolio in a controlled environment. It really helped the winners work out the kinks and see the order of presentation and how to comport themselves. Each artist would present their work and for some, it was their first time in public speaking, yet all went full force and impressed the judges. For David Furnal, we all gathered around his tablet and really got into the great line work. Including his graphic novel “Another Girl, Another Planet.” After seeing each presentation we broke for lunch.
After lunch, the seminar continued with judges portfolios. Lazarus showcased his “Brand Management” portfolio. Echo had her many fantastic art nouveau works and many different styles. This was a way to specifically show how to organize your portfolio and how to sell it and showing how your clients will go through your portfolio. Winners were coached on what they should sharpen and fine tune for stronger presentations. One interesting point that Lazarus talked about was to “Walk the customer through” your portfolio instead of letting them walk through your work. Show the client what fits their need and sell your services to fix their problem. The artists began their one-on-one sessions on how to orchestrate their portfolio. Each artist had different approaches. And by the end of the day, they had strong portfolios and even stronger websites. The art was already good, it was just a matter of how they told the story through the portfolio.
The rest of the day was tuxedo fitting and fellowship … until when the surprise hit! As the tuxedo fitting was taking place, the writers’ room was completely filled with easels of each piece of art in the upcoming Writers of the Future Volume 33. As the illustrators stood by, writers entered the room, reviewing the art display to find their piece. Once found, their illustrator would come up to the writer to introduce themselves! As an artist, there is a lot of work that has to go into a cover piece. Reading the story multiple times to pick up on the minute details and tone. The artists and writers were thrilled to meet each other and instantly hit it off. A very cool moment that they will remember forever.
There were just a few more surprises. With such a full day, the perfect capstone to the night was the Salon Figure Drawing session. The artist gets to just relax and get into the heart of what the winners love to do—draw. Everyone had different styles, tools, and techniques. As a special treat, they could even sketch side-by-side with the judges, seeing their masterful strokes.
After such a great day the winners were sent off with a complimentary t-shirt featuring Larry Elmore’s “Crimson Dawn” from this year’s book cover!
Tomorrow the artists will be presenting their assignments, so look forward to that.
A ton of cool pics from today’s highlights can be seen HERE.
Guest blogger, Joshua Meehan
Joshua Meehan is a freelance science fiction and fantasy illustrator. He was an Illustrators of the Future winner in 2013 in Volume 29. His client list includes Paizo Publishing, Analog Sci-fi magazine, Fantasy Flight and Bethesda. Joshua’s illustration for Robert J. Sawyer’s short story “Gator” is in the latest Writers of the Future anthology, Volume 33.