IA's Festival of Illustration

This past weekend was Illustrators Australia's inaugural Festival of Illustration. Hopefully it will become a yearly thing because it was hugely successful. Not only was there the 9x5 exhibition on Thursday night which was great for rubbing shoulders with other illustrators and members of industry and seeing great art, but then the weekend was filled with seminars and talks from interesting and talented people. I was happy to be able to help out with some of the organisation for the weekend, and below is a lil wrap up:

9x5 - some great work auctioned off and some still for sale! Check here if you want to pick up some original art at the bargain price of $195 (australian bidders only). I would have to say without a doubt that this one by Michelle Katsouranis was my fave:

2 days of talks by some damn fine people

first was Bill Wood who talked about his website and how he set it up to mostly target US markets. Interesting, but not very relevant for me personally I guess - he works in a very commercial world.

then it was Mark Wood who was a very dynamic and funny speaker, on all the legal stuff illustrators should know - mostly copyright and our rights. made me realise i should probably have better contracts in place for some of the stuff I do.

Next was Andrea Innocent of Otoshimono who was fantastic. She lived in japan for a while and has carried over a lot of that japanese aesthetic into her art, which of course I love. She also talked about how all her marketing has been online and she has gotten great jobs through doing collaborative projects like Mail Me Art or joining online communities like Illustration Mundo. Very comforting to know that you don't have to spend oodles on promotional postcards and folios (they just end up in the Art Director's heap anyway) - and that if you do something unique, and you put it out there, it's just a matter of time before it's discovered. one of Andrea's pieces:

Phil Small from Watermark talked about the brilliant artists' collective they have and how illustration is more respected and "everywhere" in NZ (and everywhere but Australia, apparently!)

And lastly but not leastly was Nigel Buchanan, a stalwart of Australian illustration. All he did was show and talk about his artwork of the last 30 years, and that was enough. amazing work, go check it out.

Today (sunday) I missed the first two speakers, Dean Gorissen and Beck Wheeler, who both have incredible work in their own way. Dean is quite commercial but incredibly refined and detailed, and Beck's work is innovative and quirky. I bought her children's book (below) which is just so fun.

Next was Barbara Kitallides from Pearl Creative, one of two illustrators' agencies in Melbourne. Interesting to hear her talk about what she looks for in a folio - more of a distinctive style than a diversity of styles, so that clients won't be 'surprised' at the outcome.

Then was an accountant talking about how to please the taxman but still have money for paint and brushes at the end of the day. never simple...

Lastly was a panel of people discussing the state of illustration in Australia, led by heavyweight australian illustrator Ned Culic. again the overarching theme seemed to be that you needed to have your own distinctive style, and once that is defined and unique, that becomes desirable, and I suppose, ultimately, successful.

So the whole weekend was extremely inspiring but at the same time has sent me into a total headspin and identity crisis about my own work. I feel like I need to enter into another stage of experimentation, as i did 2 years ago when I started this blog. (actually, Novemeber 8th is my blogaversary, perhaps I'll have to give it a cake.) Anyway, I think I reached a good point then with my style and have ridden that for a little while now, but I feel like it's time to take it to the next level.

so. deep breath. chin up. plunge.