ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

General discussion on illustration, art, and the business of same.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:52 pm

Thanks from me too, Stephen! Your immense knowledge and willingness to help us out gives Illustrators here on the forum alot of very, very needed mentoring!

E-mailing Joni is obviously a good idea. A Ms. Meliva Koch was working with us as art director to help us submit our actual anthology story illustrations (with technical and reproduction advice) ... so you might ask to be put in touch with Meliva Koch too (which I'd heard pronounced Me-leeva Coach?)
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby kyle » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:31 pm

Canotila wrote:But when I went to actually upload them, this is what I see:

Submission Criteria:

***Uploaded files will not be reviewed if they do not fulfill the following requirements***

Minimum: 300dpi
Minimum: 5"x7"
Maximum: 8.5"x11"
Minimum: 5MB
Maximum: 100MB

FWIW, I decided to enter the Illustrators' contest this quarter for the heck of it. All three of my files were smaller than 5 MB. Wizehive seemed to accept them just fine. (Granted, I don't have a confirmation e-mail yet, but it doesn't appear to be anything that is hard coded to trigger a rejection.) I'd like to think that this is a relic from the old days when print-quality files had to be big, which isn't the case any more...

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:04 pm

An 8.5" x 11" CYMK 300dpi tiff file is 32mb (the same file saved as a jpeg would be smaller — how much smaller would depend on the range of colors used). Three of those would be 96mb. A B&W (greyscale) 5" x 7" 300dpi tiff is 3mb. Again, a jpeg format file could be substantially smaller, because of the inherent compression of a jpeg file. Having the 5mb minimum seems to be for encouraging artists to submit high-resolution (300dpi) files.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby mattj » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:15 am

Illustrators,

I was just wondering if there was a standard or going rate for an image, such as those published in WotF. For writers, it's easy, we have token to pro rates. But I have no idea what an image would cost, say for a book cover or a website background.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:49 pm

is there a
standard or going rate for an image


Short answer: no

Long answer: http://www.graphicartistsguild.org/handbook/ Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook.

Why: In many markets art is undervalued, especially on-line. If an artist posts an image on-line he/she can assume someone is going to appropriate it without asking. Hence: post only water-marked, low-resolution images. Beyond on-line, art has almost always been undervalued. We had someone recently post on the forum offering artists the "opportunity" for "exposure" in exchange for illustrating someone's work. No thank you, we can easily expose ourselves.

Shimmer magazine (for example) has a budget of $15 for B&W interior art and $30 for color cover art. They have always been up front about this: "Dear illustrator, will you create art for us for $15?" Easy answer, yes or no. I've said yes because, there is at least a minimal payment and Shimmer is a well respected magazine. Their color covers have been all existing art, not commissioned. Commissioning color art for $30 is a bit much, but if the art is already done, the artist might like an extra $30 for reproduction rights and the cover of Shimmer. This is pretty much the low end for payment (and there are markets people contribute for free, but that's for the love of it. There is nothing wrong with this as long as everyone is in agreement — just don't act like asking for free work in exchange for "exposure" is appropriate.) The saying "Money flows toward the (writer) illustrator" applies.

It's no secret. IotF pays $125 for publication in the anthology of the assigned illustration. This is about right for interior B&W art. Of course, with IotF the winner also gets a workshop, contacts with professionals, an awards ceremony, and the chance to win $5,000. Pretty good deal.

If you can access any of the pricing in The GAG Handbook, you'll see it is broken down into categories, ranges and regions. An advertising illustration for a major advertiser in a major market (NYC) will pay better than an advertising illustration for a minor advertiser in a minor market (Topeka Kansas). Is this fair? Yes and no. Part of being asked to illustrate that major campaign is reputation. So, illustrators with a better rep can demand more money, so reputation becomes part of the "range" with "category and region." You want a Brom cover you'll have to pay more than one from me (right now). Maybe you can only afford me. Maybe Brom knows you personally and will cut you a deal. There's no easy answer to your question.

However, GAG's Handbook is a good place to start to get a feel for pricing. I recommend that all illustrators have one, or make sure one is available at your local library (price guides like this tend to go out of date quickly).

Artists' guidelines for magazines usually post what they are willing to pay, so if you do the research you'll start to see what markets are paying. Ralan.com is good for finding writing markets, and once you are on the magazine's website you can look for art guidelines.

When people have asked me how I know what to charge for any given project, I smartassedly lick my finger and hold it up to the wind. If I don't know what someone is willing to pay, I try to determine what they might pay and take my chances naming a quote. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong and they'll dicker, sometimes I'm wrong and they don't dicker. Who knows.

I know that probably doesn't help, but it's pretty much how the business works: by the seat of its pants.

Stephen

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby MJNL » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Actually, that was extremely helpful! To me, any way. This thread is fantastic--so much great knowledge to soak up. :D
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:37 pm

Definitely helpful! In fact, I passed the info to a buddy of mine. Those fee guidelines will help him budget for art in his business. He knows they're only guidelines, and rates will vary a lot; but that's still better than no guidelines. If his budget is $300 and the guidelines say it's a $3,000 job, he'll know he's not in the right ballpark.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:31 pm

Image

Since this may be a more general and long-living "IOTF / ILLUSTRATORS" thread ...
here are a few links to where ILLUSTRATION crops up on other threads:


A thread where ALL "IOTF Illustrators" are invited to share a link to your portfolios! (And WOTF Writers can see who may illustrate YOUR stories when you all win!)

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=682

Image

How many of us are Illustrators here? Or mostly Writers?

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=185&start=0

Illustrators as second-class citizens?

No we aren't ... but we need to enlighten the publishing world and general public that VISUAL ART can make or break a story or a book!

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=899

Videos & Artwork to Inspire Stories and ... Artwork

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=456&start=0

You should enter the SPECTRUM ART contest too (a place to re-submit your IOTF art ... but IOTF is a better contest, and free!)

Our IOTF buddy Irvin Rodriguez whose artwork appears in SPECTRUM 18, went on to win the IOTF GOLD AWARD for Volume 27!

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=624

There are other illustration-themed threads too ... look around! :)
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:59 pm

Here's a new addition to ILLUSTRATIONS, that EVERYONE (Writers and Illustrators all!) can profit from!

Share your COVER ARTWORK (in development)
for your up-coming E-BOOKS and E-STORIES
...

http://forum.writersofthefuture.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1136

... and get valuable feedback: constructive critiques and support, target-audience advice and "OH NOES!"

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:27 am

For what it's worth, I've finally created a website. I need to add more to it, but at least it is online and functional.

www.s2graphis.com

I plan to add two pages under illustration: All my IotF entires (or at least those I'm not embarrassed by now) and all the illustrations I've done for Shimmer.

My graphic design resume/portfolio is buried in there, too. I don't accept much freelance design work any more, so I'm not promoting design as much. I get enough of that from my day job. I withdrew from art directing Shimmer last year. I needed to devote that spare time to writing/drawing.

Cheers.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:06 pm

I have created an Illustrators of the Future page on my website. It shows a partial selection of my entries, the winners (and the three that were disqualified the next quarter), my sketches for "Cruciger," and the published illustration.

http://s2graphis.com/iotf.html

For those of you who are still entering the contest, the series might be interesting.

An opinion: I believe it took "so long" for me to win because I always seemed to have at least one weak drawing (I'm not showing those) in each quarterly entry. Usually, but not always, the last one I cranked out near the deadline. If the series didn't place as a semi-finalist (which disqualifies them for reentry), I sometimes submitted one of the stronger illustrations again in another batch. When I won WotF and was presented with a print of the illustration to my story, I realized that artists were working "twice-up" for the anthology and until then I had been working "1.5 up". Increasing the size did give me more room for detail. Another personal factor: for the year before my win I was underemployed (freelancing and teaching) and had more time to devote to my art, eliminating the "last-minute deadline crunch" drawing. I was confident I would win 1Q08, but the drawings submitted for 2Q08 were strong contenders (including "Scarecrow" which was a reworked previous entry).

To tell you the truth, I thought I'd win IotF first and quickly. I don't know why I didn't, except for those weak third drawings...

I was a semi-finalist TWICE during the year I won WotF. If any of you have read my winning story you might identify two illustrations of that story. I came close to winning both contests in the same year. If only I'd been unemployed...

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Strycher » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:21 pm

Stephen Stanley wrote:An opinion: I believe it took "so long" for me to win because I always seemed to have at least one weak drawing (I'm not showing those) in each quarterly entry.


It's very cool of you to share your work that placed! I'm not an artist, but I suspect showing the "weak" pieces would be as helpful or more so than just these strong ones. wotf011

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:29 pm

Indeed, very cool to post those.
I daresay you would have won again with your "disqualified" drawings.

According to the rules of IotF, computer drawings are accepted, yet I find all (correct me if I'm wrong) published entries are by artist's hands.

Anyone have any examples of purely computer generated art winning and/or being published?
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:40 pm

Dustin Adams wrote:Anyone have any examples of purely computer generated art winning and/or being published?


The gold award winner for Volume 20, Laura Diehl, works on a computer. Her entries and published illustrations were computer created.

http://www.ldiehl.com/

Stephen Knox from Volume 24 showed us a stunning video he made of himself creating a drawing on a computer (which I see is on his "Gallery" page). His entries and published illustration were computer created.

http://7mages.com/home.html

Those are two winners I know. And Scott, of course.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:51 pm

Oh, in response to showing "weak" drawings. Portfolios don't work that way. I don't want anyone to see my "weak" work. My IotF page is a portfolio to interest art directors, not a "lesson" of examples (except for the sketches for the anthology drawing). I would argue that some of the work I'm showing on that page is not the greatest anyway. Perhaps in time I will edit it down.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:02 pm

It's still wonderful and amazing to see your contest entries -- your so close misses and actual winning art! -- as both a fan of your cool art and a past contestant!

As an artist beginning to submit myself, I remember seeing your winning "Cruciger" art in the book and loving it -- and being inspired by it -- Uplifted by the fact that it was LINE ART like I was trying to do (yay-- I don't need to be a painter!) -- but then thinking "yeah, but I'm going to have to up my game A LOT to have a chance against that level of QUALITY!" wotf007

Your portfolio's full of some cool and evocative art and images! I'll echo others -- Thanks so much for sharing!!!
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Canotila » Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:34 am

Stephen Stanley wrote: If the series didn't place as a semi-finalist (which disqualifies them for reentry), I sometimes submitted one of the stronger illustrations again in another batch.


Wait wait wait! You can DO that? My brain just exploded a little. I have the same issue with having one or two strong pieces and then (at least) one that is suckitudinous.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:10 am

One of the ones I won with, was a previous entry (though I can't say whether it had been a finalist or not?) I did add a monster at the edge, but that was about 10-20% new (though as I've described before, either here or discussing someone's art in PM ... I thought adding the monster pulled the whole thing together better)

So ... I didn't send the exact same piece, no, but anyone judging surely might've thought "Yeah, I've seen something VERY ALIKE THIS before"

It was motivated both by always liking the image, knowing how to add to improve it, and being short on time against the looming contest deadline! Certainly, I would've sent in something totally new, given a better situation!
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Stephen Stanley » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:13 pm

Canotila wrote:Wait wait wait! You can DO that? My brain just exploded a little. I have the same issue with having one or two strong pieces and then (at least) one that is suckitudinous.


Yeah, it's one of those things that isn't in the "Rules," but if you hang around the various forums and bulletin boards (like this one and K.D.'s over at sff.net) you learn the nuances of the Contests.

You can resubmit a story if it was NOT a semi-finalist (because K.D. gives it a critique) or finalist (the judges have read it once, and the Contest considers finalists as publishable stories, even if they don't win). K.D. discourages this, unless the story undergoes a substantial rewrite. (I think I did it once, but the story only succeeded in getting rejected twice). I think there have been some winners who have had success in resubmitting a rewritten previously rejected story.

The same holds true for illustrations. To my knowledge (and I could either be wrong or Ron and Val might have changed their methodology since I asked them in 2005) "semi-finalist" illustrators are the finalists who don't win. They get a critique from Ron. Those illustrations cannot be resubmitted. Unlike the stories, however, a "rejected" strong illustration doesn't have to be reworked (unless the artist wants, like Scott explained) to be entered again. I tried to come up with new work each quarter I submitted (I averaged three out of four quarters for the years I was entering) because I felt new work would be stronger. When I was in a pinch, and didn't have time to do even a weak third entry, I pulled an old "rejected," but strong, drawing out of my portfolio. Some of these became semi-finalists and were then disqualified for future submission.

It should be noted, however, that I won with three new illustrations created for the quarter.

Like with WotF, some IotF quarters can be more "competitive" than others. A story, or a series of drawings, that could win in an "average" quarter can be overwhelmed by a slew of extraordinary entries. We each must learn to recognize our good work when we create it.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Imagination Vortex » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:13 pm

I have a couple of questions I hope someone can clear up for me. First, I noticed on the rules it says that electronic submissions can be in either jpg, .pdf or .png format. However, when I went to the submission page it said "ONLY *.jpg and *.jpeg files will be accepted." So would I be disqualified if it's not that file type?

Second, would using programs to create 3D models or 3D realistic landscapes, such as maya, 3ds max, terragen, ect. be acceptable? Would that fall under the category of computer generated art? Or would I have to incorporate some kind of illustration into them in order for them to be excepted, similar to the contest rule on using photography? Thanks!
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:11 pm

I had never submitted electronically ... so I'll let others address file types. But I'd suppose it's not an issue of being 'disqualified' if you submit a file type within their rules, but whether their submission device can transmit it?

As for past winners, I know there have been artists in the past who have won and illustrations in the books that have used computer-based programs and art. I don't think the rules mean to imply that you cannot enter pure photography either (I debated that myself, but listening to the judges/instructers at the IotF workshop, I don't think they'd hesitate to have a photograph win. The ISSUE would be, what happens when a 100% photographer gets assigned a story with 100 ft. tall snakes with tentacles ripping apart a space ship? Without CG art, go photograph THAT!)

Meghan can offer advice there, correct me there Meghan, but I think her winning art was very cool digital art ...

Here's some past IOTF winners' art (her digital work)

http://iof25.com/?q=maingallery
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Imagination Vortex » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:18 pm

Thanks for your help answering my questions. I think I'll just stick with jpg then to be safe.

Also thanks for the links. I guess my main question is how exactly did they create the art. Did they use some kind of computer tablet/pen, and illustrating or painting software? Here is an example of something someone created in terragen:

http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs18/f/2007/177/9/f/Planet_X_Terragen2_0_by_ghostydac.jpg

It fits with the theme of the contest, however using this program is more about the manipulation of shapes, lighting and surfaces. The program pretty much generates the landscape for you, but it still takes a long time to get the effects you want and to render the image. But I wouldn't want to enter and win, only to be told I'm disqualified because I didn't actual draw or paint the image. Of course like you said, photographs are acceptable. But maybe that's why the rules say "the use of photography in illustrations," so an artist can use a photograph and incorporate illustration into it as well. Maybe if I created some illustrations in the images they will be acceptable too?
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:06 pm

I'd suggest they use the term "illustration" very broadly ... not to mean that you have to draw or paint anything ... but that it is any visual imagination of the story prose. Back in the '70's it wasn't all that unusual to see a SCULPTURE "illustrating" a sci-fi or fantasy book cover.

I share your issue about where the line is concerning what's totally "original" art when it comes to a digital or Photoshop-manipulated image. I submitted Photoshop art to IOTF my first time, and got nuthin' ... the second time I tried pen & ink line art. Finalist, with encouraging scores and personal comments from judges ... so I stuck with that. I was a Finalist three times (winning with the last one). BUT ... my enthusiasm now is photo and photoshop. Every photoshop artist I know "borrows" -- if you need a spooky tree you either find a tree and snap it yourself, or use a free-use image of a tree, or buy someone's tree or (shhhhh, honestly?) steal three images of trees, blend them together, and it's arguably your original fusion of a tree etc.

If you go to my portfolio in link above? I'd never send in something with Lincoln in it (public domain or not) ... but this one:
Image
What I didn't snap with my own camera, is changed so much no one can say I didn't snap it myself, imo. I wouldn't hesitate to send it to the contest ... My point is: the judges might not like the art but there's zero doubt in my mind they'd 'disqualify' it.

AS AN ACTUAL ANTHOLOGY ILLUS though? Donald Trump might not like his name there; but he's there on a public sidewalk ten feet outside the Roosevelt Hotel where they put us up in L.A. ... so who knows how safe it is to use my photo?

CGI is still beyond me, but I promise you I could go thru any bookstore and show you dozens of pro-sold "cover art" images made by painting over a photograph, some famous model, this or that angle of the Sphinx ... none of which were actually PAID TO USE etc.

I'm sort of ... riffing beyond YOUR issue, to speak to the general IOTF'er contestant now. MY workshop was full of PAINTERS, painting and drawing still comprise the vast majority of the winning illustrators ... but soon enough the digital folks will be just as common, no doubt. Don't fear the digital. There's at least one POSER-based illustration in recent books, and ... well ... everyone can recognize bad Poser, but there are amazing Poser artists too.

The judges value ORIGINALITY, but imo that includes originality of vision as much as ... medium and technique.

IMO, I sure didn't squeak in a win because of any elegant pen & ink technique (I always told friends: I'll win sometime when there aren't any Eastern Europeans in the quarter -- because you look at 20 years of IOTF and they ROCK pen & ink in Mordor!)

Even the judges called me a 'primitivist' wotf019

But I figured being a writer-wannabe gave an alternate angle: Everything I sent in, I tried to make TELL A STORY.

Illustration is about capturing (or summoning) a STORY, where some (a few, but some. Or many) great painters tend to look a little ... portraity or "still-life of unicorn" ???

IOTF'ers might consider that too.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby gower21 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:49 pm

I'm working on my third picture right now for the portfolio. My question is: Do you think sticking to one medium type is best? Do you think now that ebooks and enhanced ebooks are going to be the big push that we should try to make at least one entry color? 90% of what I do is black and white, I lean to black and white and I like it better....

what is your opinion?

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:52 pm

gower21 wrote:I'm working on my third picture right now for the portfolio. My question is: Do you think sticking to one medium type is best? Do you think now that ebooks and enhanced ebooks are going to be the big push that we should try to make at least one entry color? 90% of what I do is black and white, I lean to black and white and I like it better....

what is your opinion?


While I'm not particularly informed on the Illustrator side, it sure looked to me like all of Pat Steiner's entries were black and white. That's assuming that the pictures they showed in the Awards show were his entries.
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby gower21 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:04 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
gower21 wrote:I'm working on my third picture right now for the portfolio. My question is: Do you think sticking to one medium type is best? Do you think now that ebooks and enhanced ebooks are going to be the big push that we should try to make at least one entry color? 90% of what I do is black and white, I lean to black and white and I like it better....

what is your opinion?


While I'm not particularly informed on the Illustrator side, it sure looked to me like all of Pat Steiner's entries were black and white. That's assuming that the pictures they showed in the Awards show were his entries.


They were. He had them posted on his website right after he won. I'm blanking on the name, but there was another guy who won that same quarter who had all ink black and whites too that were spectacular (the guy who did the huge murals). I do mostly charcoal, ink, pencil. I could do pastels on my charcoals if I wanted some color in there (NOT the one I'm entering though, color would absolutely ruin the whole thing). I've done exactly one painting my entire life. Prisma pencils are like 300$ for a set (but I have a ton of experience on them, so I'd be confident using them). I'd think about markers, but I have no experience on them so it would take a huge learning curve. I like the idea of oil pastels, but never finished anything I'd care about the next day with them...so you can see my dilemma. I'm hoping black and white will still stand a chance.

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Imagination Vortex » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:24 pm

soulmirror wrote:I'd suggest they use the term "illustration" very broadly ... not to mean that you have to draw or paint anything ... but that it is any visual imagination of the story prose. Back in the '70's it wasn't all that unusual to see a SCULPTURE "illustrating" a sci-fi or fantasy book cover.

I share your issue about where the line is concerning what's totally "original" art when it comes to a digital or Photoshop-manipulated image. I submitted Photoshop art to IOTF my first time, and got nuthin' ... the second time I tried pen & ink line art. Finalist, with encouraging scores and personal comments from judges ... so I stuck with that. I was a Finalist three times (winning with the last one). BUT ... my enthusiasm now is photo and photoshop. Every photoshop artist I know "borrows" -- if you need a spooky tree you either find a tree and snap it yourself, or use a free-use image of a tree, or buy someone's tree or (shhhhh, honestly?) steal three images of trees, blend them together, and it's arguably your original fusion of a tree etc.

If you go to my portfolio in link above? I'd never send in something with Lincoln in it (public domain or not) ... but this one:
Image
What I didn't snap with my own camera, is changed so much no one can say I didn't snap it myself, imo. I wouldn't hesitate to send it to the contest ... My point is: the judges might not like the art but there's zero doubt in my mind they'd 'disqualify' it.

AS AN ACTUAL ANTHOLOGY ILLUS though? Donald Trump might not like his name there; but he's there on a public sidewalk ten feet outside the Roosevelt Hotel where they put us up in L.A. ... so who knows how safe it is to use my photo?

CGI is still beyond me, but I promise you I could go thru any bookstore and show you dozens of pro-sold "cover art" images made by painting over a photograph, some famous model, this or that angle of the Sphinx ... none of which were actually PAID TO USE etc.

I'm sort of ... riffing beyond YOUR issue, to speak to the general IOTF'er contestant now. MY workshop was full of PAINTERS, painting and drawing still comprise the vast majority of the winning illustrators ... but soon enough the digital folks will be just as common, no doubt. Don't fear the digital. There's at least one POSER-based illustration in recent books, and ... well ... everyone can recognize bad Poser, but there are amazing Poser artists too.

The judges value ORIGINALITY, but imo that includes originality of vision as much as ... medium and technique.

IMO, I sure didn't squeak in a win because of any elegant pen & ink technique (I always told friends: I'll win sometime when there aren't any Eastern Europeans in the quarter -- because you look at 20 years of IOTF and they ROCK pen & ink in Mordor!)

Even the judges called me a 'primitivist' wotf019

But I figured being a writer-wannabe gave an alternate angle: Everything I sent in, I tried to make TELL A STORY.

Illustration is about capturing (or summoning) a STORY, where some (a few, but some. Or many) great painters tend to look a little ... portraity or "still-life of unicorn" ???

IOTF'ers might consider that too.


You bring up a lot of good points. I do a lot of work in photoshop too, and so I can understand why some people may feel it's not original art. But like you said, if you do manipulate a photo to the extent that it's unrecognizable, it could be considered your own art. Part of my major in college was conceptual information arts, which was all about questioning, and challenging traditional notions of what constitutes valid art media, contexts, and approaches. So I do a lot of work with different programs on the computer using this method. But like you said, I imagine most people who come to the workshop paint and draw, so it's hard not to fear the digital.

You are right though in that I think it's all about presentation and originality. It is an anthology after all, so I think images that tell a story would be better recieved than a portrait or a landscape.

Which also brings me to another question I just thought of. The contest rules say each illustration must represent a subject different from the other two. But what if the illustrations are also different styles? Can you submit, lets say, a painting, a computer image, and a photograph? While watching the contest I noticed that the while the winner's art had different subjects, their styles were the same. Were all 3 of your winning images pen and ink? I ask because I have a painting I think fits the contest, but I only have one. I wonder if mixing it up too much will make it more difficult to be judged as a whole. Do you know of anyone who has taken this approach and still won?
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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby soulmirror » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:37 am

All one medium and style ... or showing a variety? I can only offer an opinion. Focus on whatever ONE you think you do best, NOT because "variety for variety's sake" is wrong but because I can see how it COULD go wrong.

I did mix colour and B&W ... but to be honest it was only because I coloured in one of my ink drawings (I'm into comix, graphic novels, etc ... so that comes naturally anyway) ... The judges wouldn't have really seen any confusion of art style with mine.

I'd wonder / fear whether VERY DIFFERENT styles or techniques wouldn't confuse them: "If we assign this artist a story, WHICH STYLE will we get?" Imagine an ART DIRECTOR assigning you a project based on loving your DRAWING, and you send them a PHOTO.

I dunno, but even if you're equally great in several styles, I'd hit them with three of BASICALLY the same in any one quarter, IMO.

(There was one illustrator in our workshop who both draws and does Photoshop photography. I think he only entered drawings (?) but when he laid his portfolio out for the judges, he had what i thought were AMAZING PHOTOS, Gold-winning quality photos.
I asked "Did you think of submitting your PHOTO art?"
"Not really."

wotf003

But even HIM, I'd have said Don't Try to Mix Them.

Judges score you by about ten criteria (they're obvious criteria, you'll know them if you think, nothing "tricky" or mysterious) ... but one of them is something like "How well did you use your medium" ?

You'd be making the judges judge DIFFERENT MEDIA in one calculation, one score ... that's tricky.

In one of my non-winning finalist scorings, TWO of the judges gave me high scores and specifically pointed out certain things they really liked; the THIRD judge specifically HATED the same things the first two liked.

If you sent DIFFERENT styles all at once, might you not be giving any judge extra chances to find something to hate? (Which might be more LIKELY than all three finding different things to luv on?)

But I'm just GUESSING here. I'd say being able to do MANY THINGS gives you many better shots in different quarters ... but might confuse judges in any SINGLE quarter?
Image
'The only tyrant we accept in this world is the still voice within.' -Gandhi
IOTF:Winner Q1 vol.27 (3x Finalist); WOTF: HM x2

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Imagination Vortex » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:39 am

Yeah you are right, it's probably better to stick with one style. I'll just have to create a bunch of different things, and then later try to decide which ones best fit together. This will be my first time entering, so it's great to get all this helpful advice. Thanks soulmirror!
~You Are Now Entering Stephanie's Vortex~
WOTF: 1x Silver, 4x HM, 12x R
IOTF: 1x Semi, 2x R, 4x Into the Vortex

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Re: ILLUSTRATORS' Q & A

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:44 am

Just remember that one of their big criteria is telling a story with your art, not just showing a character or a scene.
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