Illustration by Kirsten McCrea
It’s no secret that cocktail napkins have long served as the unofficial medium for spontaneous brilliance. From award winning films to Fortune 500 companies, some of the world’s boldest ideas unfolded on a bar napkin. To help celebrate this phenomenon, Tuaca Liqueur is inviting artists of all backgrounds to share what ignites their creativity, on what is arguably the perfect canvas for serendipitous inspiration.
The idea is simple: Draw, doodle or illustrate whatever it is that inspires you on a cocktail napkin. Then, snap a photo of your creation and upload it to our virtual gallery at Tuacaart.com.
One grand prize winner will be awarded $5,000 while 5 contestants will be selected for a $500 prize. Qualified entrants must be 21 years of age or over, reside in the United States and submit their artwork by 4:59 PM CT on April 30, 2014.
For complete details and rules or to just check out the gallery, click here.
Post by Natalie
Sarah Ferone is an illustrator based in Philadelphia. She had a long career as a graphic designer and made the switch to illustration about a year ago. Since then, she has found a love for food illustration, natural and scientific subjects such as gardens and botanicals, and urban and environmental themes. Her work includes editorial illustration, packaging, and pattern and surface design.
See more of Sarah’s work on her website.
SIZZLE with these pencils from JetPens.
Some Monday motivation for you, and no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. The good people at JetPens have donated two more prizes this week. A slick uni mechanical pencil, or a full set of blackwing pencils. I use these blackwings and they’re awesomely smooth.
How to Enter
Submit an illustration for the topic of the week, SIZZLE (here’s how). It’s that easy! We will pick one lucky winner at random from the comments, and our regular Pick of the Week will get the set of two.
How to Help IF Get More Giveaways
SHARE the heck out of this to let JetPens know that you’re excited about it and you want this to happen all the time! Share everywhere you can, and tag them so they know. Here are a few specific ways to do that.
- Comment on this post, and link to your entry.
- Comment on our post on Facebook.
- Tag @JetPens on Twitter (https://twitter.com/JetPens)
- Like and tag them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JetPens)
- Follow and tag on Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+JetpensPage/posts)
- Follow and tag on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/JetPens/)
- Same for Tumblr! (http://jetpens.tumblr.com/)
Thanks again to JetPens for their generous sponsorship of this exciting giveaway.
Sarah Robbins is a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, and still calls Baltimore her home. Originally from Texas, she makes vibrant illustrations that translate well to both print and digital media. I love her thick line work and dynamic sense of composition!
Sam Wolfe Connelly’s star is rising. Just a few short years out of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Sam has done everything from Magic cards, to gallery shows. He boasts both illustration and gallery representation in NYC, one of the toughest markets around for this kind of work.
Sam was kind enough to take a little time to answer our interview questions this week. Enjoy his answers, and some of his work below.
- Hi! Thanks for joining us on Illustration Friday, where we sketch to new words/topics every week. We like to draw on Fridays. What do you do to keep up your chops when not working on client work?
I dont really keep a sketchbook, but I’m always working on something. Between jobs I tend to use my time towards gallery paintings and finishing other side projects.
- Why did you become an illustrator? Why art, why not fine art, why not a designer?
I mainly chose illustration because it seemed like a somewhat steady way to still draw what I wanted and at the same time, have a constant income of clients that could help me pay the bills after school. Lately I’ve been seeing my work move more into a gallery setting, which is where I’ve always wanted to end up, and it seems like the natural progression for my stuff to take since I like working more with personal themes.
- How did you find your first client, or how did they find you?
My first client was with Playboy, who ended up contacting me after I had sent them a pamphlet with a number of my colored prints and a few hand drawn details on it. It came as a total shock and I remember feeling so nervous to work with such a big publisher at the time. The more jobs I got though, the more comfortable I’ve been around art directors and it really reflects in the work I think.
- What were the biggest mistakes you made early in your career? What did you learn?
My biggest mistake was probably to try and formulate my style to what I saw was succeeding around me. Towards the end of school I felt really out of touch with my work because I had spent too much effort towards wanting to be an artist clients would want instead of drawing for me. As soon as I started drawing things the way I wanted them I began to really see my own ‘style’ begin to flourish.
- What advice would you give to up-and-coming illustrators who want to break in?
Dont take failure to heart. Everyone gets rejection along the way, but you’ve gotta keep going.
Fox in Socks
If you’re in London, check out this two-day course taught by specialists that will give you the business skills to succeed as a professional illustrator.
The intensive course has been put together to help any illustrator acquire the knowledge and critical skills crucial to building a successful career. Each session is tailored to provide an essential step-by-step guide to a successful freelance career. It is also an exciting opportunity to meet with peers and get indispensable practical advice and support from industry experts. Each day there will be an opportunity to visit Pick Me Up, Graphic Arts Fair with a 20% discount on the entry price.
Students, AOI & SCBWI members £50 per day, £90 for both days.
Non members £60 per day, £110 for both days
Advance booking required, call 020 7759 1012 to pay by credit or debit card.
Click here to find out more.
Guest speakers include:
Fig Taylor, AOI portfolio consultant
James Louis, Business Education & Support Team, HM Revenue and Customs
Derek Brazell, AOI Project Manager and Illustrator
Matthew Shearer, AOI Membership Manager
Victoria Pearce, Senior Agent at Illustration Limited
Alex Jenkins, a Director of interactive content for digital spaces
Alex Mathers, Illustrator and Writer
Anna Steinberg, Lecturer and Illustrator
We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Antonija M., our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘RED’. You can also see a gallery of all the other inspiring entries here.
And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:
Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).
Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.
Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).
Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!
Sammy Slabbnick uses playful vintage clippings to create quirky, appealing landscapes with a surreal quality. His images echo predecessors like Terry Gilliam very strongly. Speaking of animation, he makes short stop motions on Vine as well, be sure to give them a look!
Post by James
Lo Cole designed the album sleeve artwork for Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome,’ and has been working as an illustrator ever since. He’s presently illustrating the weekly ‘What I’m Really Thinking’ and ‘Bello’ columns for the Guardian Weekend Magazine, and does illustrations weekly for The Economist, amongst other things.
Cole is also a printmaker and has regularly exhibited his prints in many regional and London galleries. These days he’s making and producing prints digitally from his studio in Gloucestershire.
You can see more of Lo Cole’s work on the paper products and greeting card company website he owns with his wife, Imaginary Press.
Are you looking for an Art Rep?
You may discover that the search for an art rep shares a lot of similarities with the search for clients. This makes perfect sense, because what you’re looking for is someone to do the hunting for you.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Narrow Your Focus
Before you start contacting every art rep in sight, it’s important to determine which ones are operating in your target market, otherwise you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and energy (both yours and the agents’) by embarking on a wild goose chase. Some art reps specialize in Children’s Books, some focus solely on Editorial Illustration, and some may concentrate on specific styles or media.
Despite what some may think, the buckshot approach simply won’t work. If your style and desired field of Illustration don’t mesh with the expertise and focus of the art rep you’ve contacted, they most likely won’t even bother responding. If they do respond, it’s actually a good sign that the agent doesn’t specialize in any particular field, which can dilute their efforts to find you relevant work.
Some key things to look for are the market that the agent focuses on, as well as the style and level of talent of some of the other artists they represent. You can get a good idea about these factors just by visiting the agents’ website and looking through their About page and the Illustrators’ portfolios.
Do a Quality Check
In addition to narrowing your focus to suit your desired market, you should also try to determine the quality of service that the art rep provides. While this can be difficult to do at first glance, it should be relatively easy to weed out the ones you want nothing to do with if you follow your instincts.
For example, if an agent represents artists of low quality, your association with them will serve to devalue your own work. In addition, an agency that works with too large a list of Illustrators, you are less likely to get the one-on-one attention that you deserve, which will defeat the purpose of working with an art rep to begin with. What you want is a representative that you can be proud to work with, and who has enough room in their business to help you succeed.
Keep in mind that an art rep should impress you just as much as you want to impress them, because what you’re seeking is a mutually beneficial relationship, and you’re going to need them to impress potential clients as well.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a more select group of potential art reps, one of the best steps that you can take is to contact the other artists who are being represented by them. By reaching out in this way, you can find out how much work the agent secures for them, what their commission is, how they work, how promptly they pay, what responsibilities fall on the artist, and any other pertinent information to help you make your decision.
You may also consider contacting some of the clients that the art reps works with in order to get an idea of the impression that they make in the industry.
Now that you’ve found a workable group of artist representatives you’d like to contact, make sure your portfolio is up to par, select a few of your best and most relevant images to send, and take the time to put together a professional, straightforward letter of inquiry. The idea at this point is to make the best first impression that you can, just like when contacting potential clients.
Also, it’s a good idea to present an open-ended inquiry. In other words, try to approach them with an interest in starting a dialogue, rather than asking them the yes/no question of “Would you like to represent me?”
In Episode 6 of the EFII Podcast, Illustrator Penny Dullaghan talks about how she initiated contact with art reps by requesting a critique of her work. In fact, she didn’t even mention the possibility of working with them in her first email.
If you’ve found one or more art reps that you’d like to work with, try to follow up on your initial contact by sending updates on your new work at regular intervals. You don’t want to overdue it by harassing them every week, but you do want to try and build relationships with them and stay on their radar, because even if they don’t see your potential at first, your work may soon reach a level that they think they can successfully promote. (To hear how some other Illustrators have used this approach, listen to Episode 6 of the EFII Podcast with Penny Dullaghan, as well as Episode 14 with Holli Conger.)
What’s your experience? We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments.