In my last post, I shared with you the portfolio assembled to tackle the freelance artist market as it was in 1992. I was fresh from graduating college and ready to become a practicing professional artist. The only problem was just how to do that, and to do it quickly for I did not want to end up in my old career of landscaping and selling retail electronics.
Syracuse University has a wonderful program which displays the portfolios of students (now come pro) for the browsing pleasure of editors, art directors and other artists. This review offers a chance for students to gain a foothold in the marketplace through an initial contact with alumni or other professionals who may either hire the artist directly or redirect them as a referral.
|Raunok 1992 Oil on panel Sample I|
|354 West 110th Street Studio in NYC 1992|
Like clock work I arrived at his offices each month with new paintings to take a brow beating of critiques and return home with changes and improvements. I was working on my sixth sample when a phone call in late December change everything. Sal requested that I come into his office the next day...he had lined up my first professional commissions! Once in the office Sal handed me a list of 30 titles of classical novels which needed jacket illustrations, destined for the shelves of a mass media publisher. He asked me how many I could do in two months time. 'ALL OF THEM!' I wanted to scream, but good business sense won the day. I was already creating one image a month, if pushed hard I knew I could produce three covers in that two months time. I left the office with three unforgettable commissions, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, The Time Machine by HG Wells and Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. What a trio to illustrate for my first covers and the beginning of my career in the arts.
|A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 1993 Oil on Panel First book cover illustration|
Over the course of the next months I added more covers, samples and clients to my portfolio, replacing nearly every single piece from my graduating portfolio with that from the genre of book illustration. What a change one year can bring. In twelve months I had over 12 new paintings to start a career with and was on the path to creating the style of art you likely now know from me.
Below are a few other highlights from that first year of change...and thank you Sal for taking a chance and finding the time to nurture young, untested talent.
Best of luck to all those artists beginning their careers this year!
|Sword and the Pen 1992 Sample III|
|Gwindor at Angband 1992 Sample IV|
|Two-Edged Sword 1993 First Berkley Books Cover|
|Voyage 1993 First Tor Hard Cover Illustration|
|Alien 1992 Sample V|
|Still Life with Money 1993 Sample cover for Mystery Novels|