Thursday, July 7, 2016

ICON Illustration Convention

By Lauren Panepinto

This week I'm reporting from the road at the ICON Illustration Convention in Austin, Texas. ICON (get it? I-Con? Illustration-Con?) is a convention that happens every two years at a different location, and is considered a more "general" illustration con. Mainly attendees are from editorial and advertising and some publishing and product illustrators. I was asked to attend and give a workshop about SciFi/Fantasy Illustration aimed mostly at illustrators who want to get into the genre but don't already specialize in it.


I'm so used to going to SFF genre conventions like IlluXcon and Spectrum that I had to back my usual presentation up a lot and think about how to explain how the genre works for people who are not already insiders, which was interesting and gave me some interesting perspectives.


You guys get the title reference, right?



As fans of SFF, we often make choices by instinct — and because we have a lifetime of geek fandom saved up, we tend to just inherently understand the references and put them in our work instead of making conscious visual decisions. But how often do we really look at the genre and break it down in an aware way? So I'm going to share some of the topics and slides from my talk here as a jumping off point, and a reminder to be aware of the choices you are making instinctively—understand why you're making them and you can fine-tune them even further.

First of all, the most important thing to remember about SFF is that it's not a genre. It's 10 genres — at least. And each of these subgenres have different influences, different trends, and wax and wane in popularity independent of each other.


This is an extremely simplified view — I could easily make a chart with twice as many subgenres (Grimdark, anyone?) but I didn't want to scare the illustrators at ICON who weren't as knowledgeable about SFF. Each of the above subgenres are affected by different trends: for example, Urban Fantasy tends towards photos and very rendered illustrations (like Dan Dos Santos's work) because historically this subgenre is shared by romance fans, and that fanbase has been trained historically to look for photoshoots and hyper-real painting. Steampunk, on the other hand has different "genre checkpoints"...




As an Illustrator it's important that you understand the difference between the subgenres, and the genre checkpoints for each because then you can figure out ways to do these checkpoints in a new and fresh way. For example, one of the genre checkpoints for Adventure Fantasy is a guy in a hood and/or cloak. Not every book has one, but a hell of a lot of them do. Art Directors are desperate to figure out new ways to make a guy in a hood look fresh. So if you think about it, a guy in a hood isn't really about the hood — it's about mystery, about anonymity, and it's about the reader being able to insert themselves easily into the character (which is easier with an obscured face). If an illustrator can find a new way to give me the same sense of adventure and mystery in a new fresh way, then they have solved my problem for me, and a shit ton of work will come after them. If you look at Richard Anderson's work, his popularity in publishing over recent years has a lot to do with the fact that he is doing very typical epic and adventure fantasy scenes and characters — but his highly abstracted style makes it feel very fresh and new. Sam Weber also has a style where he can do very recognizable themes and characters from SFF in a style and color palette that is uniquely his and also feels very fresh and contemporary. Sam's work also crosses the SFF genre boundary and appeals to mainstream readers as well — the muted color palette really helps with that.

It's not a mystery why these illustrators are getting work over and over and over again — they're making smart decisions because they really understand the fanbases.

Then we talked about the popularity of geek media in general in the culture creating a bit of friction between the old-school hardcore SFF fanbase and the newer fans. 


I made the case that the evolution of Star Wars over the trilogies is a metaphor for geek culture in general. The original trilogy was for a hardcore geek fanbase. Then the prequels tried to be for everyone, and ended up alienating the original fanbase, even as they were massively successful in the mainstream. Now the new movies seem to be trying to split the difference, pleasing the diehard fans as well as the mainstream casual fans. This balance is what SFF publishing, and especially my work at Orbit, is always trying to achieve: please the geek fandoms, yet also expand the audience at the same time.

Are geeks really geeks anymore if they're the cool kids?
Is there much difference between a geek and a hipster these days?

Then finally we talked practically, about how to find work in the SFF genre. You guys have heard a lot of the columnists here on Muddy Colors give advice on this topic, especially yours truly, but I tried to boil it down as much as possible. There's 3 ways to have a successful career in SFF art:





And then last but not least I gave out some resource lists, of course including this very blog:



So that's my report from ICON for now — it's only day 1, so more to come later!






24 comments:

  1. Is that Jesper Ejsing being dreamy in suspenders?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My name is Adams Bella, i live in UK. My life is back!!! My husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all.I came across several testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and also spell to get a good paid job so on. It was very amazing, i also come across one particular testimony, it was about a woman called Renne, she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped his email.After reading all these, I decided to give it a try. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We resolved our issues, and we are even happier than ever.Dr.Trust you are a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster, Try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems. (Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or Ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com) or call him +2348156885231. Via web sit: http://ultimatespellcast8.wix.com/ultimatespellcast

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    2. Are you in bad need of love spell to bring back your ex lover or reunite your marriage? Email Dr. Zaba for fast solution. I had a problem with my husband a year and six months ago, which lead us apart. When he broke up with me, I was confuse and did not know what to do to get him back, I felt so empty inside. Until i came across Dr.Zaba on the internet on how He has helped so many people solve there various problem. I emailed Him and I told Him my problem and i did what he asked me to do for him to help me, to briefly make the long story short, Before I knew it, in less than 24 HOURS, my Husband gave me a call and he came back to me and told me he was sorry about what was going on between the both of us. Finally I am writing this testimony to offer my thanks and deep gratitude to you Dr. Zaba for keeping to your words and your promises in bringing him back to me in just 24 hours of your powerful spell casting, and for using your gifted and great powers to bring him back. If you need his help, you can email him at: Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com or call +1 (978) 290-5206 Reach him through his Web http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell Amara Carr from Australia

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    3. My name is Gary David. I do not know how to thank GREAT ZABA for bringing happiness back to my family. i do really wanna tell the whole world that there is a spell caster called Dr. Zaba that is so real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things but when i lose my wife for 4 years, i required help until i found a great spell caster,and he assured me that I will get my wife back in just 24hours but i was in doubt, and after the spell has been cast, 24hours later, just as the spell caster said, my phone rang, and surprisingly it was my wife who has not called me for the past 4 years, and she made an apology for the pain she has caused me and she told me that she is ready to come back home for me. Dr. Zaba really made her know how much i loved and needed her. And he also opened her eyes to picture how much love we have to share together. I will keep sharing this testimony all over the world. All thanks goes to Dr. Zaba for the good work that he has done for me. Contact him now because he is very powerful and he will always help you. Believe him and do all he ask you to do and never doubt him in any way. Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com his website http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell Text him:+1 (978) 290-5206

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  2. Lauren:

    Thank you for this article. As a older fan of Comic Art, Sci-Fi and fantasy, I found this very informative and articulate.
    Sometimes the genres do become very complicated to define and blend into each other. I find myself having this discussion with friends about what is fantasy art and what is considered fine art. These categories you've outlined here really make me want to take another look. You could also add Metaphysical fiction to that list, even though it is not a widely popular genre. I suspect you have much more you know about, and these are the more common ones.

    The outlines you provided in regards to Illustrators finding work SFF is very helpful.This is a genre in publishing that doesn't get taken seriously or have enough information. It is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG!!! I am so proud and happy to be out here sharing this remarkable, awesome and extraordinary review of your work Dr. Zaba. I just can't believe this now my ex Husband is really back to me on his knees presenting a ruby rose begging me to take him back and he was feeling regretful and sorry for leaving me and for causing me pains after the divorce which occurred last year. And this whole miracle happened after i ordered an urgent 24hours Dr.Zaba powerful spell which he cast on me and my husband. Sir I am the happiest woman today in this whole wide world. Dr. Zaba you really did it..Yes.. Its a miracle and everlasting pleasure and cheerfulness for me and my family today.. I am so happy now and i dont know how much to convey my thankfulness and appreciation to you sir. And to the whole world, contact him if you need urgent help now because its guaranteed that he will help you. website http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell or email him Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com call +1 (978) 290-5206

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  3. ICON always sounds like an eye-opening experience for getting outside of my favorite genre. Thanks for sharing your presentation! The resources section is especially useful, as I've not heard of some of the cover blogs. I look forward to perusing them!

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  4. The "further study" is a great list IF you have money. Most of the younger, newer artists don't have this kind of money. How about a list for them?

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    Replies
    1. This IS a list for them as well. More than half the resources on those two slides are free blogs and low-cost online classes like Schoolism and Art Business Bootcamp. It costs nothing to ask a question on Dear AD or to read Muddy Colors.

      The fact of the matter is, to provide solid educational content costs money, and you can't expect artists to go into debt helping other artists. Videos cost money, and time spent away from paying work also costs money. You do what you can when you can afford it, as both an educator and a student.

      Delete
    2. Thank You for this Free post, Also saving me a trip to Austin to even get this info! Now I will go practice making guys in hoods...

      Delete
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  7. My name is Adams Bella, i live in UK. My life is back!!! My husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all.I came across several testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and also spell to get a good paid job so on. It was very amazing, i also come across one particular testimony, it was about a woman called Renne, she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped his email.After reading all these, I decided to give it a try. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We resolved our issues, and we are even happier than ever.Dr.Trust you are a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster, Try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems. (Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or Ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com) or call him +2348156885231. Via web sit: http://ultimatespellcast8.wix.com/ultimatespellcast


    My name is Adams Bella, i live in UK. My life is back!!! My husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all.I came across several testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and also spell to get a good paid job so on. It was very amazing, i also come across one particular testimony, it was about a woman called Renne, she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped his email.After reading all these, I decided to give it a try. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We resolved our issues, and we are even happier than ever.Dr.Trust you are a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster, Try him anytime, he is the answer to your problems. (Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or Ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com) or call him +2348156885231. Via web sit: http://ultimatespellcast8.wix.com/ultimatespellcast

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  8. Are you in bad need of love spell to bring back your ex lover or reunite your marriage? Email Dr. Zaba for fast solution. I had a problem with my husband a year and six months ago, which lead us apart. When he broke up with me, I was confuse and did not know what to do to get him back, I felt so empty inside. Until i came across Dr.Zaba on the internet on how He has helped so many people solve there various problem. I emailed Him and I told Him my problem and i did what he asked me to do for him to help me, to briefly make the long story short, Before I knew it, in less than 24 HOURS, my Husband gave me a call and he came back to me and told me he was sorry about what was going on between the both of us. Finally I am writing this testimony to offer my thanks and deep gratitude to you Dr. Zaba for keeping to your words and your promises in bringing him back to me in just 24 hours of your powerful spell casting, and for using your gifted and great powers to bring him back. If you need his help, you can email him at: Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com or call +1 (978) 290-5206 Reach him through his Web http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell Amara Carr from Australia

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  9. I had been living in great bondage for the past 4 years suffering in the hands of a cheating husband. We were living happily until he meant his old time girl friend and he started dating her again outside our marriage and before i knew it he stopped caring for his own family, to the extent that he was planning to marry her and divorce me. I cried and reported him to his family members but he never listened to anyone and to cut the story short, i came in search for a real spell caster who could destroy their relationship and make him come back to me and our 2 kids again; on my search i saw people sharing testimony on how their marriage was restored by Professor Rojo and, then i pick his email and told him the problem that i was going through, and he agreed to help me and told me never to worry. After he had finished casting the spell, on the second day, they both had a quarrel and he beat up his girlfriend, break up with her and he returned back home begging me to forgive him that his eyes are clear now that he will never do anything that will hurt his family again and promise to be a caring father and never to cheat on me again. I am so glad that i did not lose him to the girl and all appreciation goes to Professor Rojo for his great work. You are a Great spell caster and to you all that are faced with this similar problem in your matrimonial home, please contact him now on rojospiritualtemple@gmail.com. Mobile contact: +2349024517344

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  10. I broke up with my boyfriend almost 3 months ago. Within a week he had a new girlfriend. He told me he just wants to be friends i agreed but could not get over him, I felt like I lost my one and only true love, my situation became a bit complicated and a bit different than the “normal breakups, ”but thanks to manifestspellcast@yahoo.com for bringing my lover back to me,...when i first contacted him, i was very unsure if a love spell can bring my lover back... But after such a long time of loneliness i decided that Manifest Spell should do a love spell for me to get my lover back. Well after Manifest Spell cast the spell and told me what to do, within few days my lover came back feeling so sorry for living me lonely for 3 months, the love spell was so amazing that i could not believe what was happening. my lover came to my house and asked for reconciliation... he now shows me love more than before thanks.

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  13. My name is Gary David. I do not know how to thank GREAT ZABA for bringing happiness back to my family. i do really wanna tell the whole world that there is a spell caster called Dr. Zaba that is so real and genuine. I never believed in any of these things but when i lose my wife for 4 years, i required help until i found a great spell caster,and he assured me that I will get my wife back in just 24hours but i was in doubt, and after the spell has been cast, 24hours later, just as the spell caster said, my phone rang, and surprisingly it was my wife who has not called me for the past 4 years, and she made an apology for the pain she has caused me and she told me that she is ready to come back home for me. Dr. Zaba really made her know how much i loved and needed her. And he also opened her eyes to picture how much love we have to share together. I will keep sharing this testimony all over the world. All thanks goes to Dr. Zaba for the good work that he has done for me. Contact him now because he is very powerful and he will always help you. Believe him and do all he ask you to do and never doubt him in any way. Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com his website http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell Text him:+1 (978) 290-5206

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  15. OMG!!! I am so proud and happy to be out here sharing this remarkable, awesome and extraordinary review of your work Dr. Zaba. I just can't believe this now my ex Husband is really back to me on his knees presenting a ruby rose begging me to take him back and he was feeling regretful and sorry for leaving me and for causing me pains after the divorce which occurred last year. And this whole miracle happened after i ordered an urgent 24hours Dr.Zaba powerful spell which he cast on me and my husband. Sir I am the happiest woman today in this whole wide world. Dr. Zaba you really did it..Yes.. Its a miracle and everlasting pleasure and cheerfulness for me and my family today.. I am so happy now and i dont know how much to convey my thankfulness and appreciation to you sir. And to the whole world, contact him if you need urgent help now because its guaranteed that he will help you. website http://zaba24hoursspell.wixsite.com/zabaspell or email him Zaba24hoursspell@yahoo.com call +1 (978) 290-5206

    ReplyDelete
  16. Am from USA, When I eventually found testimonies about this spell caster Dr iyaryi how he helped many people to get their lovers and broken homes back, i contacted him through his email address (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) because my boyfriend whom i really love with all my heart and also love me too, but suddenly change and turned his back on me and hated me with passion I was absolutely desperate to get my boyfriend back. Life without my boyfriend was a real mess for me and my parent I wanted a dramatic change and I thought magic could be the solution. After discussing the resolution with Dr ayaryi he gave me hope that he will restore my relationship back because he already engaged me. I felt confident that he will actually make my boyfriend to return home and he did! It’s fantastic what this great spell caster have done for me, his help is priceless! I don't know what I would have done without Dr ayaryi does his job so well he is organized and highly functional, i believe he is the best spell caster i can count on when it comes to all kinds of spell, I was floored that his spells worked, if you need help, contact him (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) I assure you things will turn around for you..

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  17. Am from USA, When I eventually found testimonies about this spell caster Dr iyaryi how he helped many people to get their lovers and broken homes back, i contacted him through his email address (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) because my boyfriend whom i really love with all my heart and also love me too, but suddenly change and turned his back on me and hated me with passion I was absolutely desperate to get my boyfriend back. Life without my boyfriend was a real mess for me and my parent I wanted a dramatic change and I thought magic could be the solution. After discussing the resolution with Dr ayaryi he gave me hope that he will restore my relationship back because he already engaged me. I felt confident that he will actually make my boyfriend to return home and he did! It’s fantastic what this great spell caster have done for me, his help is priceless! I don't know what I would have done without Dr ayaryi does his job so well he is organized and highly functional, i believe he is the best spell caster i can count on when it comes to all kinds of spell, I was floored that his spells worked, if you need help, contact him (driayaryi2012@hotmail.com) I assure you things will turn around for you..

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