November 24, 2016

Post Con Post: 2016

The three newest images that I brought along, making for a total of 18 new convention pieces this year.

So I just wrapped up the Calgary Expo Holiday Market, which means I'm officially done with cons for the year. Whew!

Normally I do a "post con post" after each convention that I exhibit at, but this year has been both very busy, and a little weird, so I've been hesitant. Instead I'll do a post con season post so that I can blast through this stuff and get back to making art.

First up, the new. This was the first year that I traveled with other artists, which helped to keep costs down, and made for some very entertaining weekends. It was also the first time I've flown to a convention (C4 Winnipeg) and the first year of the Calgary Expo Holiday Market (and I couldn't pass up supporting another local con, especially from this organizational team).

So how'd it all turn out? Overall, sales were way down. About two thirds what I normally make at Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, and about a sixth at the Holiday Market. This marks the first time that I've suffered a significant drop. The economy here in Alberta has been hit hard, as we're heavily invested in the oil & gas industry, so I'm assuming that's a big factor. That said, after my experience at the Calgary Expo Holiday Market, it's clear that I need to start being a lot more particular about where I'm placed in artist alley and how I set up my booth relative to my "neighbors" (being between two tables who build displays on top of their table, instead of having a stand behind them, meant that the only way to see me or my work was to already be standing in front of my booth, which is... not ideal).

Now, what comes next. First priority is ensuring that my display isn't so easily blocked, so I'll be ordering a new stand in the next couple of days. Then I'll be making some new signage, trying to figure out a banner, and reorganizing my table to make space for Boneshaker Press projects. I'd also like to purge a lot of old work both from my sketchbook and my print book, and build up new pieces to replace it.

Keep an eye on my instagram to see how that goes!

November 11, 2016

Inktober 2016 pt 4

Here's the last set of images for Inktober. Late because I couldn't justify pushing back other projects for an internet challenge, and I went a little above and beyond with the image for "wreck", but finally complete!

I learned a lot during the last month, and I think it's something I'll be referring to often as I continue to process the experience. One big take away was that I am too slow when it comes to dreaming up the basis for an image. I'm often paralyzed by the multitude of choices available and it takes a while to narrow down to something that I'm happy with. Opting for artificial constraints in the last two weeks helped a lot with this. If I didn't have an instant reaction to the prompt I would focus on ideas that fit within the fantasy genre, or one of my pre-existing properties.

However, it's worth noting that had I used that approach from the get go I would never have discovered Monty and Baz, characters that I quickly came to love. As with most things, I think balance is key. You've gotta work on creation just as much as you work execution. All in all it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to taking part again next year!

November 5, 2016

Inktober pt 3

Week 3!

Yikes... did I ever fall behind schedule. Knocked out by a nasty cold, and then busy getting ready for C4Winnipeg, and there just wasn't enough hours in the day. I'll be catching up over the next few days, and should have this finished sometime next week.

As far as notes on the experience go, I don't have a ton, but here are a couple quick thoughts.

One of the big changes I made this week was refusing to allow myself to push late into the night just to get an entry done. Given that the core of Inktober is to build good drawing habits, I felt it was necessary to cut that off, lest sleep deprivation be the thing that sticks with me once this is all said and done.

I also upped the complexity level of a few of these entries, and while it's nice to be able to say that I pushed myself, I think that was probably a mistake. It's tough to walk the line between speed and quality, and I'd say that I didn't focus on speed enough with this batch.

Alright week 4, bring it on!

October 19, 2016

Inktober pt 2

Alright, Inktober week 2 is complete!

I made some slight changes to my approach this week, and for the most part I'm pleased with the results. Pulling in pre-designed characters saved me a ton of time and helped to keep me interested throughout the process. But I still found that I was rushing to finish these in the dead of night, and I think a few suffered because of that. Overall though, I'm happy with the results.

Now, on to week 3!

October 9, 2016

Inktober pt 1


I'm a week into my first Inktober, and I'm having a blast! I'll be posting my work in batches here (every eight days, time permitting) and I'll also include some thoughts and reactions from the week.

First up, here are the rules for Inktober, pulled from the official site:
1 - Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2 - Post it online
3 - Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016
4- Repeat (you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or once a week. Whatever you decide, be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you're consistent, the better.

That's it! Now go make something beautiful.

And here are a few more constraints that I set for myself :

1 - New IP only (so no Spider-man, but also no characters or ideas from personal projects)
2 - Keep the pieces small. I've been cutting a 9x12 piece of bristol down to 9x6
3 - Traditional inks only (not that I don't love digital ink, but a big part of my interest in Inktober is pushing myself to get comfortable with traditional tools)
4 - Use the official Inktober prompt list
5 - Post every day, no break.
6 - No preplanning, no pencilling images a week ahead of time, nothing. Each day I start fresh and go from there.

For the most part these haven't been an issue, but the combo formed by the first and last constraint has proven costly. I'm spending a lot of time just getting to the point where I have something to ink, which takes my focus away from experimenting with these tools. I think having a conceptual framework to work within (be that a specific story, or cast of characters, or whatever) would speed up initial ideating process significantly.

Here are a few more quick thoughts that have occurred to me over the week:
I'm slow, and I need to work on that.
I'm getting a lot more eyes on my work than I did previously (note: I do almost no self promo, so the bar is set very low)
I'm pleased with the majority of what I've produced
Constantly experimenting with my process slows me down, and prevents me from streamlining
I'm noticing an improvement in my drawing after only 7 days
I'm happy that I haven't skipped a day, but...
Staying up until 3 to finish a drawing isn't something to be proud of, and it tends to make the next day even harder to get through
I've come up with a few concepts and characters that I would be happy to return to
Ink wash is very interesting to me, but in practice I just don't enjoy it as much as b/w line

All in all, it's been a good experience thus far, and I'm already thinking about what I'll do differently in the future. I'll make some adjustments for next week and see how that goes.

Do you do anything special to make Inktober an even better experience? If so I'd love to hear about it in the comments or on social media.