ICON5 4th of July NY

This is my first post on the blog. I thought I'd share some of my experiences at the ICON5 conference held at the Roosevelt Hotel. First, it was great to meet-up with a couple of other PBAAers: Anni Matsick and Barry Gott! The photo shows me on the left, Barry in the middle and Anni on the right.

I arrived via Lucky Bus service (a bargain $15.50 trip from Boston to NYC!) just barely in time for the Graphic Novels Workshop with James Sturm. He does more cartoony work than what I would envision doing but it was interesting to hear his process: (1) Loose sketching (2) Tighter sketches (3) Google search for reference images (4) Trace over images from search (5) Ink (rapidiograph) (6) Scan (threshold adjustments in PS) (7) Colorize in PS (8) Put individual cells in page grid (9) More illustrative style for end papers. He doesn't have to worry about the number of pages when telling his story but there is so much more art to make in order to tell the story. He handed out his "A Brief Introduction How to Draw Comics" book which he created for The Center of Cartoon Studios.

Next I took a hands-on session "Digital Coloring Workshop" with James Jean. This was so awesome. He handed each of us a CDROM which had a couple of his illustrations with all the layers and layer effects he used to create the images. He creates a very tight line art sketch which he scans on a EPson 10000 XL scanner and brings into PS. He uses the Adobe RGB 1998 color setting. On a separate layer, he creates random color fills to differentiate separate color areas using the polygon shape tool. This process he calls "Laying down flats." He duplicates the flat layer and starts building the general dark-to-light gradation for the picture. Then he tweaks the random color which was differentiated with the flat color layer. He also uses a lot of the layer effects available in PS CS3 software. Very cool technique!

Stanley Hainsworth, who has worked for Starbucks and Nike was the keynote speaker. He approaches his marketing efforts by focusing on "What Story are You Telling?". Having a story give the product power.

It was fun to hear Mitch Nash from Blue Q speech called "Dirty Girls and Cat's Butts." This group really thinks out of the box. Product include: Flat Cat, Instant Infant, Pimpin Presidents, Rinse Away Your Sins Body Wash, Dirty Girl soap products, cats butts magnet sets, mullet magnets, etc.

Mark Gallagher from Black Coffee (who started out as an illustrator) gave a "Revisioning/Rebranding Illustrators" session. He says calling yourself an illustrator gives a negative connotation. It's like you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do...instead of coming up with ideas on your own. You need to present yourself to the world as the total value package you provide.

The Moving Imagination: Concept Design in the Film and Gaming Industries was totally awesome. Works shown included Greg Spalenka, Barry Jackson, Stefon ?, Greg Scott. Things that are important: very quick turnaround, draw well, storyboards, visual development, 3d modeling, surface texture, lighting and 3d layout (camera view).

There was a lot more but it taking a while to write all this up... 'Hope this information was helpful. Here's one of my sketches from the closing lecturer, Kevin O'Callaghan who challenges his students at the NY School of Visual Arts to take things like YUGO cars and old typewriters to turn them into something else that is useful. The sketch I've attached is of the large sculptures the students created for a star carousel.


June said...

"calling yourself an illustrator gives a negative connotation. It's like you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do..."

Interesting, I had never thought of it this way or considered what others see us as.
For me I feel the word represents that in my work I 'make clear' a communication by drawing/painting. I suppose I do communicate other peoples ideas, but I do my own too!
Nice post Donna, thanks for the insight.

Peggy Collins said...

I like to think it means I actually get PAID to do my art. There are so many people who say 'I am an artist too!' (and while they may be - they think it is just fun little hobby).

Great post, sounds like a very exciting event!

Stephen Aitken said...

Thanks Donna...next best thing to being there. Is Kevan's hair really ass long as it looks on his spot on PBAA?

Stephen Aitken said...

Whoops. that's Barry not Kevan! and his hair isn't long at all. Glad to hear that there's lots of digital instruction and demos going on at the ICON5.

Andy J Smith illustration said...

Sounds like a wonderfully informative conference! Thanks so much for sharing!