Children

Art Adventures at Comic Cons

Krister Eide at Norwescon 42 Comic Con
This past weekend was Norwescon 42, a great science fiction – fantasy convention that takes place in Seattle. I’m early on in my adventures as an artist in comic cons, but it has been a great experience.

It was inspiring to be in an art show with so many artists I admire. I also ended up selling 10 prints and a large digital canvas and to cap it off, I was able to have my portfolio reviewed by Guest of Honor Tran Nguyen, Scott Douwes, Bryan Syme, and Chelsea Santamaria! They were all super positive and had great practical advice about how to make some of my portfolio pieces better. I also went to a bunch of great panels that ranged from world building to writing children’s books and empathy in characters. Probably about 100 people or so took my business cards.

This is my third con. The first show I ever attended was the San  Diego Comic Con Art Show. I didn’t even have a badge to get into the convention proper, but the art show didn’t require it. The next con was a local con, Radcon, another science fiction fantasy convention that takes place in Pasco, WA. They have a mail order option for artists, and was also happy to find out that I sold just about half of the prints that I sent.

I’m still on a huge learning curve for these, but I can’t say enough about what a great experience they are. It’s great to get to meet and enjoy the artwork of fellow artists, but also connect with people who like my illustrations. I’m grateful to the professional artists who took the time to give me helpful feedback.

I’m graduating soon, and I’m looking forward to finally working full time on my own projects. I’ve already heard that I can send pieces to Orycon in Oregon, Bubonicon in New Mexico, and Armadillocon in Texas this summer and Fall. My next step is to have enough material for an artist alley – and of course I’ll still be working on my picture book dummy.

ADVICE FOR ARTIST NEWBIES CONSIDERING THEIR FIRST COMIC CONVENTIONS AND ART SHOWS

If any of you have any questions about conventions, just ask me.  The easiest conventions for artists to send work to are those where the organization running the con collect the taxes. Conventions in California still require registering with the Board of Equalization, but it’s pretty straightforward.

There are some great blog posts and videos out there about resources for artists alleys. Here are some of my favorites:

Naomi Van Doren at 1 Fantastic Week Traveling to Conventions By Plan (how she packs)

Based on what I learned from many other con artists, I prefer to print at 11×14 inches and sell prints with a backing board in a clear bag. Sometimes if you have too many sizes, your end up paying more for supplies and the bookkeeping can be more difficult.

If I have a lot of prints to make and have time, I will order through Cat Print. If you click at the link, you will get $10 off your first order and I will get a similar coupon. I recommend getting the free hard copy proofs to adjust the exposure. The majority of prints I ordered were great, but a few were underexposed and dull. When I contacted support, they sent a return label and credited me for them or offered a 30% off a new order.

After getting to know it better, we finally love our Artisan Epson 1430 printer. The print quality can be great, but it’s also dependent on the paper you choose and buying cartridges can be very costly. At a CTNX convention, I spoke to an artist who was at the Red River Paper booth. He told me about CISinks.com. YMMV, but I only wish I had discovered this sooner. You can dramatically reduce your prices per print with this continuous ink system and also make color and exposure adjustments that otherwise could be expensive with an outside printer. I initially bought Red River paper, but their matte paper catches in the Artisan 1430 (I learned about other artists who had this problem). Instead, Finestra Premium Matte is a terrific paper, it feeds smoothly and it’s less expensive too. I just set the printer on Epson Photo Quality and had great results.

Other Convention Print Supplies

Clear Storage Bags
Backing Boards

The nice thing about comic cons is that without too much $ up front, you can promote your work to prospective fans, clients, and art directors, sell some work, and get to know other artists and creatives. There are a lot of differences between cons (some are more popular entertainment oriented, others are more literary, and others more arts-focused ), but there’s a wide variety of art at these conventions and  with a little research, you can find the ones that suit you best. Some of the more popular cons are getting harder to get in (need to jury in), but many are still first-come, first-serve.

For more information about getting started in cons, check out
1 Fantastic Week
3 Point Perspective Podcast
Artist Alley Network International on Facebook

 

 

Home Stretch on my BFA – More Squids

Dustcover-no-title

Hard to believe it, but I’m finally on the homestretch on my BFA. I just finished Children’s Book Illustration II and I only have my graduation portfolio to go.

I’ve been working revising my Captain Nemo the great horned owl and Professor Arronax’s trusty research assistant Consay the badger has also gotten a little rehab.

I’ve got more illustrations to show you. The best thing about the past few weeks is that I have a animal picture book dummy on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that’s finally coming together!

Dragon Rider


I just had this postcard made up in time for the SCBWI Publisher’s Bootcamp this weekend. There’s going to a talks by local agents and art director Goldstein from Sasquatch books and a 4 minute pitch round where I’ll get a chance to pitch a book idea.

SCBWI Western Washington has been a great branch of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators helping people learn more about book publishing and hopefully get published themselves.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I’ve finally had chance to work more on an animal version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo is a Great Horned Owl, Professor Aronnax is a rabbit and his dedicated servant Conseil is a badger.

I’m also working on a picture book dummy for my children’s book illustration class. I’ve chosen the Velveteen rabbit.

I’m really enjoying children’s book illustration class and my local SCBWI chapter told me that the wonderful children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney will be in Seattle next week at the US Board on Books for Young People conference. He’s also going to be signing books at the Secret Garden bookstore. I’ll try to report on the conference here. The illustrators and authors are pretty incredible. There’s also a pre-conference tour that University of Washington is giving of their special collection of children’s book illustrations.

Last weekend when I was working at the wildlife rehab center, we got to see a very cute saw-whet owl. I think he had been hit by a car, but seems to be recovering well.

 

 

 

 

Western Washington SCBWI Spring Conference – This Week!

I’m be  attending my first Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference this week in Redmond. I’m doing some tweaks to my portfolio (here’s my new improved Snow Queen) and printing up business cards and postcards.

I’m signed up for the Illustrator Intensive “Hard Things to Draw” with David Small (see some of his covers below) as well as participating in the Juried Portfolio show. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of portfolios and hearing from other illustrators and writers, art directors, and agents. I’ve heard these conferences are great for networking and getting started in children’s books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my design for a business card: 

I’m also doing  film class this RMCAD quarter, so I’m putting together a short film discussion of the movie, Vertigo.

I had a great chance to interview author and film critic Jeffrey Overstreet and attorney and film lecturer Robert Cumbow, in addition to my family. I even attended a 6-hour Cinema Dissection of Vertigo at the Seattle International Film Festival Center which gave me an even deeper understanding of the film.

Playful Crow – My First Etsy Store

barn-swallow-thank-you-amazon

squirrel-card-etsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m just setting up my first Etsy store here: Playful Crow.
angel-8x10-nosignature

Check out my store and see if there’s anything you might like. At left is a rescue duck named Angel who was a favorite uncle duck to 13 little ducklings in our backyard pond.

If you’re experienced with Etsy, please share any tips. I just had my first sale last week.

Western Civ II is now behind me (I like Dostoevsky best) and Film started this week. After this quarter, I’ll be back to Studio classes and I’ve really been looking forward to taking Animal Anatomy.

Bird Beaks and Eats

Here’s some illustrations I was asked to make by my local Audubon society, Pilchuck Audubon. Jim Beneteau and other volunteers give lectures to school children about different beak adaptations and how they’re suited to what they eat. They didn’t have good visual illustrations, so I made these prints for them for their traveling kit.

Jim, Valerie, and Laurel asked for common birds that children might recognize in their backyards. The nice thing about having more picture of birds and what they eat is that students can think more about they are actually seeing. There’s the barn swallow that needs dart around quickly to grab insects, hummingbird that sips nectar deep in flowers, robin that digs around in dirt for worms, and pelican who eats fish.

If anyone is interested in purchasing cards for their classroom, they can contact me HERE.

My next painting is for Seattle Audubon. I’ll be painting a marbled murrelet which is an endangered species in Washington, Oregon, and California. It’s a sea bird that nests miles inland in old growth forests, so its vulnerable in both ocean and forest habitats. Its a neat bird that has webbed feet, but also is found in the tops of trees.

 

Still Life – Otis in His Study

Here’s my final project for Still Life Painting. It was a great fun. The assignment was to create a composition that included ceramic, glass, and metal. I included Otis, who  is a bird that I grew up with on our front table. He was molded by talented ceramicist Stephani Stephenson of Revival Arts Studio (her Facebook page is here). It was nice to be in touch with her after all these years.

From Otis, I learned a lot more about handling acrylic. For this piece, I used Ampersand Aquabord, Golden Acrylic, and Holbein Fluid Acrylic.

I’m also excited to share that I sold my first work through my website (thanks Garret!) and two additional works through the Gage Small Works show.

otis-step-1otis-step-2 otis-step3

Value Studies and Final Snow Queen Painting

After sketching thumbnails for my Gerda vs. the Snow Queen’s Snow Bees painting, I created 3 quick 3-value thumbnails to decide on the final composition. I found it really helps separating out the composition and value decisions before committing to a final work. Because I wanted to base the painting on the original Hans Christian Andersen story, I also want to work in the detail that he had about the palace being lit by Northern Lights.

Although I liked the extremes of values in the value study, I settled on the 3rd study because I liked the idea that the shadows on the hill would be pointing to Gerda, my focal point. I added some hills in the background to create greater depth and also added more complex branchwork in the final.

I started out with pencil and watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, but finished the piece digitally using Procreate and an Ipad Pro because I could play around with different color combinations before deciding on a final. I really like Procreate and the Apple Pencil because the process of illustrating with them is so close to real pencil, paper, and paint – but with much more flexibility with materials and undo’s. I had an earlier version, but Phil my teacher and classmate China suggested good feedback about brightening up the colors among other things. Our next assignment should be fun – drawing caricatures. I’ve picked my subject already…Edgar Allan Poe.

krister-value-2 krister-value-3krister-value-1

Changing Reality – Life Drawing

charles-jeong-realistic-2We had an interesting discussion this past week about realistic (or hyper-realistic) painting vs. realistic
painting with fantastic elements. A fellow student shared some of the hyper-realistic paintings of Charles Jeong from South Korea. I shared  Allen Williams’ If Beauty Were a Book, done in graphite.Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.26.07 PM

I realized while I like representational art, I prefer works that convey emotion or story more than complete accuracy.

In our final assignment of the class (costume figure), I decided to change it up a bit and use color and value changes, and even changes in the model to alter the mood.

girl-reading-referencereading-girl-final
It great to get back painting again. I combined a gouache underpainting with transparent watercolor and then Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and little touches of Sennelier pastels for highlights. It was nice to see that all of the media seemed to work together.

Had a great time with the critique group through SCBWI last weekend. Now I have a week off before starting Concept Illustration.