Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Rant About Artists Not Publishing Their Phone Numbers!!!

Disclaimer - The above video was produce by some nut job and cannot be held liable for opinions or expressions that may be contrary to this blog.
If you have questions or concerns please address them to him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Folio Academy is finally here!!!

I'm so proud and excited to announce our new creation - Folio Academy - online art lessons for everyone. You can check it out here.

Back in October I was driving home from a long day teaching at UVU here in Utah and I heard a woman being interviewed by Dave Ramsey on the radio. I can't tell you her name or the name of her book because I was talking back skeptically and sarcastically. The woman was saying that EVERYONE has something they do in their spare time or professional life that they could use to earn extra income. I was thinking, "I'm an illustrator and a teacher...what else could I possibly have time for??!!!" It bugged me for about a week when a thought popped into my head - I teach...why not teach to the video camera and then sell the videos on my website???...I love teaching and video editing has been a little hobbie - so I did.

And then I heard the voices - "this is a waste of time"..."who do you think you are anyway?"..."you could be watching Flintstones re-runs." But I silenced the voices and forged ahead. In between a book project and some text book covers I grabbed 10 days where I basically didn't sleep. At the end of that torture session I emerged gleaming with my finished product: "How To Illustrate Children's Books". I was so proud. It was a labor of love indeed. I should probably back up a bit - I was lucky in that I have a programmer living with me - my brother in law - and he assured me that he was up to the task of programming my website so that we could sell streaming videos. He would take care of the tech end and I would take care of making the videos.

Because I had to jump right back into illustrator mode I was only able to spend one day marketing my little video series. I contacted a few illustration bloggers like Angela Matteson - Angelato and children's book blogs like Mark Mitchell's How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator and invited them to do a blog post and give-a-way of my video series. They accepted as did about 4 other bloggers and from there I started selling my videos. Every now and then someone who purchased my videos liked them enough to do a blog post on them like Paula Pertile who used the photoshop concepts I put in my videos to achieve an unbelievable digital version of her colored pencil drawings. I know I'm leaving a lot of wonderful people out but there are too many to mention...but Sue from Moab has been a great supporter!

Fast forward through a few more video series and I started getting asked by fellow artists about how my videos were selling and if I thought it was worth doing. Of course I told them I did but the problem most artists have is the programming side of selling videos from their own site. I put my head together with a few artist friends and together we decided to make a site available to artists of every kind. One of my illustrator friends said, "Can you imagine what it would have been like to have a resource like this when we were going to school?"

Artist Greg Newbold setting up for his video shoot

So our goal is to find the best artists from around the world and see what they have to teach. We've partnered with several local video studios like Amber Media Pro and Provo Creative and are inviting artists to come into the studio for a day and do their thang in front of the cameras. Of course not every artist can get to us so we'll also offer their videos if they can produce them themselves. We're of course small now but we plan to release one new video series per week. Over time there's no telling where this will go.

So, woman on the radio talking about monetizing your hobbie whoever you are - thank you! - and my apologies for doubting you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Should You Follow Your Dreams?

What kind of question is that? Of course you should...I mean, of course you shouldn't. I guess it depends on who you ask. I'm often asked questions like this by my students. They often want to know if it's possible to follow their dreams of becoming a professional artist/illustrator and can they make enough money to support themselves.

This is an impossible question to answer in a few short sentences. It's also probably impossible to answer yes or no. What I can do is offer my insights but, I would also council students to get opinions from other sources.

First, I believe that most successful artists have an internal drive to create. A need. A burning from within to draw, paint, sculpt, write, play, or whatever. I also see that this desire is stronger in some than others - think of it like "the force". And then there's that need to make money for survival. These two needs are often at odds with one another. Parents send their kids to school to prepare them for careers and everybody knows you can't make a living as an artist...or that the odds of making a living as an artist are pretty slim.

If you only look at the figures it's totally impractical to choose art as a career - score one for parents - but statistics can be misleading. Lets go off on a tangent...

In the United states there are approximately 8,000 poisonous snake bites each year. So if you live here you have a one in 43k chance of being bitten by a poisonous snake. However what if you're a home body - couch potato - a slug who lives in the city and never goes out? Are your chances the same? Also, would your chances go down if you never pick up snakes? Included in the 8,000 statistic are all of the 16-24 year old boys/men who "feel the need" to pick up snakes. In fact more than half of the 8,000 people bitten each year are morons who picked up poisonous snakes. So are your personal chances of being bitten really 1 out of 43k? I know I have a much lower chance taken these additional facts into consideration - I don't pick up snakes.

So how does this apply to your chances of "making it" as a professional artist? I think you need to take a hard look at yourself because in the end only you can answer the questions that can get you past the statistics.

Are you always creating? Drawing, painting, etc? Is it the most important thing in your life? Are you happy with the visualization of yourself doing something other than an art career? Do you give up other activities to pursue art? Do you identify yourself as an artist? Do you treat socializing on weekends as a sacred ritual or can you give it up to perfect your art projects? Do you have artist role models? Are you motivated to pursue entrepreneurial projects? Do you believe you can "make money" if you have a good product and are willing to work hard? Do you feel free to do what you want in life without the blessing of your parents, friends, or siblings? Do you like to improvise and experiment or feel the need to follow instructions on projects to a fault? Do you over-estimate your artistic abilities? - you should if you want to go for it.

These are just a few questions I think you need to be able to answer in order to know if your odds are better or worse for being able to "make it" as a professional artist. I believe that some have a much better chance simply because of their life style, habits, and choices, while others have a horrible shot at it because it's just not that important to them.

In the end one thing's for sure: There are lots of people who regret not following their dreams and lots of people who have regrets about following their dreams. Each probably feel they should have taken the other path.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Want To Dedicate My Book To Your Child?

I did this a few months ago for a different book - Now I have another book and I'm going to dedicate it to the lucky winner - one of your children or grandchildren! My kids are all too old to appreciate it and thank heavens I don't have any grandchildren yet. This is a re-telling of "The Little Ginger Bread Man" story by Helen Ketteman and she exchanged the ginger bread man for a fat sassy little corn cake.

1) You may only nominate one name.
2) It must be your child or grandchild.
3) The child has to be born (not cooking) and must be age 4 or younger.
4) The child can't already have a book dedicated to them.
5) You have to find me on Facebook and enter your nomination there.

I will choose a name out of a hat ON VIDEO and post it on FB On Sunday Aug 7th at 5:00 pm Mountain. Good Luck - I can't wait to see who wins!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Test Image

I was asked to complete a test image for a game project. I hope I get to do it because it's a really cool idea and the images would be really fun to render. I'm not allowed to discuss the concept but I had fun with this one! I started this image drawing in "brushes" on my ipad - then I brought the sketch into photoshop for the final rendering.

Being an illustrator has been a great career for my A.D.D. - there's always a new project, new image, new medium, etc to feed my distractions.