Day 1. The Portfolio Showcase
So traveling again back in time to that first day I was at the conference… (those keeping track will note that this is the day of the Illustrator's Intensive. It was a Friday.) "Back In Time!" (sing song) This kinda makes me want to watch Back to the Future and listen to Huey Lewis and the News.
Anyway the second half to the SCBWI Illustrator's Intensive Day was the Portfolio Showcase that evening. SCBWI puts this together to showcase a number of it's up and coming and also established Illustrators to the Network of New York Art Directors. It was a nice experience that I am glad I participated in. One thing is certain, next time, I will downsize my portfolio presentation, as mine (though very clean and professional, was a bit large for the presentation space.
You will recall the new portfolio presentation I put together specifically for this Showcase. It was a previous blog post. Vol 1. of the SCBWI Winter Chronicle Blog Postings, actually (link below.)
I am going to take this moment to pick a nit with the showcase committee at the NY SCBWI event, should any of them ever read this post. This is really the ONLY thing I had a problem with as far as the Conference was concerned. I am honestly shocked at the lack of professionalism that was amplified at the Showcases presentation setup. The setup at the NY Portfolio Showcase was a logistical and practical DISASTER! I actually passed this criticism onto SCBWI when I was at the event in a evaluation form I filled out. The set up was several rows of foldout tables with nice clean brown or black (can't quite remember the color) table cloths. And each portfolio book was placed (closed) right up next to each other. Everyone's promo cards were (kinda sorta) neatly stacked above each book, however since there were no card holders and the placement of the portfolios and tables led to the kinda-sorta neatly stacked cards being strewn about to where you really had to look back and forth between a portfolio and a promo card to make sure the card went with the portfolio you had an interest in. The table were so NARROWLY placed together and there was no organization to where and how you entered the showcase that it created this AWFUL bottle neck of people squeezing past each other rubbernecking over shoulders to try and see ANY of the portfolios. It was like a chaotic cattle call or aimless rodeo. I hardly got see any of the portfolios and dummy books at all because of the way this thing was setup… terrible. You felt the need to really quickly breeze through ANY portfolio you were looking at and quickly grab a card if you wanted one and then move on because there is this herd of buffaloes beating down on you to move along so the next person can see. ALSO the books were SO CLOSELY laid together that you couldn't even Open a portfolio book without crashing elbow into the person next to you looking at the next unit of portfolio also. SO you could not really even open the book fully to look at the artwork because you would be turning your page right into the next portfolios designated space. SO in essence you didn't really get to see the artwork at all nor was I assured that anyone got to really see my artwork…. BAD PLANNING. BAD SETUP. BAD EXECUTION. FOR SHAME, SCBWI. FOR SHAME.
I was further vindicated by my opinion of this when I went to SCBWI Southern Breeze's Illustrator's Day. The Portfolio setup at the Spring Fling was FANTASTIC and should have been the way it was setup in NY. Take point, NY SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Planners for next year. Spring Fling had a REAL Showcase setup. I will discuss theirs when I write up that post. Suffice to say, I was able to see every artists' work as well as enough room to open the portfolio books.
Now, back to the NY showcase… I went downstairs to turn in my portfolio. This is where I was told I couldn't use the display box in the portfolio's presentation, nor could I have my cards set up neatly, practically and professionally in a card holder that matched the rest of my presentation. It was an organized port drop off other than that. I was fortunate enough to get caught up in a very interesting conversation with several other Illustrators after I dropped off the portfolio. They had also attended the Illustrators Intensive and shared interesting thoughts about what they were working on and the industry in general. I remember discussing the future in children's storytelling, taking advantage of current technologies like story telling pas for phones and tablets.
I believe I have already mentioned shout outs to those artists in the Blog Post about the intensive. For those I didn't they are Shouted-Outed to below.
I had previously mentioned before that this is a very good opportunity to get your work seen by most of the Art Directors in NY… Basically half the US publishing world. There were a few hundred participants in the Showcase… As I said several rows (at least 10 or 15) of LLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGG Fold-Out tables displaying several artist portfolios in this rather large conference banquet area. But due to the lack of organization this turned into a free for all cattle call of chaos.
On a quick off-note there is a REALLY good zombie flick that characterizes what kind of experience I think it would be like, should the ZA happened right then. It is the third of an Italian Film trilogy called REC (like video RECording).
In any case, set-up flaws aside, What I did get to see was phenomenal. The artists that showcased there this past Winter are an amazing group. They kind of having me step up my game some more and re-do some of my portfolio pieces, just so I can feel like I am somewhat in the same league as some of these amazing artists. It's simultaneously both magical and intimidating being around that many talented people. Though I have every confidence in what I do as an artist, you still can't help but get a bit of Small Fish in the Big Pond syndrome in those types of situations. I may actually use that imagery in one of IF Friday's Challenges soon, should the weekly topic allow something of the sort. I have included some scans of some of my favorite artists portfolios, and by this I mean their promo cards. I have included weblinks to their sites where applicable. This pretty much wraps up all of what I had to share about my experiences in NY this past February.
Until next Time Travel Adventure…
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art.
SHOUT OUTS: Portfolio Showcase
(Sorry *Shrug* No photo)
AMAZING ARTISTS Promo Cards I Took:
Elizabeth W. Wolff
Tania De Regil