Monday, April 26, 2010

Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge: Week 3

Well, week 3 of the challenge is upon us, and again, I feel unprepared. Don't get me wrong, I've been doing research, but possibly not enough. The first of two tasks was to 1) "decide upon my business structure" – all the legal/tax stuff, setting up shop – and right here was where I felt kind of clueless. Other than hearing I can claim a certain amount of square footage on my taxes for freelancing, I don't know a whole helluva lot.
As far as that goes, this photo pretty much describes what my current set-up is like, even though it's almost two years old. That will change on June 1st, when my wife and I will move into our new house, where I'll have my own spot. (It's all happening at house, new family member to prepare for!) The size is just right for me to do my thing, and I can't wait to set it up.
But, I digress. I think it's time I have a long-overdue discussion with my pal Sam about how she set her business up, and whatever struggles she may have encountered. If anything, I'm sure she'd be able set me on the right path.

Next, I had to 2) "lay the foundations of my marketing strategy", and if you look at the challenge entry, the first thing I have to do is figure out who I'm trying to impress. I have to say my target is art directors. The next step?:
Based on your research, I’d like you to gather a targeted list of 10 Companies, Publishers, Art Directors or Manufacturers that you will be contacting when we get to that part of the challenge.
Well, I took that as a call to gather the art director info for the following ten magazines/newspapers:
Playboy, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Walrus, Monocle, Esquire, Maxim, National Post, and Complex. This list might need some tweaking, as I've been thinking about some of these titles since college (I remember seeing Playboy Japan on an illustrator's client list and thought that was the most amazing thing ever). And the last step:
Armed with everything you now know about your list of contacts, plan out 6 portfolio pieces that you will be creating in the next 3 weeks of the challenge...
Okay, two or three of these will need to have caricature involved. Admittedly, not my strong point, but I'm down to get better. Some musicians, actors, political figures, etc. Maybe the other half should be concept-driven or humorous? I'd say that's the move.

I guess that's it! I really didn't think I'd get this far as flushing out what needs to be done. I did have a few notes to go by. I'm gonna roll by the Zero 2 Illo clubhouse and see what my compatriots have done, and take notes. And Jonathon has already posted this week's assignment, so I'm going to give it a look before bed.
I'm feeling way more accomplished than I thought I would. Either that, or I'm super-deluded!

The rumors are true!*

We're expecting!

Grand Beach, August 19th, 2006.

*I'm actually unaware of any rumors.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

R.I.P. Guru

One of the true greats is gone. If I learned one thing from the man, it's that it's mostly the voice, and that's an undeniable fact.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge: Week 2

This week (and I'm a little late due to real life interfering), we were to come up with a one page business plan. Here's the info behind all of that. Personally, I think I'm going to have to re-write this at some point, as I think I'm repeating myself and not answering things clearly. But, time is of the essence, and I really hope I handle week 3 better than this. You can't  hear me, but I'm totally muttering under my breath about how I took care of this and I definitely plan on getting some feedback from the Zero 2 Illo fam. it really 5:13 AM? Yes. Yes it is. Bed time.

  • Objective:
    Ultimate goal – gallery shows and high profile illustration jobs
    Bigger goal – Solo gallery shows and world travel due to those shows
  • Goals:
    Income goals – charging and getting what I’m worth, augmenting current income
    Markets & Audiences – music/entertainment magazines, poster & music lovers
    Channels – Etsy and classified ad
  • Strategies:
    Income streams - selling my work via Etsy/GP, maybe a Big Cartel store?
    Market/Audience first focus - editorial illustration, I figure. I’d like to do something for Exclaim! before the end of the year.
    Services - I’m not sure what to say here.
    How will I deliver? - Personally, I figure. I don’t have an agent, and I figure it’ll be a while before I do.
  • Measures:
    Key milestones - seriously, if I sell out of an entire print run of art prints, I’d consider that successful. Other than that, I think I really ought to think about this a little more.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art Break!

The End Result
The end result.

I finally got to posting the iPhone pics from the Art Break event I mentioned in this previous post. That event was truly fun. Take a gander!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Random Thoughts: April 13th, 2010

Friday BDI
It's BDI time, fool. Get you some.
  • Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge, Week 2. This week? A business plan. Creative person Kryptonite. However, the way Jonathan and his lovely wife Lea have broken it all down for us, it seems simple enough to do! Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to chewin' on this one. Plus, it needs to be done.
  • R.I.P. Jenny Joyce. (This bit might be somewhat NSFW) Jenny was a MILF before the term came about. She was among the most visible of early '90s mature adult performers for Filmco/Totally Tasteless Video, including Kitty Foxx and Cathy Jones. And by far, she was my favorite. AVN wrote a nice obit/profile for her.
  • American Trademarks: Got a call today from the good folks at McNally that my copy of American Trademarks has arrived. Illustration and design powerhouse Micheal Doret wrote it up nicely on his blog, so naturally, I had to cop it. Also, Aaron Draplin – a man I look up to – is also profiled in this book, which is a incentive that put my approval over the top.
  • Frank Stockton. Looking through a number of illustration annuals over the years, I can say that subconsciously, I've become a fan of Frank Stockton. However, I think my admiration for his talent truly came to fruition while flipping through Illustrators 51. There, I found page 3 of his six-page story, "A Shot At Glory" (written by Zev Borow) for ESPN magazine. In particular, I'm taken with the superior, aloof stance of the pitcher, Martha, in panel 9. Before you say anything, yes, I fully realize she's big, which I love. But that isn't it. What I love really, is how she's constructed. Her stance is real. When she says, "you suck, Borow," you can't help but believe she means it. I dug this page so much, I went to my library to find the real deal, only to find the whole thing online.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

An Open Letter To YouTube

Hey, YouTube!

Yo...remember when I could have the comments turned off for all of the videos I wanted to watch? Yeah, that was pretty fuckin' awesome. You're so much cooler when you're free of stupidity and ignorance. Otherwise, you're doin' a bang-up job.


Friday, April 09, 2010

Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge: Week 1, Part 2

Time for me to answer the question: What do you want to illustrate? Or, to be more specific, what kind of illustration do I want to do?
Art prints and other ephemera
Art shows

I really do think that sums it up. My official/unofficial motto for the longest time has been "I just want to make cool shit", and now I've just made the cool shit specific.
We, as zero2illo12wc participants, were also to ask ourselves some other questions, such as (these come directly from the site):
  • Is your idea commercially viable?
    You mean to do all of that stuff? Sure. I mean, the comics idea is mainly for the love of the art form and storytelling. It might be a pipe dream of sorts for me. I'm not sure I want to draw someone else's story. I really think I'd like to write and illustrate my own story, but I currently have nothing to say or tell. I just love comics. The truth is, there's no guarantee of success, and it's time-consuming. It's a labour of love to do it on the solo tip.
    So I could probably do all of that stuff, but I'll have to shift my energy as I need to. One part will pay more bills than the other. That's life.
  • What are the target markets (publications, manufacturers, brands and companies) currently commissioning this kind of illustration?
    • Editorial: My personal "big two" are The New Yorker and Rolling Stone. There's also Esquire, The Walrus, Exclaim! (even though they only have one spot for illustration now), Monocle, etc.
    • Art prints and other ephemera: No one's really commissioning this stuff, but immediate outlets would be the classifieds and Etsy.
    • Comics: Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Oni Press. I'd say those would be my ideal publishers.
    • Art shows: I'd kill to be part of a Gallery 1988 group show or something at Nucleus. Eventually, a solo show would be dope. I'd love to travel internationally for this kind of thing, but I'd have to be of Kozik or Baseman status. It could happen.
  • Who are the big players (illustrators) in this market?
    • Editorial: Peter de Sève, Tomer Hanuka, Marcos Chin, Sterling Hundley, and many more...
    • Art Prints: Dan McCarthy, Dave Kinsey, Evan Hecox, man...check out and even more names will pop up.
    • Comics: Man...uh, Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Seth, Chris Ware, etc. These dudes are the elite in my eyes (and off the top of my head).
    • Art shows: Frank Kozik, Coop, Scott C., Glenn Barr, Dave Cooper, and others. I really look up to these people.
  • Why are they successful in this area? Look at their website and other online profiles, search for interviews with them online…How do they promote themselves? If you can break down what makes them successful (other than that they are very talented), you can apply this model to your own business.
    Well, first of all, they're all really good. And they never stop, they're constantly busy. A number of them maintain blogs, keeping people updated on their exploits/work/products/lunch. They're staying busy, relevant, and visible.
It's currently 4:38, and I should be in bed. However, I'm really glad I sat down and wrote this out. Maybe I'll be able to come up with a good game plan out of this. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge: Week 1, Part 1

And so it begins!
So far, there are close to (or possibly over) 80 folks taking part in the Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge, and the enthusiasm is high, so far. All of the bios that Jonathan has been able to post, including mine, can be found here, and an assortment of discussions are taking place at the newly set up Ning-based "clubhouse", including an introduction thread.
The first task seems deceptively simple, but requires a bit of soul-searching; it's a question: what do you want to illustrate?
I more-or-less have an answer, but I think I should take a little time to suss it out, as I'm making it a public record sort of thing. Of course, I have the right to change my mind later, but I doubt there will be much deviation. For now, I'm gonna write some notes, and get some sleep. Peace.

Skid Row Pimpin'

Pip & Ness

Pip (with the infamous Nestor Wynrush) performing "Cut Me Into A 1000 Pieces & Burn Them For 3 Weeks" at the West End Cultural Centre – March 13th, 2010. This shot is in the current issue of Stylus (thanks, Jenny!).

Y'all sick of me talking about Skid Row yet? I hope not. Because what I'm really saying is: YOU NEED THIS ALBUM. And now, you can get it within your filthy fingers via the good folks at Foultone. Purchase your physical copy via this link, and hit 'em off PayPal style.

What? You prefer zeros and ones? Well, it's on iTunes, too. US and Canada, fool. Get you some.

Still not convinced? What do I have to do? Free radio versions of three Pip tracks from You drive a hard bargain. All zipped up for your convenience.

This is some of the best shit Pip has ever recorded, and he'd be the first to tell you so. This is going to sound weird, but believe me, you will never hear self-hatred sound so good. Wanna know why? Because Pip's acidic, grimy rhymes and Kutdown's sublime beats are the finest tag team since the British Bulldogs. Kut outdid himself on the production tip, and he laces y'all with the shit that real heads dream of. A special shout-out goes to my man DJ Co-op for "You Got A Bad Name"; tap shoes have never sounded so dark. Good job, homie.
So, yeah, playa...enrich your life. Visit Skid Row.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Paul Robertson's Kings of Power 4 Billion %

Got 12:39 to spare? Well then, feast your eyes upon what easily ranks as one of the most insane things I've ever seen. It's unhinged, colorful, and bound to offend in some fashion. Therefore, it's genius.
Want to know what's even better? This man is behind the visuals for the upcoming Scott Pilgrim video game. Yes.
Props to Muttpop for lettin' a brother know. Visit Mr. Robertson here. Paul has made the film available for download from several outlets.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Briscoes vs. Sterling Keenan & Jason Blade

I just listened to a great interview with Jay Briscoe, the elder Briscoe Brother, so I was inspired to post a match of theirs. This was probably the first Briscoe match I had seen in entirety, and was happy I did, because they're fun to watch. I think you'll agree.
Jay is older than Mark, but it's kinda hard to tell 'em apart at first. Look a little closer, and you'll see that Jay has more teeth.

Friday, April 02, 2010

An Assortment of Great Internet-Based April Fools' Day Jokes

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Random Thoughts: April 1st, 2010

Dr. Al
Me, as Dre, at Winnipeg's Dre Day celebration at The Lo Pub – February 9th, 2010

I think we're done here.
The ties have been severed.

  • R.I.P. My Use of MySpace (2005 - 2010) My description of the screencap above on Flickr:
    I'm sure these get read rarely, if at all. Incendiary cartoonist Nick Gazin recently referred to MySpace as "the abandoned stripmall of the internet" in his Vice column.
    I'd say that's rather apt.
    I should've left ages ago.
  • I won't read anything more heart-touching than this all week. Peter de Sève's blog post, dedicated to his late pit bull, Darla. So sweet.

  • The End of Mass Appeal Mondays. There was an incident outside The Lo Pub on Monday that resulted in 4 people stabbed. What happened was isolated from the performance inside, which was a part of Mass Appeal Mondays, a weekly night dedicated to rap, which gave both up-and-comers and established performers a chance to shine.
    My man Cass, Mass Appeal's head honcho, voluntarily ended the weekly event. The Lo is a fine establishment*, and he didn't want them to continue getting the negative rub due to what went down.

    I'm saddened by the loss of the event, but I fully recognize that it's time to reflect upon what happened and regroup. The folks that dismiss rap music and hip-hop culture in general are skeetin' on themselves with glee at the moment, and that's just fine. They have their place in this world, and as far as I'm concerned, they only justify hip-hop's existence. For every negative stroke, there will always be something positive happening that will have those same people vexed and perplexed.

  • Best Sunday Ever. On the 28th, I spent a good chunk of the day at The Graffiti Gallery, participating in the Art Break program with artist Paul Butler and graphic designer/hip-hop pioneer Cey Adams. I'll post my iPhone photos of the event shortly. This was something I needed. I stepped out of my zone, and I loved it. I need to do more of this.
    After Art Break, I jetted on down to Silver City Polo Park to watch Wrestlemania XXVI, the first PPV I've watched since...Wrestlemania X-Seven. Wrestling on a giant screen, a ton of junk food, and rabid fans that accentuated the entire experience. Classic.

  • LB Kerfuffle. If you're a follower of Little Brother's Phonte Coleman on Twitter (and why wouldn't you be?), you were probably shocked to see this post directed to his former partner, 9th Wonder, as much as I was. To fully clear the air, Phonte took to Vimeo.
    In the end, all I could say was "wow", as I was truly unaware as to how acrimonious the split between Phonte, Big Pooh (on this side) and 9th (on that side over there).
    Pooh took the opportunity to make a statement, too.

  • Zero 2 Illo 12 Week Challenge. Read all about it here. I'm participating, and I'm really looking forward to it all. There's a lot I'm unaware of as far as what's gonna go down, but that's part of what's exciting about it, and I like Jonathan's spirit and attitude (especially ever since I heard his EFII interview). My bio, along with those of the other participants, can be found here.

    *The bar staff is really cool. I heartily recommend the poutine. Oh yeah, Drop The Needle is a damn good time, too.