Tuesday, October 9, 2012
While I am enjoying doing my own thing with the publishing venture, I do feel it is time to update my commercial sites, blog, twitter feed and promotions in the freelance art world. In short, while I will continue to press on with The Mutant Epoch and other creative expressions, I'd like to take on assignments again and branch out a bit.
First off, before I do any serious illustration promotions, I need to update McAusland studios. I have a lot of new work I'd like to add, as well as an interest in creating a portfolio search method that is based on subject matter instead of, or in addition to, medium. For example, instead of breaking my portfolio up into color work, black and white, maps an stock art, I'd instead have a search by topics such as Educational, Historical, Nature, Children's Illustration, Seasonal, Sports, Military, Business and Investing, Concepts, and so on.
Finally, expanding and updating my stock illustration collection at theispot.com would also be a smart move.
There is a lot of work to do. I'll report my results here soon,
Sunday, January 10, 2010
My current landing page at www.mcauslandstudios.com assumes that art directors, publishers, authors and casual web surfers already know what they want and like, and with one click can drop themselves into the portfolio that best suits their needs.
Breaking down the various illustration genres I work in seems to be sensible and while I only have three categories now (Stock Art , illustration and Speculative Illustration), I have been considering adding a few more areas such as children’s, book covers, and fine art as I seem to do plenty of work in these fields as well, in fact today I am off to photograph a 24 x 48” landscape painting I did in December and will post that when I get it into the computer.
Back to the topic of whether or not to give my web site viewers the choice between commercial ‘mainstream’ illustration and other genres, such as speculative art… I ask: does this matter?
Clearly I think to some people it does matter and to others not so much. By writing this blog post and posing this question, I suppose I am concerned about this. Here is my reason….
Briefly I will just say that a great many art reps and potential clients are looking for a ‘serious’ commercial artist who renders imagery for health, investment, editorial, corporate and geo-political subjects and so making such imagery easier to review might be appreciated without speculative art blended into a site or mailer. Some people in the design and illustration industry, including instructors, have told me that ad agencies and designers in general don’t want to see any fantasy art in a portfolio, that the two don’t mix.
Does this go both ways? Do publishers of fantasy and SF feel the same about seeing links to a gallery showing investment imagery?
Can this really be the case? Wouldn’t art directors appreciate the fact that their potential illustrator is multi-faceted, has many interests, and can pull off an image in almost any subject? Just as I enjoy politics, news and current events on TV, I also like a good adventure, futuristic or historical movie and can divide my time and creative efforts among many genres and markets.
That said, clear divisions of subject matter are important once somebody arrives at my portfolio website. My choice to separate genre specific blogs and sub-web sites keeps it all clear in my head. It also helps when I am marketing online, or communicating with a client to narrow down the focus and determine the client’s needs accurately. A potential client has sought me out based on a certain image they saw someplace, and it is up to me and my website to allow them to explore more of a similar look and subject in one portfolio area without confusion or too many out bound links to other galleries. This seems like a logical idea.
To summarize, my hope is that when an AD comes to my site they already know what sort of art they want, and can easily click on that section. Once inside that sub-site, all is clearly laid out and the genre is consistent.
I would be curious what any readers think about this. In short, can a landing ‘home’ page of a site present an art director to various genres and not turn them away? Put another way, can an illustrator present him or herself in multiple styles and genres and still be taken seriously?
In closing, I love drawing and painting, and branching out into new subjects and markets, learning new methods and media all contribute to my growth. What I learn in one genre enhances what I can do for another, altogether different client in an unrelated market. I firmly believe working in multiple genres keeps an artist fresh and challenged, making for more creative, fresh, and cutting edge illustration.
I will close with a look back at some of my fine art from several years ago.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This winters self promotion push will be the most intense, far reaching and time consuming effort I have ever made in my illustration career, and I am very eager to get started. This blog is to serve as a journal of this self promotional process as well as a marketing vehicle of sorts, showcasing sketches and recent works while serving as both a gallery and newsletter. In this first entry I will lace the text with small images of the more recent additions to my stock art collection at www.theispot.com .
After toying with the idea of doing a commercial art blog for several years, I’ve finally taken the leap. My intent with is site is to produce weekly or bi-monthly updates featuring news from the studio as well as resources useful to other illustrators that I uncover on the web.
And so, I am making a long awaited and much needed leap in my creative career, focusing strictly on illustration as that is what I love the most and what I am best at. While design work is a close cousin to illustration, the two have differences which make different demands on one’s time, skill set, creative growth, and lifestyle and stress levels. I have been doing plenty of design over the last three or four years, especially book design, and enjoying much of it, however my design mission was to get book cover art assignments, but instead ended up doing desktop publishing and working with other people’s photographs or art instead of my own. I was soon busy with technical details, troubleshooting, editing, shipping addresses of finished print matter, software incompatibility, font hunting, getting quotes from printers, and administration issues that had no creativity involved whatsoever. As design assignments began to eclipse my illustration jobs in frequency, scope and attention, and countless non-billable, non-artistic hours, I knew that I had to make a break and get back to my illustration portfolio, promotions, and primary creative passion. In short, I was so busy with design that I had no time to promote my illustration career, and worse, I was getting jobs from people who had no idea I could draw or did anything other than layout and web design. I realized I had taken a wrong turn on the creative path, and ended up in the wrong neighborhood.
Now, don’t get me wrong, graphic design involves a massive degree of creativity, and am not implying that illustration is a superior creative outlet… however, for me, design was fifty percent administration, due mostly to dealing with countless emails, revisions, printer issues. Illustration, on the other hand, seems to be about 90% creativity and only 10% email and file handling. The designers, who once hired me as an illustrator, tackle all those outsourcing details which eat up so many hours.
Another point is that I have four children, and during many hours of the day they are in the studio with me and doing their own art, which is among my favorite time spent with them. Besides the questions, banter, and excited ideas they announce as they work, I see them at my drawing tables and easel, where once I happily labored, and realize full weeks have gone by since I drew anything. Alas, doing design and sending jobs to press or loading a site to the web can be stressful and demand all my attention, so that nothing goes wrong, and having children around is not always ideal with such technical matters at hand. With art, however, the companionship of four small artists in a large studio only adds to the creativity. I can listen to my oldest daughter read to me or describe my process to another child as they watch me draw or paint. While conversations are possible while producing imagery, so is loud music, talking on a headset phone, and so as an illustrator, I need not to lock myself away in silence and seclusion in order to deal with all manner of glitch and technical issue.
A renewed focus on illustration, then, as the recent weeks have shown, has lead to a much less stressed out father, and a massive output in art. I have completed my updated illustration site and loaded it over the last 24 hours. There are a few issues here and there that will need my attention, but I am ready to begin promoting my illustration