Although it was fun going solo to the first Illuxcon, I think I prefer traveling with a group. This time I brought not only my husband, Brendan, but my illustrator pal Laura and her b/f Koz. We all shared a room at the Ramada to cut down on cost a bit, and used Laura's truck to load all our artwork.
(Koz & Laura in our hotel room, Thurs, Nov 11)
I knew it was going to be a great weekend going into it, but I was also excited about some of the new programming and artists. After getting into town, we stopped by the show, and wow. It was a bit overwhelming, honestly - it's not a show you can do in just an hour. You have to take it in in pieces, or else you'll miss a lot.
So we retreated to the bar. There weren't a whole lot of people there on Thursday night yet, but it was relaxing to grab a drink before turning in.
We woke up early on Friday and ate complimentary breakfast at the hotel so we could get down to the Heritage Center early. Our first stop of the day was the Art of Self Promotion roundtable discussion, with Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell, Donato Giancola, Ruth Sanderson, and Jeremy Caniglia. I agree with Boris that the audience-led conversation careened into tangential territory (talking about rights management and contracts) instead of focusing purely on getting your foot in the door, but there was a lot of useful information nonetheless.
One of the more notable parts of the discussion was Donato's demonstration of how 50% of your marketing will typically be for naught, while the other half might get the attention you're after; he demonstrated this concept by showing the audience two dollar bills, then tearing one into smaller and smaller pieces, representing how no matter how much you spend you'll get about half a return on your investment. He also brought along a portfolio he made out of two heavy steel dinner platters, which was... totally fun.
One of the more surprising things to hear was how much LuLu.com was mentioned, since previously I'd been under the impression that their printing was slipshod. Ruth and at least two others during the convention mentioned it as a cheap alternative to fancy offset printing for producing show books.
After that we sped over to room 003 and listened to Caniglia's History of Fantasy Art talk. This program was less interactive, but very informative. I felt bad bringing Brendan to this one since art history isn't easy to relate to if you don't have an art background, but he was a trooper. I thought the speech started out very strong, with Jeremy giving background on himself and tying Renaissance & Romantic art into modern fantasy themes. I wish that there had been a little more variety in the contemporary art parallels made, but after all there are time limits, and he did a great job for the time allotted.
After that, (ok this is mildly embarrassing) we all went back to the room to take a nap. At least the others did. My heart was moving at hummingbird speed from all the excitement, so while I tried to rest a little I couldn't stop fidgeting. After that was over, Laura, Koz, and I headed over to Target to buy sketchbooks (I told you this was embarrassing!) and then to Le Bistro for the Reception, Sketching, and live bronze pour...
To be continued...