Monday, October 29, 2012

Gearing Up for IlluXCon 2012

It's less than two weeks away now... the fifth annual IlluXCon! Are you as excited as I am?

This year is a bit different for me, and I'll explain why. Unlike 2010 and 2011, I will not have a table in the main show. There are very good reasons for this, the main one being that I didn't try out for the main show. "Wait... what??" Yes, you heard me: I didn't try out. In late 2011, when IlluXCon announced they were officially going traditional-only, and everyone had to be juried into the show, I had to get honest with myself about my work. I've been a working illustrator for a few years now, but primarily a working digital illustrator. When I did a hard comparison between my digital and traditional work, I saw a big enough disparity in the quality that it bothered me, and I thought it would be best to spend part of my first year as a full-time freelancer working toward getting back into shape with oils.

Instead of trying out for the main show, I set a goal for myself to make 5 oil paintings to present at the IlluXCon Showcase, which is the one-night-only art extravaganza held at the Ramada hotel. Not just paintings for the sake of painting, but paintings I would be proud to put my name on and show off as a sample of my latest work.

I think I met that goal.

A couple weeks ago when I started planning my table display, I made a second big decision that will set 2012 apart- I'm only bringing traditional work. Digital artwork isn't necessarily verboten in the Showcase, but it's not part of Pat and Jeannie's vision, and it's unfair to collectors who want to buy originals to get them interested in what they don't want. Also, for the first time, I don't need to show it to feel good about my work. If I had had enough original oils the last two years, I'd have done this sooner, but I just didn't. In less than two weeks, you won't even see a print or postcard of a digital piece at my table. **SPOILER ALERT** Here's what that might look like:

I'll have 5 original oils, 3 of which are still for sale, as listed below:
Blue Flame, 2012, 16x22 in. | $1,200
Rush of Blood, 2012 | Sold
Tarzan: The Light of Knowledge, 2012 | Sold
Omens, 2012, 22x30 in. w custom frame | $3,200
Phial of Galadriel, 2012, 11x14 in. | $600

On the table I'll have a binder of original drawings, including richly-detailed preliminary drawings for four of the oil paintings listed above, priced between $150 and $300.

The binder will also have large giclée prints of some traditional work; if you can't pick one up at the Showcase, they can also be ordered online from my store for the same price.

Something new that I'll be trying out is playing my Making of Omens painting video at my table (sans audio, so my table-neighbors don't go insane from hearing the same 10 minutes of sound on loop). For people who want to watch it after the showcase, I'll have little cards to take that have a QR Code on the back, that will link you directly to the video:

Lastly, I'll have the usual takeaways, in the form of business cards and postcards, all bearing images of traditional paintings from 2012.

None of this is to say that I'll be abandoning digital art- no, siree. I still plan to work both ways, but I'm hoping to continue focusing more on honing my traditional skills throughout next year. I'm really hoping that I might have a shot at the main show again when IlluXCon moves to Allentown- that is a great motivator.

Lastly, since I'll only be behind a table for one night, I'll get to go to some lectures and hang out this year! :) Looking forward to seeing you all very soon! Now, get back to work.


  1. Great post! This will be my 2nd Illuxcon but I'll be in the Showcase for the first time this year. I'm both really nervous and really excited. It's nice to see your setup too as I've been trying to figure out what to do for mine :) see you there!

    1. That's great, Mike! I last did the Showcase back in 2009 in its first year, but things have changed a lot (including the room it's held in) so I asked some of my friends for advice, and poked around Google for inspiration, too.

      Here are some Showcase table photos I took last year, if you're still looking for ideas:

    2. Thank you so much for the links! These are actually REALLY helpful. It's definitely got me rethinking major aspects of my table. This is pretty intimidating.

    3. Your table will probably change configurations at least once throughout the course of the evening- but that is ok! Mine probably will too, and I've been doing this for a while. ;) See you in a few days!

  2. Nicely planned set-up. And it's nice to see you highlighting the traditional art.

    One thing I've found with easels behind the table is that they just aren't high enough when you are standing in front of the beautiful art. Also, there's that bumping/tripping/knocking over factor. It happens. A wall is ideal, right? Then again, there's the trade-off of what can be mobile when going from show-to-show.

    I tried something completely different than what I normally do last year at Illuxcon. The 3-part wall on the table... with me standing (awkwardly) in front. Not sure if I'd ever do that again. Live and learn.

    Even though I'm signed up for the Showcase this year... unfortunately, I'm not going to make it. Life and its curve balls. I was looking forward to chatting with you again, IRL. Perhaps another time. Are you doing or going to Spectrum Live in May?

    1. Hey Byron. :) I'm sorry I won't be seeing you next week, but I hope things are going well!

      So the trifold panel on the table feels awkward? I was seriously considering that option before I realized my work is too big and heavy. Very good to know.

      I know what you mean about the easels, and I'm hoping I don't run into those issues. I may push the table back against the easels and stand in front so people can view the far paintings better and there's less opportunity to knock them over.

      I think for the next wall-free event I want to build a taller version of the pegboard stands that Aaron Miller built:

      Still on the fence about Spectrum Live- I'll need to see if I can afford it before I decide. Hope to catch you at some point, though! Cheers

  3. Fantastic work and very inspiring! Thanks for sharing your creative process! THanks!