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Thank you very much for your time in doing this. It was very informative.
Irene, thank you for this link. Check out what I found through that forum: Directory of Cover Artists - what a great resource of what's out in the market - i.e. the competition (not sure if this was posted anywhere else on CA)Originally Posted by Irene GalloThere is a secondary market of selling originals. If you are digital, you are cutting yourself off from that, but that IS secondary issue. Not everyone cares or finds that feasible. Here is a young forum that is centered around collectors. It's only a few months old, but I've learned a lot from it already: http://www.munchkinpress.com/phpBB2/index.php
This is absolutely advice! Thank you so much Irene for putting your time into this, wow... uh... WOW is all I can say!
(oh... and someday... someday... someday... )
durn Chingwa, the images were not loading properly and I thought you said it was old advice.
Thank you Irene! I think someone should 'wiki' this thread (I might even do it if you give me permission)
Like everyone says, this is great to know. You're helping a lot of people out with this. (including me!)
These are all great questions, by the way. Can't wait to see how you weigh in on that.Originally Posted by DSillustrationwow, you were up late!
this is gold.
i'd be curious to know how many artists YOU FIND, versus, how many FIND YOU.
do annuals play a large role in discovery, or just reinforcement?
do you actively seek out new talent?
Thanks for helping us CAers!
Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
Just curious - does it help to do a few with historically accurate costuming, or would you rather see just fantasy costumes?
free info is teh pwn.
and coming from one of the most recurring art directors in spectrum i'll get this tattooed on my back.
**THANK YOU**. I've copied and saved that entire thing.
Great thread Irene, Thanks for sharing.
Fist off, Thanks everyone for your great response. It was good for me to do
this. These are the questions that I get asked a lot at schools and such.
Now I have it all down in one place. I should have done it years ago.
Much of my time at work, and after hours, is spent thinking about who shouldOriginally Posted by DSillustrationi'd be curious to know how many artists YOU FIND, versus, how many FIND YOU.
do annuals play a large role in discovery, or just reinforcement?
do you actively seek out new talent?
do what covers. If I make the right match between artist and book, then the
months ahead of me are smooth sailing. If I make the wrong match...it can be
months of wrestling with the artist, killing a budget on a book by having to
create a second cover, or, worst of all, letting a book go out into the
world to limp along with an inappropriate cover.
Note, inappropriate does _not_ mean that the cover is bad...it just means
that it is not the right cover for that particular book. There are plenty of
covers that are not my favorites but they are right for that book, just as
there are plenty of beautiful covers that may not be right for a particular
I'd say that I find the artist....but only because they have made an effort
to be found:
These are hugely important to me -- mostly Spectrum, and then Society of
Illustrators. I keep stacks of them at my feet, within arms length. I flip
through them all the time. In part to find new talent, in part to remind me
of people that I've wanted to work with but haven't yet, and in part to
remind myself to look up new work from people I already have worked with.
(KEEP WEBSITES UPDATED.) They are juried, they are cleanly designed, they
are neatly bound. Can't beat all that.
(I should ask Greg to chime in on his thoughts about entering annuals.)
BOOKSTORES / MAGAZINES
I also spend tons of time in bookstores. I flip open every book that I don't
know the artist of. I'm always curious what's out there. For magazines, I
subscribe to Realms of Fantasy and Communication Arts. "Realms" not only
uses lots of illustration throughout, but they also have a feature on an
artist in each issue.
CONVENTIONS / SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS
I go to four or five conventions a year. Sometimes I'll find new talent
there. More typical/importantly, I find it really helps the process when you
actually get to meet the people you work with. Not essential by any means,
but it's nice when there is some kind of connection.
For the same reason, I go to all the Society of Illustrators openings. (Then
I got back to see the show when everything is quiet, 'cause what's better
than seeing original art!)
I get tons of these every day. Most do end up in the garbage - they are
either inappropriate to what we publish, or they are not of the quality that
we need. I do, however, keep files on the ones that I like. They can act as
good reminders between annuals.
CONCEPTART.ORG / RECOMMENDATIONS
Increasingly, CA is a great place to see work from new people and/or hear
about older artists that I was not aware of. Along similar lines, just
talking to other artists or art directors will tip me off to people I have
not worked with. Illustrators are a great lot, they always seem quick to
point other artists that they admire without feeling threatened.
They can help get your foot in the door but there is a whole lot to
consider. An artist/agent relationship almost seems like a marriage -- it's
a very personal thing to try and shape a career with someone. There are a
number of agents that I very much enjoy working with. Whenever they call.
I'll look at what they have to show. But then easily half the people I work
with don't have agents. (This might be better covered by fellow artists.)
These are costly and I'm not sure how effective they are for book cover
work. I do enjoy going through them but I tend to clip out the pages I like
and then trash the rest. (The annuals stay in tact.) I've heard that source
books are good for getting some higher paying advertising jobs.
For better or worse, none of the above will work by itself. I usually come
across someone's work and think, "interesting"...maybe six months later I'll
see that artist in Spectrum....six months later I see them at ComicCon...six
months after that I get a book that I haven't a clue what to do with and
then suddenly I remember, "Wasn't there some new artist whose work looked
rather interesting?" Then I go dig through all my resources and find them.
This is just what _I_ do. Ya'll would be best to meet and talk to as many
pros as you can. Ask them how they got their starts.
I picked a few random artists and tried to remember how I heard of them.
Some are new to me, others I've worked with for years. This is all very
simplified...in all cases I looked up a ton of work once I thought I had a
particular project that they might be right for.
I met at a World Fantasy Convention and then saw his work in Spectrum and at
Dan Dos Santos
I met at Society of Illustrators and then he sent me a collection of promo
I was following through Spectrum for a long time. Saw books in the store
with his work. Saw some work at the Society.
I was following in Spectrum and received promo cards.
Donato had been working with Tor before I came along. I know he credits his
agent for helping in the early years. (He has long since moved on from the
agent.) His great work will keep him working for Tor as long as he's
willing, but meeting him at conventions and at the Society has made it all
the more fun to work with each other.
Recommended by Greg Manchess. Then I looked up his work on the web.
Saw on CA. (Yeah Thunderdoom!) I was also reminded to keep looking at his
stuff by Dan. His new website helped a lot too.....I was able to pass that
on to our editor.
Was following through Society annuals and then received promo card.
Met through an agent, although he quickly left that agent. It's fun to hang
out with Stephan at ComicCon, but it's his work that keeps me begging for
Spectrum and the Society. Greg has also lead me to many other great artists.
Thanks for taking the time to do this Irene. It's a great read with a lot of useful information.
In your opinion, is there a preference (all other things being equal) for tighter illustrations vs looser/more painterly illustrations?
At this point I'd say No....And thank god. In the 80s/90s it seemed that the rule was it needed to be super tight rendering. (With Berkey and Harris as two notable exceptions.) I'm all for that, but not when it's the ONLY thing exceptable. Now you see a range from Julie Bell to Donato, Dan Dos Santos, to Jon Foster, to Greg Manchess, Stephan Martinere. I'm glad there is a much greater mix these days. What IS hard to do these days is the "high concept" quasi-abstract covers like Paul Lehr and Richard Powers did. I love that work as well. The pleasure of my position is that I don't have to be stuck in any one style...as long as the books keep selling.Originally Posted by dzuIn your opinion, is there a preference (all other things being equal) for tighter illustrations vs looser/more painterly illustrations?
I just hope theres room for a super rendering pen artist one day!
Mainloop- man i must be dyslexic.. cuz i thought you asked how many people are on lsd
...credit to you Irene for helping broaden the mix!Originally Posted by Irene Gallo...I'm glad there is a much greater mix these days.
Now what's this about quasi-abstract covers being harder to do these days? No doubt it's true, but I SO wish it were different.
Hey Bruce, As soon as I pressed "send" I suddenly thought that you are the excpetion to that.Originally Posted by Bruce JensenNow what's this about quasi-abstract covers being harder to do these days? No doubt it's true, but I SO wish it were different.
shucks. Wasn't looking for a compliment, but taking it as reasonably sound advice. It might not be the best career strategy to try to be the contemporary equivilant of Powers & Lehr.
btw- great set of guidlines you've put together to help focus a portfolio for publishing.
This thread is now in my bookmarks. I will refer to it OFTEN.
Honest, I don't try to be an asshole, it just happens!
thank you very much for taking the time and write this!
"The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent."-Mark Twain
WOW!! Irene you really wrote a lot! thank you soo much. that second post of how you go about finding people really helped. thank you!
Thanks a bunch for this, it has been a good read and a lot of useful information. I thought I would ask this, dunno if it is unorthodox and inappropriate to ask but since I am struggling with this, I have to try...
What are the wages in the business? I guess they vary a lot depending on the fame and fortune of the artist but just to get some idea - what should I expect if I wanna do this? I have had some book cover -jobs, small publishers and not big time books so basically I have had shit money (and I am still a student, not a pro) but basically I have to get my salaries to a professional level at some point, I just don´t quite know what that level is.
And of course this varies a lot also depending on the markets, here in Finland we don´t sell quite as much books as you do there... And therefor the salaries are lower.
this is a great thread, but we have a huge amount of stickies, so i needed to unstick this, but this is a bump so people really get a view of it before it falls into dust.
not a bad idea. The artists looking for work area has not a single sticky thread.Originally Posted by jfwallsMaybe you could move it to the employment discussion section.
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Here, everybody. I made a pdf of Irene's article before it gets lost in all the posts. Might kill my server, but have fun downloading and printing!
Irene's Guide to SF/F Portfolio PDF
Maybe if it's OK with Irene, I can add this to the CA Wiki? Lemme know!