My pilgrimage to Mecca.
When I went through school, the internet didn't exist yet. The only way to get work as an illustrator was to pound the pavement in New York.
While I spent fifteen years in corporate graphic design, the internet came along and the entire business changed. "Doing" New York has been replaced by quarterly postcard mailings and websites. You don't have to go to New York to be an illustrator nowadays - ever.
But I'm old school. I knew I wouldn't feel like a "true" illustrator until I "did" New York. So, now I'm bonafide! What a great trip.
I met up with several illustrators who I talk with regularly on the illustrators board and the SCBWI board (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators: www.scbwi.com). We invaded New York sumthin' proper. We ate at a real NY deli. (I have to say, New York pickles are so far beyond any pickles I've ever had, they belong in their own elite class.) We ate at a lovely French restaurant in Murray Hill where I indulged in a fois gras terrine. We swapped portfolios and oohed and aahed over the annual show at the Society of Illustrators, another place I've always wanted to visit.
The conference itself was interesting. It was held at the Society of Illustrators, a narrow, five story building with a red door. Portfolios were displayed on one floor, portfolio and dummy critiques were on the top floor and in the basement (my reviews were back to back, luckily from top to bottom and not the other way round). They kept us occupied with speakers while art buyers drifted in and out all day checking out our work. Robert Sabuda moderated a panel made up of Editor Michele Burke (RH), AD Lily Malcom (Dial), and Agent Edward Necarsulmer (McIntosh & Otis); illustrator Ed Young talked about his method; animator Jerry Lieberman showed us "The Parrot and the Plumber" (one of my faves as a kid); and Paulette Bogan entertained us talking about her career. I do have to say, there were several technical difficulties and obvious time killers which nobody appreciated, but I still defend my opinion that what was really important was happening in another room (the art buyers viewing our portfolios).
I was surprisingly pleased with my reviews. Both agents offered new perspectives that really helped me. The agent reviewing my portfolio, Mela Bolinao of hk portfolio, blew my mind. What a firecracker! She seemed to crawl right into my head and "know" my art brain almost immediately. I was wowed, must say. Didn't expect that.
The highlight for me, however, was rooming with my buddy Karen Lee, and meeting and hanging out with such great illustrators as: Ron Chironna (who organized our whole meet-up - what a doll), Inga Poslitur, Amy Hamberry, Barb Eveleth, Jennifer Merz, Olga Rogachevskaya, Robyn Gecht, and Beth Jones. I also enjoyed meeting Amalia Hoffman, Giselle McMenamin, Susie Lee Jin, Matt Watier, and Stephanie Ruble.
Thanks to Karen Lee for use of the group photo - my camera battery died the first day there, dagnabbit!
Read about my thoughts on New York.