Dogs and Cats Around Town: There sits Chance, the Hound Dog, guarding The Happy Cook at the Barracks Road Shopping Center. That handsome, happy dog will be there until the fall. If you're interested in winning him, visit The Happy Cook and purchase raffle tickets for the Charlottesville area SPCA.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
As student medical illustrators, we learned all of the illustration techniques of the old masters. I think the only time I used this technique was as a student. The method consisted of applying carbon dust, obtained by rubbing carbon pencils against an abrasive surface such as a metal file, to a prepared surface via dry brushes. Highlights were painted on or scratched out later in the process using fine instruments or erasures. A very specialized paper was used. Wonder if it's even made anymore.
This extremely fragile piece is entering the Lloyd Library and Museum in Ohio as a part of the Vesalius Trust Collection of Art Serving Medicine and Science. I hope to continue to post pieces as they're prepared for shipping.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Recently a young, fresh out of school artist (working at Starbucks) in New York City contacted me for advice about how to jump start his career. He'd had some good assignments as an illustrator, but things have slowed greatly recently and he needs help.
His question below stems from my asking him if he is thinking of changing careers at this slow juncture, and finding a more lucrative "regular" job. A lot of succeeding as an artist is having an extraordinarily thick skin, stamina, and patience. It is not for the faint of heart or those vaguely motivated.
I am not at this time considering changing careers. Yes, I am young. Yes, I am poor. If either of those sentences changes, then I'll revisit the subject. Until then, I hold firm to something my mother told me years ago, when I first expressed interest in commercial art -- that illustration is the business of the last man standing. If I can just hold on long enough, it will work. I will outlast the others because whenever I pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, I know that this is what I was meant to do. Whenever things get a little dry (right now would be a good example) I always toss options around out loud. I never really mean any of them. I'm here to stay.
Being young and unencumbered (forgive me, I don't know if you're married and/or have children, I'm just guessing you're not) is the best way to start building a career in illustration. Your mother is exactly right - it takes almost unlimited perseverance at first. There will be weeks and months (and of course, weekends) when you have so much work you won't have a minute off and yet you can't afford to turn anything down; and then a dry period will test your commitment and make you get back to marketing all over again.
The harder you work, the better you'll think, the freer you'll create, the more confident you'll become, and the more likely buyers will trust that you will do a terrific, professional job on time and on budget. They will trust you to make them look great.
You sound very self-aware of how you feel about being an illustrator. That's essential, because if you can't convince yourself that what you're doing is worth it, you won't convince anyone else.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Finally finished up the portrait of the lovely Wickers the Warmblood. Wicker's owner is very pleased with how the portrait turned out, which makes it all worthwhile. I've included the very early wash-in phase of the painting on the right. The basic elements of light and dark followed through to the finish.
It would have been very easy to take the detail too far. I primarily wanted to capture her beautiful, soft eye in the sun.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Da Vinci Horse Dressage
This 11 X 13" giclee print is signed by award-winning artist C. Twomey. The image is 10" X 8", and is a giclee from Heritage. It is unframed.
Commissioned for the cover of the "United States Dressage Federation" magazine Connections, it was inspired by "The Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1487. This could be considered the Canon of Proportions" for the horse performing the dressage movement piaffe. It is based on the correlations of ideal horse proportions with geometry. It exemplifies the blend of art and science during the Renaissance.
This winning painting won "First Place in Illustration for the American Horse Publications Annual Awards in 2007. It depicts an anatomically accurate transparent horse and skeleton.
NOTE: this is the first time I've sold a painting on ebay in years. The prices reflect this "experiment" into selling and are abnormally low. A great time to take advantage of pricing that will continue to rise.
Visit catherinetwomey.com for my resume, awards and portfolio.
Friday, July 6, 2012
- Recently I was contacted by a young, fresh out of art school "artist" who specializes in illustration. I put "artist" in quotes because he's currently working at a Starbucks in New York City and trying to succeed on the side. A hard-working, very talented person who just can't seem to break into the field, and finding that the information given in art school just wasn't enough.
- Although it's been many years since I've had to start out attempting to become a successful artist, and though the tools have changed, the basic principles remain the same. I'm still marketing all these years later, so I'm going to occasionally post edited versions of the questions asked, along with my responses.
- "I get overwhelmed by how to go about getting clients and remembering who I contacted and when. Things keep falling through the cracks and I feel like there are opportunities I'm missing because of it. How can I get my act together and start to run like a business not a class I just need to pass?"
- You need software or some kind of formal note taking to help you keep track of names, titles, addresses, phone, etc. It's the kind of thing that will tell you what you mailed to someone, and when, so you know when to make a follow-up call to the mailing to see if you can open a door or elicit a response. You MUST keep this updated. You'll be amazed at how quickly people change jobs, titles, cell phone numbers, etc. There is expensive and dedicated software out there to do this, but I have found that just setting up a table in Word or getting a program like Filemaker pro works just as well.
- Whatever software you get, you have to use it to make it worthwhile! I would force myself to cold call, say, five or ten contacts a week (minimum) unless I was so overwhelmed with work that I wasn't getting any sleep. This is something that I had to do throughout my career. Cold calling and being more extroverted is not fun or easy at first, especially if you're shy and/or reticent. Believe me, I know, as that describes me to a "T". Often, it's the way of artists. For more information, I'll get into how to recognize and deal with this in depth later on.
A sample sheet from 2000 when I was marketing for medical illustration work. Life moves on! Every bit of contact information on this page has long since changed!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
- We have power!!! It's been out since Friday night, making for a very long, hot, basically incommunicado four days. Lots of time spent at Starbucks & Panera. We really got hit by the derecho (straight line) storm, and so did lots of people, trees, homes and power lines. There are still over one million people without electricity, and it's 95 today.
- The best thing I could do with time on my hands was finish the SPCA hound dog for the "Dogs and Cats Around Town" event, so I did! There is Chance the Hound above. On Friday afternoon we're taking him to the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, where there's going to be a big kick-off for all 18 dog and cat statues at 5:00 pm at the Freedom Wall. Everyone's invited so come on down!
- Hope everyone else is well and staying cool. It's great to be back!