Volume 2, Number 1, July 2000
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Further Methods of Promoting Your Work, Reps, and How Illustration is Bought and Sold
The previous two Cacy's Corner columns dealt with various aspects of the business of illustration. In this installment, I'd like to wrap up this topic of business so that we can focus on something actually relating to "painting" next time out. So, let's see if I can answer a few frequently asked questions.
Art directors, designers, and publishers regularly refer to "source books" when searching for the right illustrator for their specific projects. A "source book" is a directory of talent, which depicts the styles of professional illustrators. A few examples: American Showcase, Directory of Illustration, Black Book, Work Book, and so forth. Some source books are also published regionally and, of course, in countries other than the United States. Others target specific media buying audiences, such as children's book publishers, for example. Art directors receive their copies of almost all of these publications at no cost. Artists pay for the opportunity to showcase their work. A page or spread in one of these publications is expensive--$2500 to $6000--but don't panic just yet. If you have something unique to offer, your work may be noticed by thousands of potential clients who might not otherwise know about you. If you have a rep, he or she will share the cost of this type of promotion, making the load a little easier to bear. And in many cases, a rep is buying a block of pages at a time, getting a discounted fee for doing so, leaving the artist owing only a fraction of an already discounted rate. Sounds better already, doesn't it? Another perk to going into a source book is that you receive from the publisher plenty of tear sheets to use for your own promotional purposes.
Haven't seen a source book before? Since most source books are sent out yearly, art directors periodically weed out their stashes and these volumes sometimes wind up in used bookstores. You'll see hundreds of different styles of illustration and can see how illustrators present themselves to the rest of the world, usually where they are located, and whether or not reps carry them.
Source books have kept pace with technology, and as you would imagine, there are some interesting affectations along the information highway. One source book publisher, for example, offers "the i spot" showcase, which is essentially one of the electronic source books available. Check out some of these electronic showcases yourself on the web, but I see some potential and attractive advantages over print media. I always hated the lead-time required before my work could appear in a printed source book, but with electronic or web sources, your work can be up in a matter of days instead of months. Many of the web sources are considerably less expensive than printed source book promotion, and, unlike print media, you can update your page regularly. There are some other aspects and perks to this type of self-promotion, which you might want to check into, as well.
Either way, printed source book or electronic equivalent, you will give yourself more credibility as a professional and gain valuable exposure to the media buying public.
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Reps can be located in the source books already mentioned. If you are new to the business or not exactly a wizard at business, you may want to consider contacting an artist's representative. A rep receives a commission on your work, usually 25-35% of the illustration budget. Consider that a rep deals with art directors and other media buyers on a daily basis, has his or her foot in doorways you never imagined, and as a business professional, the rep can probably negotiate a much higher budget than you can, thus more than justifying the commission. A professional rep is usually responsible for dealing with the client and handling the business negotiations, including billing and collections.
Thinking about signing with a rep? Ask lots of questions up front before entering into an agreement, and, if necessary, tailor the agreement so that you can both be comfortable. If your prospective rep is excited about carrying your work, he'll work with you on establishing an amicable business relationship.
How Illustration is Bought and Sold
The art director may have a budget established for an illustration assignment and in other cases, you may be asked to submit an estimate. If the latter, discuss the layout, intended style, deadline, and nuances of the job with the client thoroughly so that you can prepare an accurate estimate. It is generally not a good idea to immediately fire off a quote over the phone without considering what has to go into the project.
Get a purchase order before you start work. This should include the purchase order number, job number, and authorizing signature and usually covers budget and deadline parameters.
What is your client buying? Get this straight before you start the project. Usually the client wants or needs to buy "usage," meaning he is paying to have the art produced and for the right to publish that art for its intended and expressed purpose; but you must clarify this issue before, not after, the work is executed. Don't take anything for granted. If the client is indeed buying one-time usage of the art, the original artwork remains the property of the artist. If the campaign is successful, further applications may be found for that same art, in which case you and your client will negotiate a fee for additional usage.
Occasionally, a full buy out may be required. This means an increase in budget, of course, since you are agreeing to sign away the original and, probably, reproduction rights. When buy out situations arise, negotiate to make it worth your while financially. The practice of selling the artwork outright, reproduction rights included, is sometimes called "work-for-hire" and has a somewhat bad connotation. I have a couple of clients who occasionally have legitimate reasons for negotiating full buy outs, and I don't have a problem with that issue, as long as the budget justifies such a transaction.
Okay, you've finished the job. And assuming you didn't bite off more than you could chew (remember the deadline is God, so never promise more than you can deliver), the art has gone off to the client on time, everybody's happy and you can bill your client. Don't forget to include the client's P.O. (purchase order) number and job number on your invoice.
For more in-depth info on these topics, again, I would recommend the Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines published by Graphic Artist's Guild.
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by Pat Reynolds
It is said that the eye of the artist is only explained by the artist. When I started this piece, the subject was to have a powerful, majestic look about him; however, as the painting evolved, with the many fall leaves and the relaxing atmosphere surrounding him, it seemed more appropriate to give him that " I've just eaten, leave me alone" look. The goal here is to capture the onlooker for a moment and allow for a justified gazing period and bring you on a mental tour of the entire painting, a sort of "mental massage," something that cannot be brought forth by conventional "growling cat" paintings.
I started off with a pencil study of the cat. Using this method, I am able to have much more control over how I will structure the painting. Normally, this is done three or four times, as I am rarely satisfied with the first draft. Care is taken to not leave out any important details. The one mistake most artists make is poor planning, and you don't want to be experimenting with the layout after you are underway. Using a pencil and eraser, I have the ability to explore the textures I want in the appropriate places. Here there are no rules. I use my fingers a lot to "smudge" the lead around, giving the piece a softer appearance. In contrast to the soft smudges and fades, I break out the erasers--all kinds of them: electric ones, hard ones, and soft ones. They all have a special purpose, and it's important to be able to exploit their every characteristic.
Here is where I get on my wife's nerves. I call her into the studio and ask if she thinks I should change anything! After that, I ask several of my friends if they would change anything. After I have thoroughly aggravated everyone to distraction, I then make a decision to move on to the next step.
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Further back in the background are more leaves and branches out-of-focus, done almost exclusively with the airbrush because of the extreme control you can achieve without any thought. I could apply more of my efforts to creativity rather than the technical aspects, but, more importantly, their value has dropped as they go back. I was careful not to use black at full strength, as this has a tendency to kill a painting! The reason is that the human eye usually recognizes about seven values per eyeful. So keep this in mind for your next painting.
Speaking of eyes, the thing I believe an artist should concentrate the most on are the eyes of the subject you are painting. Here I knew the light source would do several things: It would both cast a shadow on and reflect off the eyeball of my subject. To take advantage of this, I added some baby blue that I mixed using white, blue, and a tad of brown to reflect the sky. Draping down you'll see lines that are nothing more than shadows from the delicate lashes of the eyelid. It's very important to know how light plays inside an eyeball. In short, light enters the eye on one side but illuminates the other side. This is best illustrated by studying raindrops. Note that I use a simple technique utilizing the freehand stencil. This is an invaluable tool that should be in every artist's arsenal, and Artool makes this one. I find the right size circle to make the outer part of the eye and then a smaller circle to illustrate the pupil.
After a few small added details and points of interest such as the lady bug I added (so the sales people at the gallery could have something to point out to gazing customers and use as a sales tool), I then went on to apply one coat of Damar clear to protect it from small scratches during transportation. The finished piece is then framed and shot in a professional photography studio. Prints are made and they are then sold on the market for about $250 per limited edition print. (Edition size is 950.) The original is then priced at $8,500.
Hope this helps in some way to lead you effortlessly down the road to success in fine art! And, as always, happy airbrushing!
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|ARTtalk is a monthly eight-page newsletter available FREE-OF-CHARGE from Participating Art Material Retailers in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques--how to work and paint with watercolor, oils, or acrylics; use pastels or pen and ink, airbrush, and more. You'll find information on art history, current events and art world news, as well as an occasional "Kids' Korner." Subjects vary and change each month.|
A Review: Airbrush Expo International/ Vargas Awards Ceremony 2000/ Airbrush Action Getaway Workshops
by Gabe McCubbin
Welcome to Atlantic City, on the New Jersey Shore! And welcome to the Airbrush Expo International and the 2000 Vargas Awards Ceremony, hosted by Airbrush Action magazine and Cliff Stieglitz, publisher. This was the airbrush industry's newest premier trade show at the new Atlantic City Convention Center the weekend of June 24-25. The weather was absolutely stellar for this event!
Before the Expo got started, there was a week of Airbrush Action Getaway workshops going on, taught by some of the very top artists, illustrators and art instructors in the world. For illustration: Michael Cacy and Debbie Eastlack; for automotive: Craig Fraser and Joe Calabrese; for canvas: Steve Driscoll and Henry Asencio; and for T-shirt airbrushing: Terry Hill and Kent Lind.
Cliff Stieglitz has said that the lengthening list of Vargas Award recipients amounts to the airbrushing "Hall of Fame." Among the greats who have been honored in past years are Charles White III, H.R. Giger, Mark Fredrickson, Ed Roth, Andrea Mistretta and Martin Mull.
It's never an easy job for the panel of judges and Airbrush Action staffers who must pick just a few artists from the many who deserve recognition. This year, the panel has chosen a group whose contributions have helped define the art of airbrushing for three decades: Robert Anderson, Gy Billout, Peter Lloyd, Tom Nikosy, Peter Palombi, and Kim Whitesides. With a guest list that reads like a "Who's Who" in the world of airbrushed art, the 2000 Vargas Awards presentation took place on Friday, June 23rd, in the main ballroom at the Resorts International Hotel. The presenters were all past recipients of the Vargas Award: Robert Paschal, Michael Cacy, Jerry Lofarro, Richard Lebenson, David Willardson and Roger Huysson.
Cliff Stieglitz hired a fabulous band, Blue Gumbo, that ROCKED!!! This was a versatile group of musicians, to be sure. They guys could play! Michael Cacy, right after a broken wrist he had just suffered in Bermuda, even had a chance to do a little impromptu jam (he was Jonesin' to play!) with a percussion shaker during a presentation/slide show moment, because of technical difficulties. He turned to the band and said, "Let's hit it!" It was perfect. The whole crowd erupted with cheers. And the food was truly a gourmet feast. Cliff really went all out to make sure everyone was treated to a spectacular show and good time.
Each presentation of a Vargas Award was accompanied by a slide presentation of a body of the artist's work. This was a rare treat indeed. Most of the works shown were like a walk down memory lane. Suddenly all of the images you've seen displayed commercially throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's all came home in a flash: From the covers of Rolling Stone, famous album covers of biggest music stars, to the covers of Time magazine and much, much more. The depth of their work seemed absolutely endless. Everyone seemed to be in disbelief at just how much these award recipients had contributed to the public consciousness in so many fantastic, artistically mind-boggling ways--with the use of an airbrush! I felt very privileged to be among this crowd. Well, some after-hours partying, entertainment, and gambling (you're in Atlantic City!) followed after the formal ceremony had ended.
The Airbrush Expo International the next day at the new Atlantic City Convention Center started off with a bang. Many artists' works, as well as works in progress, were being featured at the show. To name a few: Peter Polumbi, Craig Fraser, Debbie Eastlack, Froschin Meinrad (Germany), Alberto Ponno (Italy), Julian Braet (with One Shot Color), Steve Driscoll, Terry Hill, Kent Lind, Mario, Ron Gress (with Silentaire & The Spectrum 2000). There were live demonstrations featured in their booths and at the various manufacturers' booths. Also attending was a majority of the airbrush-related manufacturing giants, including: Medea/Iwata/Artool, ArtTalk.com and AirbrushTalk.com, House of Kolor, Artograph, Artgrafix, One Shot, Silentaire (Ron Gress was demonstrating his new Spectrum 2000 Airbrush System), Createx, Badger, Frisk, Aqua Flow, Coast Airbrush, Italy's Airbrush Art magazine, Air Source One, and too many more to mention here. And, one of the best parts: admission to the Expo was totally FREE!
There were approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people that passed through the doors of the first International Airbrush Expo. And the new Atlantic City Convention Center is a terrific venue for a show of this caliber. Cliff was in terrific form--making announcements about the various artists doing live demos; announcing winners for the drawings and prizes to be awarded; and just permeating the atmosphere with lively comments and keeping everything festive, upbeat, and generally making everyone who entered feel welcome and glad they came. He told me that there are plans in the works right now to make next year's Airbrush Expo even larger, with more creative surprises and fun times for all. Kudos to the Airbrush Action staff and Cliff Stieglitz for making my time in Atlantic City this year a memorable one. See ya next year!
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"Bad Hair Day?" The Basics of Painting Fur
by J.w Baker
When painting most fur patterns, you want to start with an opaque background of a medium value color. This "medium value color" should be in accordance with the overall coloring of your subject. Once applied, you want to transfer the outlines for the fur pattern from your reference. This would be dependent on the species of your subject such as, stripes for a tiger, spots for a jaguar or leopard, etc. Using a transparent wash of either a darker or lighter value, you define the basic fur texture, be it dense, long or short fur.
Once the larger dark patterns are defined, you can also begin to add the smaller shadows in the lighter areas of the fur. You don't want to use a value that is so dark as to be in direct contrast with these lighter areas, but rather just dark enough to be clearly visible. Using a still lighter value color, begin defining the lighter areas of fur. Paint these lighter shades on the upper portions to indicate the light source in the painting.
Since we are using an airbrush to apply these color values in close proximity to one another, there is always the ever-present over-spray to contend with. In most cases over-spray is so minimal as to be inconsequential, and actually in some cases works to your advantage when you want to blend two sequential colors. There are times, however, where this same over-spray can "muddy" the contrasts you wish to obtain, and in these cases I've found the "Artool - Freehand Airbrush Templates" to be invaluable. This is especially true in the case of defining a contrast between two colors with subtle, yet different color values, such as outlined in the above steps.
At this time you want to mix up both lighter and darker color values to continue to add further detail and create the illusion of depth. Put more emphasis on your light source and shadow depth at this point. Also at this stage, you can use transparent values to make the centers of certain fur areas appear lighter, depending on the markings of the species like the spots of the jaguar or leopards.
The last step is to make this illusion of fur really stand out. To create the feeling of thickness and depth to the fur, use your very darkest and lightest values to really accentuate the highlights and shadows. This process of "layering" the various color values is the real secret to creating the perception of fur you can "feel" without even touching. If you have done this process well, your reward will be to hear people say, "It just looks so real I want to reach right out and pet that animal."
A note about templates:
For years I always prided myself on being a self-taught, no stencils, no templates, freehand kind of artist. I did quite well under these constraints. In the last year, it has been my pleasure to make the acquaintance of Gabe McCubbin, founder of Artool, who convinced me to try a couple of these templates just to see if it might make a difference in my art. Well it did, and I have to admit that I was mistaken with regard to my preconceptions about templates and how they would somehow dilute the purity of my art. Quite the contrary, actually not only have they proven to be a real time-saver, but my finished product is even better than ever. It has a sharper, cleaner look to it, which translates to better presence. I believe I owe my clients the very best work I can do, and I have found these templates have helped me to fulfill that obligation - with pleasure. (My favorites are both Radu Vero templates "The Pharaoh" & "The Bird" and Gabe's own "The Big Shield.")
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Las Vegas, NV
Sponsored by Airbrush Action
Attendees can learn how to build their businesses, test new supplies and sample the latest products and equipment for free, participate in networking opportunities, or advance their technical expertise through seminars/workshops. Top talent such as Debbie Eastlack, Terry Hill, Steve Driscoll, Craig Fraser, Michael Cacy, and Traci Emerick will be teaching workshops on Commercial Illustration, T-Shirt Airbrushing, Canvas Airbrushing, Automotive Airbrushing, Introduction to Airbrushing, Fingernail Airbrushing, and Body Art. Call for information/reservations: 800-232-8998.
5th Annual Art Methods and Materials Show
Pasadena Convention Center
Sponsored by American Artist Magazine
This is the largest artist's trade show/convention in the U.S. with over 180 classes spanning a four-day period. Subjects as diverse as watercolor, pastel, marketing, and airbrush technique are offered in seminars/workshops. This year AM&M will again present instructors Pam Shanteau and Richard Sturdevant with a full array of three-hour airbrush workshops from basic airbrush technique to airbrushing tattoos and body art. For information, call 888-200-7895.
2000 Pearl Paint Great American Art Event
Sponsored by Pearl Paint
The ninth year of this popular trade show includes two full days of workshops for artists and crafters. Among airbrush workshops, Pamela Shanteau will be teaching Basic Airbrush Fundamentals, The Airbrush Applied, and Temporary Tattoo and Body Art Application. For information, call 1-800-PEARL94. Those online can go to www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm for info on the AM&M and PEARL shows.
Top Artisans' Miniatures Show
Los Angeles, CA
Info: (714) 505-1025
Model Railroad & Toy Train Show
Info: (734) 455-2110
ARCHON 23: Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention
Info: (314) 326-3026
National Model & Hobby Show
Rosemont Convention Center
Sponsored by Radio Control Hobby Trade Assn and Model Railroad Industry Assn.
The B.I.G. Show - Best in Graphics
Info: (303) 469-0424; online at www.nbm.com/bigshow
|WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.|
Look for the next issue of AirbrushTalk©--October 15, 2000