As you may know, I have been working on writing and designing an art book of my Circus series. Recently, I decided the editing of the short story that I had written to accompany the images was finally finished! This meant I could start finalizing the book’s design. I had worked on the design months ago, but it turned out that the layout size I has been working with was too big to print unless I drastically increased the page size. So I spent the better part of a week resizing each page. You probably wouldn’t think that it would take that long, but resizing the page meant also resizing each photo and each text box. The text boxes were the most challenging because I had to figure out how to get my newly edited (and slightly longer) story to fit in these shrunken pages. It was tough, but I eventually got it. Almost the entire inside of the book is now set for printing, which is very exciting.
Even more exciting, perhaps, is that my so-called “circus book” now has an official title! With the help of my partner, Serena, and my sister/editor-in-chief, I brainstormed titled for over two weeks. Finally, I settled on The Ringleader. Armed with a title, I will finally be able to properly promote this project! I have started by designing a promotional postcard. Pictured above is the front and to the left is the back of the card. I ordered some test copies from VistaPrint and I was so pleased to receive them yesterday. They look pretty good, although I do want to change a few minor things about the design before I reorder.
It is more exhilarating than I can express to be getting so close to self-publishing this art book. Ever since I encountered art books like Brian Froud’s Good Faeries/Bad Faeries and Suza Scalora’s The Faeries I have dreamed of publishing my own artwork into a book. To have that lifetime goal almost complete is amazing.
While the last several weeks have been mostly about The Ringleader, I have also been lucky enough to have some new faces model for me. First was Monique, the daughter of a member at the CNY Arts Center. We arranged to actually shoot at the Center on their stage. They were gracious enough to let me use their theatre lighting as well, which was an amazing experience. I always prefer hot lighting which provided strong highlights and dark shadows. Normally I achieve this with household lamps, candles, flashlights, and floodlights. Using the theatre’s spotlight worked so amazingly—I officially need one. Unfortunately, we only had time for two sets, but I have already sorted through and found some great images I can’t wait to work on. Monique brought some awesome costume pieces! Above is an example of her costume pieces—she even brought the mask!
Next I shot with Savannah who also brought multiple outfits and props. When she got in the car with all her bags, I was strongly reminded of being a kid. Whenever I went over to my friends’ houses to play pretend, I would always bring several bags full of dress-up clothes. Since she essentially did the same thing, I could tell right away that I was going to like working with Savannah. As it turns out, I was right—she was a ton of fun to photograph! She was not afraid of being silly, although she did apologize for it both constantly and unnecessarily. The image to left is just one example of her silliness. Sorting through her footage was hard because I want to use so many of them. It’s going to be difficult to choose.
While organizing all the new photos into folders, I also discovered that I have several images that are basically done but have not been shared on the website or on my social media pages. When I edit my photos, the final stage is very tedious. I enlarge the image and go through it to make sure there are no stray pixels or noise. This step takes so much time and patience that I am often guilty of postponing it. All of the mostly finished works are stuck on this step. So I guess I should stop waiting and go finish those up, shouldn’t I?
Maybe I will use some of those new images for my entries for the 6x6x2014 show at RoCo. I also have started two small mixed media drawings for the show, although finishing them may prove difficult. As always, I have a list a mile long of things that need to get done. Such is the life of an artist. At least I'll never be bored!
I have very exciting news! As some of you may have heard from my Facebook announcement, I have secured an artist’s table at FaerieCon East in November. I am really excited about this. I have always had a soft spot for FaerieCon, because it was the first convention I attended. It was the first year they had an east coast version when my friend and frequent model, Erin, discovered it. We looked up the website and I immediately knew I NEEDED to go to. A group of us scrounged for the money and we went for the whole weekend. It was one of the best experiences of my life. At FaerieCon, I finally felt at home. It opened my eyes to a whole world of people—adults included—who believed in magic and faeries as much as I did. It was the first time I had ever felt like an insider, rather than a weirdo. Attending FaerieCon became a yearly tradition for a long time. I even had a vending booth one year. Although I didn’t come close to making up the cost of the booth, the experience was totally worth the financial cost. I have missed it two years in a row now, and each time it has truly upset me. So you can understand my excitement at not only getting to attend FaerieCon, but also to get to display my artwork!
After doing a few other sci-fi/fantasy conventions over last summer, I became rather frustrated about the convention scene. While I always met some people who were truly interested in my work, I felt like a lot of the con-goers were only interested in fan art. At FaerieCon, there is significantly more original artwork. Plus, the attendees (while I’m sure they also would love a variety of fan art, cause who doesn’t?) always seemed to be looking for original artwork, so I feel like my work has a better chance of making an impression.
I am also really pumped because I found out that I may be able to enter work into the art show at Dragon*Con without actually having to make the trip down there. While I really want to attend Dragon*Con, financially I can’t do it this year. However, I’m excited about the prospect of sharing my artwork at that venue. I am also making plans to attend RocCon again as well as EerieCon this year.
In addition to my convention sign-ups and research, I have been spending the beginning of this new year trying to really kick up my work on my circus book. My goal is to have printed copies ready to sell at FaerieCon. Which means I need to finish editing and get the design finished. I also need to settle on a title…I think I’ve narrowed my choices down, but I’m still not positive which one I will go with.
I also have officially started shooting for a new series! I took some self-portraits last weekend and then met with a new model, Heather, yesterday. Both shoots went very well and I am excited to start the editing process. I was gonna post one of my favorites from the shoot, but I can't seem to find the cord to connect my camera, nor my card reader/USB drive...I think that means it's time to clean my studio! Wish me happy cleaning!
So I know I haven’t blogged in a while and there is probably a lot I could write about, but I’m going to focus today on my most recent event, RocCon. Held at the Main St. Armory in Rochester, this multi-genre convention was a lot of fun. The traffic was much better than Ryu-Kon and I met some great people, made some new connections and even sold a few pieces!
There were quite a few highlights of this weekend. One was meeting these fantastic people cosplaying as Jayne, Kaylee, and Simon from Firefly. They were all awesome and their costumes were spot on! The girl dressed as Kaylee (who introduced herself, but unfortunately I do not remember her name L) actually made her costume. She made a fantastic Kaylee! Her friend dressed as Simon was also “in character” as he was rather shy and serious. It took them forever to get “Simon” over to my table so I could take a picture of them together along with one of my neighboring vendors (S. A. McKay, author of Queens) who was dressed as Mal. Seeing them in the sea of other cosplayers made my day.
There were some other really great outfits there as well. The lady below, bless her soul, stopped by my table and couldn’t stop talking about how cute *I* was with my winged ears and bottles-of-gears earrings. I kept trying to tell her that I wanted to take her picture because I loved her steampunk hat, but it was hard to interrupt her flattering me, haha. I eventually was able to talk her into a photo, and then I discovered that her hat lit up! She was quite remarkable.
I also met some great people who were interested in modeling for me, which is very exciting. Several people related my work to Neil Gaiman and/or Dave McKean, which never fails to make me giddy. I had a great conversation with one gentleman about Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, probably my favorite Gaiman piece. He was very impressed by my work and ended up asking if I could do a commissioned portrait of him and his wife. I look forward to working on that with him.
I also got to meet Keith R. A. DeCandido, the Author Guest of Honor of the convention. He has not only written a series of his own (The Dragon Precinct series) but has also done writing for several franchises, such as Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Farscape. It was kind of funny because at first I didn’t know who he was. Every time he walked past my table he would grin at me and wave. Then, there were a few times when I walked past his table and he would try to talk to me, but I was always on a mission for something and couldn’t stop. At one point, he stopped at my table, looked through my art and chatted a little bit. It was then that I noticed his badge and felt kind of bad that I hadn’t made more of an effort to speak to him earlier. Shortly after, I made a point to go bother him at his table. We had some good conversations about writing, fantasy, and sci-fi. My favorite conversation was probably when we argued about Dollhouse, the Joss Whedon show. He tried (in vain) to convince me that Dollhouse wasn’t that good. I give him props for effort though :D. I was very flattered when he ended up purchasing one of my prints.
Although I did meet a lot of great people and made some good connections, by Sunday, I will admit I was a little bummed that I hadn’t sold anything. There were lots of people who really liked the work and many took my card saying they might order online…but it was still discouraging.
I did the majority of business in the last half hour of the convention—and all to other vendors. One of the coolest sales was to an author named Jasmine Mead. I had been eyeing her book, Our Last Hero (which she also designed the cover of) all weekend, but since I hadn’t made back the money for the table, I really couldn’t afford to buy it. I felt even worse about this because I had talked to her on Friday and told her I was going to buy it. Late on Sunday, she came over to my table and started looking through my bin of prints. After a few minutes, she sighed and picked up my business card, asking if I had prints available online. I told her I did, but if she was interested I would be willing to trade her the print for her book. She agreed and even signed the copy for me! I was super happy about it and can’t wait to read it.
Right after that, another vendor came over and asked for the same print that Jasmine had purchased. I did not have the 8.5 x 11 size, but she was happy to buy the 13 x 19 print. I found it very interesting that I sold more of the prints of the mixed media drawings than my photography work. Makes me glad that I kept the prints of drawings in the bin! This last vendor, Taylor’s Maid Designs, was a mother-daughter team selling artwork and greeting cards/gift boxes from upcycled materials. We had a lovely conversation with them about the convention scene in general.
We talked in part about how conventions can sometimes be frustrating because the customers are often more interested in fan art than original works. I had found this the case throughout the weekend. Many people would only kind of glance at my artwork but would go crazy over an artwork based on something they knew already. I understand why this is the case but, as an original artist who does not do any fan art, it can be very frustrating and financially more difficult. The Maid (the mother part of the team) pointed out that the reason that I sold primarily to vendors is because they can appreciate the artistry and originality in my work more than some of the con-goers. I know in time I will make more sales, I guess I just get impatient sometimes.
One regret I have from this convention was not getting out from behind my table very much. There were a lot of vendors there and I wish I had had a chance to speak to more of them. Next time I will try harder to do that.
I also need to get working on some promo for my Circus book (which still needs a title). I did get to talk to a LOT of people at this con about my book, which was great. I had a little sign on my table that said “Ask me About my Book” and at RocCon, people actually did! Even so, I definitely need to get some postcards, stickers, buttons, or something made up that specifically promote the upcoming publication. Plus I need to finish the editing process and get a finished layout so I can do a test printing! Ah! Always so much to do!
In addition to this great convention, I have also been *attempting* to follow along with this 52-Week Photo Challenge created by a local artist, Diana “Bunnykissd” Bukowski. I’m currently behind, although I think attempting to work toward these challenges has helped me keep up with creating more art, so that’s a good thing for sure.
Well, I think I’ve rambled enough for one day. Check out Bunnykissd’s blog here to read more about the 52-Week Photo Challenges. If you’d like to see the images I’ve submitted for the project, check out the flickr group here.
I am finally getting to post about all the excitement that's occurred over the last couple of weeks! First, I want to talk about my trip up north a few weekends ago when I was fortunate to have the chance to FINALLY take some new photographs. I have been complaining about needing more images to work on for a while, so when we were planning a trip up to Massena, NY, I knew I just had to get ahold of my friends/models to get some shoots scheduled. Thankfully I was able to schedule two different sessions! The first set was with an old friend and frequent model-er, Erin LaVoie. We met up around dusk at a local park. Erin came with loads of costumes and accessories piled into the back of her car. It was like the good old times when we were kids. We would go over to each other's homes to play pretend and would always go with at least two backpacks jam packed with costumes.
Erin: Nothing's changed!Erin modeling as The Tightrope Walker.
We did a total of 3 sets with various costumes using flashlights, streetlights, some glow sticks and a light up bouncy ball as light sources. We had a fantastic time and I am so looking forward to sorting through and working on the images I captured. Keep an eye out for sneak peeks coming soon on my Facebook Page.
I will forever be grateful that Erin became so willing to model for me. Believe it or not, she used to hate having her pictures taken, but now she is quite enjoys it. She has gotten pretty good at it too. I think she has spoiled me a bit because she is so used to my style and ideas, she needs little direction from me. She just poses effortlessly, which is great. Although it sometimes makes it difficult for me to start working with a new model. Of no fault of their own, a new model doesn't always know what kind of poses I am looking for. I experienced this on my second photo session with the lovely Jarika Donalis.
After being friends with Jarika for almost three years, it only just occured to me to ask if she would be interested in modeling for me. She has a great sense of style-a little punk mixed with some floral prints-so I knew she could have some great outfits for me to use already. She gladly agreed to the proposal so we set up a time. We had a great time and I think I got some nice shots. To start with, she was unsure what to do, so I kind of posed her like a mannequin-right down to her fingers! As I predicted, we were able to use her extensive wardrobe to design 3 costumes. By the end of the 3rd set, Miss Jarika got the hang of it. I am by far the most excited about the last few images!
Amidst all this fantasy photo shoot mayhem, I also had a wonderful time visiting with family. The only thing that could have made the trip better would have been more time. Unfortunately, it ended all too soon and I had a long day of substituting the next day. By the end of the school day, I was exhausted. Thankfully, I had just enough time to take a nap before I had to get ready to attend the CNY Arts Center's Artist Meet-up. This is a social gathering of visual artists designed to allow us t share work, talk about ideas and just have fun. This month's event also consisted of a field trip to our new Arts in the Heart Gallery.
My work at the CNY Arts Center's Gallery.
During our trip to the Gallery, I was able to install my work there as well. I am actually the featured artist of the month! If you live in Central New York, you should stop by and check it out at 47 1st St, Fulton, NY. Visit http://cnyartscenter.com/cny-arts-center-gallery.html for more information.
Over the last week, I have been kept very busy with substituting. However, I think I have been getting better about making sure I find time to work on my own art stuff as well. As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I submitted an entry into a t-shirt design contest that I created partly with my drawing tablet in Photoshop. No word on that yet, but it got me really excited about creating illustrations with my tablet. I would expect to see more examples like that soon!
Now, I am off to the CNY Arts Center's Author Spotlight event to hear Margaret Streitenberger and illustrator Jim Arnold speak about their new book, Did the Cow Really Jump Over the Moon? It's a memoir about pet sitting that looks really interesting. Until next time...
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.