I just finished an amazing weekend at Scare-a-Con, a horror and pop culture convention near Syracuse, NY. I was a little unsure about participating in this event because of the emphasis on horror (and let's face it, none of my work is all that "horrific") but I am definitely glad I went. Although I only made a few sales, I talked to a lot of people about my work and passed out a ton of my promotional postcards about the book. Plus, I met some wonderful artists/vendors! My favorites were probably my neighbors: Edward and Jessica Yancey. They were super friendly which made it easier for me to immediately open up to customers. At cons, I tend to be really shy until the last day, which is no good for making connections. Since this is my last "trial" con before FaerieCon, one of my goals was to be outgoing right off the bat on Friday. Thanks to Ed and Jessica, I think I succeeded.
One of the greatest things that happened at the con was how all of my neighboring vendors banded together to spread the word about Artist Alley. The way this con was set up, there was the main vending hall and then in the two hallways on either side, there were separate vendors (one side was a "VHS fest" with vendors selling movies and collectibles, and the other side was Artist Alley). Since we were separate from the other vendors, many con-goers didn't even know there WAS an Artist Alley. I actually talked to a Staff member of the convention on Sunday who admitted he didn't know the Artist Alley was there either! However, instead of just complaining about the situation, a group of AA vendors decided to do something about it.
This convention also gave me some great ideas for products and promotional items. I am going to explore making greeting cards and/or postcards in addition to creating a line of mini prints of my work. Plus I need to reorganize my portfolio books. So much to do! Maybe it is a good thing I have two months to prepare!! I'd better get started...
Time for a quick update!
I have been visiting family here in West Virginia for the past week. We had our family reunion here. It was a small gathering this year but it was still a lot of fun. We planned some cool crafts for the kids, including a "firework" painting and glitter wands. Us adults had fun playing Apples to Apples and Cranium. I'm excited to use some of the photos I took while I've been here in some new images, especially the ones I took around our camp fire.
I am also super excited to announce that my Kickstarter campaign to fund the self-publication of The Ringleader has officially started! I worked for weeks working out all the kinks in my rewards, description, and my video and it is finally ready. You can check it out here:
My goal is to raise $5,000--that will allow me to self-publish 150+ copies of The Ringleader, plus produce and ship all the rewards that my backers will receive. I will only get funded if I reach my goal by July 31--so there's only 24 more days to go! Only you can help make it happen! Just visit Kickstarter and back my project for as little as $1. I know money can be tight, so know that any amount you can back is greatly appreciated!
Want to know more about The Ringleader? Be sure to visit my new page about the book here. There you will find a PDF preview of the first couple pages. As the campaign progresses, I will be adding updates here and on Kickstarter.
Hello all! I'm excited to announce that I am starting a Kickstarter project so I can self-publish The Ringleader--you know, the art book featuring my Circus series that I keep talking about? I am so close to finishing it and Kickstarter will give me the funds to do it properly.
Never heard of Kickstarter? Well, it's basically a crowd-funding website that specializes in creative projects. What happens is the creator of a project (in this case, me) sets a monetary goal that he/she needs to meet in order to produce a specific project. If someone likes said project, they can "back" it for as little as $1. For each monetary level, the creator of the project offers rewards or incentives that vary by project. The rewards often include copies of the final project. The cool part is that money only exchanges hands if the project gets funded in full:
All-or-nothing funding protects creators from being stuck with a fraction of the funds they need and an audience expecting fully funded results.
I started looking into Kickstarter at a suggestion from my Aunt Lynne. The first step was to do a lot of research about how the projects work. I looked at tons of projects (mostly from the publishing category since that's where my art book would fit under). I read countless proposals, watched lots of different project videos and looked at the wide range of rewards that different creators offered.
Probably my favorite project was an illustrated novel for adults called Caelum Sky by authorstrator Andrea Radeck. She has these awesome illustrations of this little red dinosaur character who is super cute. Sadly, I missed the chance to be backer for her project, but I plan on watching for the release of her book so I can buy a copy.
Once I got a feel for how other people had outlined their projects, I was able to start brainstorming how to set up my own. I believe I am going to set my goal at around $5,000 which would be enough to cover the rewards and a publishing run of 150+ copies of The Ringleader in hardcover (and with a dust jacket). For rewards, I am offering bookmarks, Limited Edition mini prints, as well as copies of The Ringleader, when it gets published.
Probably the trickiest part has been creating a video to showcase my Kickstarter project. While not necessary, having a video greatly increases the chances of a successful project. Thankfully, I discovered that my Mac has a program for video editing (iMovie) and although it is not the fanciest program, it has allowed me to edit the video to make it more engaging by adding image stills and voiceovers. I am getting pretty close to being done with editing the actual video portion. Then I will have to decide if I should add music or not.
My goal is to finish it up by the end of next week so I can launch my Kickstarter project. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Tumblr for updates!
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!
Hello all! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we are a week into November already! I still feel like it should be August so I am not ready for the onslaught of the holidays. As always, I’ve been busy. Teaching classes, getting back into substitute teaching, and visiting family in West Virginia…sometimes staying ahead of my growing to do list is a mighty feat!
Have you heard about the 1st Diabolical Whimsy Giveaway? Starting tonight at 8 pm you can enter to win an 8.5x11 print of your choice. The rules are simple:
1. Like Diabolical Whimsy on Facebook
2. Share the contest image featured on my Facebook page with your friends (it will go live on the Facebook page at 8 pm EST)
3. Comment on your favorite Diabolical Whimsy image on Facebook
It’s that easy! The winner (which could be you!) will be drawn at random from a fancy hat (complete with feather!) on Wed, Nov 13. I will reveal the winner on the following day. :D
I’m really excited about this giveaway because I have been trying to work out a contest for several months now. I look forward to seeing how it goes. I plan to create more giveaways in the future as well…maybe even one around the holiday season. So be sure to keep an eye on my website and social networking sites!
As for what else I have been up to, I have been working on some new images and have even finished some! I can always be more productive, but I am pretty happy with all the new images I’ve turned out in the last few months. Below is just one example of a new image. You may have seen it on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.
I have also been working on some promotional postcards for my Circus book (which I am still working on a proper name for). When I was working on my current design, I added some text that said:
Written and Illustrated by Kendra Matott
You cannot even imagine how thrilling and surreal it is to see that phrase written down and have it be true. Ever since reading art books like Suza Scalora’s The Fairies and Brian Froud’s Good Faeries Bad Faeries, I have wanted to publish a book of my own artwork. The fact that I may be only a few months away from holding such a book in my hands is unbelievably exciting.
Plus, I am another step closer to publication since I finally have gotten back my story from my editor-in-chief, my sister Ranah. I am very grateful for her help with the story. It wouldn’t be nearly as powerful and cohesive if she hadn’t been there to help me fine-tune it. I still have some work to do on the text itself, not to mention some images that need to get finished as well. However, I am optimistic that this project (which is now into it’s second year) will wrap up pretty as a present. What can I say? I’m a glass half full kind of gal. :) Until next time…
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.
Sometimes I feel so inspired by music. Recently my inspirational music has been Fall Out Boy’s newest album, Save Rock and Roll. (You can now listen to the whole album streaming here). At first it was "The Phoenix," partly because I had just finished an image with phoenix. Now the song on repeat is the title track, "Save Rock and Roll."
I need more dreams
Listening to their words, beats and chords I just get this feeling in my chest that permeates my entire being. The sensation is all about having hope and never giving up. It tells me I need to keep creating my artwork and sharing it with the world, even if “the world” right now is only a few people. Unfortunately, I often feel like giving up. But music often renews my passion for my art. And interestingly, although Save Rock and Roll and The Phoenix do this, the music does not have to be ANYTHING to do with being inspirational, metapoetry (poetry about poetry), or related to fantasy or visual art. It’s just something about their combinations of words with the music that does it. And, of course, Patrick Stump’s voice doesn’t hurt.
Even being newly inspired, I am having some issues getting back into working because I have so few photographs left to work with. Below are two images of the early process of that I still have left, in the early stages of my process.
Paintings for my new photo
But really, I need to take some more photos, and like ASAP. I am thinking about doing a series of images focusing on characters performing some sort of rituals, although I’m not sure how that will take shape just yet. It's still just vague ideas bouncing around in my head. Often I find it works better for me to just get some people in costumes and shoot. I rarely know exactly what I want to create when I start a shoot. Sometimes I know what kind of character I want to depict, but beyond that, I let the model experiment with poses and emotions while I capture what they come up with.
I do need to take a few more photos to go with my Circus story, but I think either I (or my partner) will model for those. My story is almost done being edited. I’m still waiting for my editor-in-chief to give it back to me…but she just gave birth to her second child, so it might be a little while. Keep looking out for more updates about it!
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.