ICON6: Preparations and Portfolios

Man, that's a lot... I hope I run out!

Well, here it is, the night before I head down to the ICON6 Illustration Conference in Los Angeles. I feel like I’m prepared, like it won’t be one of those dreams where I walk into a room full of a 100 illustrators and art directors without any pants on { note to self, double check that the pants are packed! } Egads! I am a ball of excitement for this event. It will be the first conference that I’ve taken part in. The only other one that I’ve even been to has been the Alternative Press Expo here in San Francisco, but even that’s usually smaller and I’m not a participant.

Ok, well let’s start at the beginning here. After hearing John Hendrix talk on the Escape from Illustration Island podcast I decided to sign up. Maybe it was his comment about putting 100 illustrators in the same room with as many art buyers as they can muster up, with the crucial addition of the open bar. Yup, that was the clincher for me, so I plunked down the cash to head down there

Having never been to a conference I started looking online for photos or websites or blogs to get some kind of sense of what other peoples experiences have been. I came across a blog called “Otoshimono the blog” where Andrea Innocent, a.k.a. InnocentGirl, had posted some pictures from her visit to New York and of the ICON that was held there. A link to her blog is at the bottom of this post. I felt a little like Sherlock Holmes, combing the background for any details that might give me some clue as to what to do. As a way to get right to the source, I used the magic of email and bluntly asked her what it was like. Much to her credit she wrote back a nice email which gave me some sense of how things were. I look forward to meeting her in person at this year’s event.

The next concern was where to stay while down in LA. At first I thought I’d try to find a room-mate and stay at the fabulously expensive Langham Hotel. In my search for people in the Bay Area, I had the good fortune to see a familiar name in amongst the attendees, Jeremy Forson. Jeremy and I attended CCAC, the California College of Arts and Crafts together. As we emailed and talked back and forth it ends up that I am going to drive down, and another CCAC alum, Ryan Graber, is going to put us both up at his place. This is going to save us both a bunch of cash!

The next piece that I wanted to have prepared for the show was some kind of promotional material to give away. I spent a few days surfing the interwebs looking for clever ideas and snazzy gifts. In the end I decided that I didn’t want something that was overly-clever, in other words, simple is better, and so in that spirit I had some buttons made up. I mocked up some designs { “…. you call yourself a design! Feh, I’ve sneezed better designs than you!” } and had a few printed prior to heading out east to the IMC. It was a good thing that I did, because when they came and I was able to see how they printed, how the designs worked or didn’t as the case may be. Kurt Huggins, of Teetering Bulb fame, said “yeah most people think that it’s ‘ready, aim, fire,’ but it’s really ‘ready, fire, aim.” So, with that pearl and the initial small batch, I went back to the drawing table, simplified them even more and sent in an order for two designs, 200 pieces each. While they were in the works, I then sought out a way to adhere them to the postcards, which I still needed to finish. In the end I decided to use Glue Dots to stick the buttons to the postcards. Glue Dots are those little things that hold credit cards to the promos that are sent out in the mail. The last puzzle piece for the promos was to finish my IMC painting, create a design and have postcards printed up. With a little elbow grease and a little less sleep, I was able to finish the painting and to turn in the final design to the printer so that I would be able to pick up the post cards today… the day before I drive down. There’s nothing like flying by the seat of your pants! {ps, if you’d like a postcard and/or a button, shoot me an email and I’ll give them away until they are gone!}

So, click, click, click, done, done, and done. And now the calm before the storm. This is my big push for my career… right now, at the moment that I am writing this. The funny thing is, that I think that any “success” that may arise out of this experience, has to do with me being the best me that I can be, honest, energetic, and down to earth. The works to show are already done, there’s only editing that can happen now. The promos are printed, buttons printed and glue-dotted on to the postcards, there’s plenty of them to give away. I’m packed, the car has had an oil change and is running right. That’s pretty much it. Wish me luck.



Otoshimono the Blog

Jeremy Forson

Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon/ Teetering Bulb

2 Responses to ICON6: Preparations and Portfolios

  1. Best of luck Brian – you’ll blow them all away with your ace work. The promo material looks great.

    Look forward to hearing all about it when you return.

    Have a great time and safe journey.

  2. Hi Brian! I wish you the best of luck at the conference! I can relate to the excitement you’re feeling and the “minor” stress to get everything ready, as my SCBWI conference is in just two weeks and I am scrambling! Your pieces look so professional, I would definately grab one if I saw them on display. You will have to tell me about your experience at the IMC too sometime. Let us know how it goes for you!

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