Friday, December 28, 2007

Keri Smith

I like reading Keri Smith's blog. She helps keep the artist in me ticking along.

Merry belated Christmas to you all, by the way. The last week or so has been action-packed, and I haven't allowed much time for drawing. I'm really looking forward to the new year for that totally psychological "fresh start" feeling.

Here are a couple of snaps of my two favourite pets...

Wesley the Wabbit:

And my ol' faithful Joey:

The cat can go suck a big one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some more responses from members...

This post is a follow-up to this one, which is a follow-up to this one.

I received a couple more responses from members (I sent them e-mails asking how the site worked out for them).

Here's one:

Hi Joe,

I've been on for about 7 years now. I've had one illustration job from the US. After getting that job I was inspired to pay the hefty fee for 1 year. Nothing else ever eventuated. The year i signed up they promised that they were going to start promoting the site in Australia, they never did. Australian clients don't use it. My advice, go for the free listing because you might just get lucky - but to ensure your name ranks as high as possible on the search listing, change details on your page weekly - simply adding a new keyword helps because it ranks the most recently updated pages higher.

And another:

Hi Joe

Thanks for your email. Your website and work is great!

Yep I agree with the other illustrators. I have got nothing out of it, but I did get a very cheap deal when both my husband and I took a folio, but still have not made our money back!

I don't think these sites are supposed to work to get you jobs per se, but there are just so many portfolios to sift through, (and in my opinion on does not have a particularly outstanding level of illustrator) that you just get lost in the crowd.

I say invest your money elsewhere. If you are not a member of Illustrators Australia it's worth joining to have your work in the book and on our site

So there it is.

I am a member of Illustrators Australia, and it's worked out pretty well so far. For the first time in my fledgling career I'm having people contact me for work, rather than the other way around, which is a big step forward. I have Illustrators Australia to thank for that one.

Looks like for the time being I'll just focus on promoting my work locally.

A response to my anonymous commenter...

Yesterday's post in regards to prompted a response from an anonymous reader:

You might want to check out their testimonials, rather than accepting the opinions from illustrators who have too much time to spend online because they aren't working.

My hero is Drew Struzan, one of the most successful illustrators in the world. He's using them.

I put my money where the most successful artists are promoting themselves.

If you are not serious about wanting freelance work, then stick it out in places where art directors don't go and won't find you.

Exposure and marketing is the ONLY way to succeed, free and cheap generally means you get what you pay for. People looking to "hire" someone on spec or for little money.

How many people really make money off of being on Deviant Art or Myspace?

If after looking over hundreds of portfolios a week, someone sees potential in you, shouldn't you be appreciative instead of maligning them?

First off, thanks for taking the time to comment. Here you will learn that I am not so stubborn as to ignore any opinion that differs from my own. A trait I pride myself on.

But before that, I'm gonna nit-pick a little.

In regards to your "opinions from illustrators who have too much time to spend online because they aren't working" comment, I think you misunderstood the type of web community they come from. It's a relatively small, close-knit forum made up of seasoned illustrators and young freelancers/comic artists looking to further their skills and knowledge of the industry. I won't reveal it to you (I haven't asked permission from the posters to relay their comments here on my blog, which is why they remain anonymous), suffice to say that the the community in question is nothing like MySpace or DeviantArt. I haven't even attempted to promote my work on those sites as it seems largely fruitless to me. The illustrators who responded to my initial query on the forum are all successful practising freelancers. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, back to the question in hand: Perhaps I was a little hasty in dismissing the site altogether. I am just naturally suspicious of unsolicited e-mails asking for $400. I don't think you can blame me for that. However, your response prompted me to find some fellow Aussie illustrators on the site and e-mail them asking how it worked out for them. I've only had one response so far, and here it is:

Hi Joe, well as it happens, I'm just updating my website [on] now. I have sent out quite a few direct emails to US contacts (given 50 of my choice as part of the deal) and have had absolutely no response. But I have found it useful to send to Australian contacts to keep them up to date with my work. I've been on it for six months and have had no response, but as I said, it's helpful as a website address.

So there you go, probably not very illuminating, but I guess I'm still in the dark myself about it. I keep thinking if I just get one job from it, it'll be worth it.

I'm in the process of creating a new portfolio site at the moment, so I don't think another web address to call my own is worth the $400. Still, I'm not going to make a concrete decision until I've had some more responses.

Again, thanks for the comment, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous. Let's keep this dialogue open.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On joining a portfolio site...

Hey guys and gals!

So I received the following e-mail recently:

Hi Joe,

Recently I viewed some of your illustration work online - this is great illustration work! Very talented and creative!

Are you interested in marketing your work to North America?

I'm a creative consultant here at I'd like to talk with you about further promoting your portfolio to our advertising, corporate and publishing clients in North America, and discuss how we can help increase exposure of your work to creatives and art buyers worldwide.

I should say we are not an agency, we do not represent artists. Our business is to help you market, promote and expose your work directly to various art buyers and increase freelance job opportunities for you.

I've worked with many Australian based artists who do very well on our site.

When would be a good time to call you?

It seems fairly clear, to me at least, that this is just a generic promotional e-mail with the name changed to the recipient. I'm assuming it's not a coincidence that I received this not long after I joined Illustrators Australia and got listed on their site.

I'm still at that early, first-year, starving (not really) freelancer stage, so I'm finding it difficult to justify the $400 annual fee (although there is a by-the-month fee trial sorta thing).

I posted the above on an illustration forum I frequent, and got a couple of responses from some of my favourite illustrators.

"Creative Consultant" is just a nice way of saying "salesman." Just after high school I almost took a job as one of these guys that you got the email from. Basically, my job would have been to surf the net and go to Comic Cons looking for fresh meat. I would get a commission for every artist that signed up under me. Then I would send a form email describing how the artist could set up an account with the company and list their portfolio on the site, then I would send form emails every few weeks reminding the artist to update their profile (because "current profiles got the most traffic"). I never felt to good about the whole thing so I never took the job.

Now, all that said. It was not for, and it wasn't $400 bones (if I remember right it was $50 to start, then $5 per month set as a reoccurring transaction billed directly to a credit card [very hard to cancel]).

If it were me, I would see if they would give you a free trial to see if it brought back any real work. Plus I would look for somebody that had already put up the cash, and I would ask them if it was worth it for them (just go to and search the artists there, get some of the contact info from their profiles, and send some nice emails. Hopefully they won't mind the question).

I hope this helps, and if you end up doing it, I hope you get lots of work and make lots of money and become famous and retire young and do whatever the hell you want for the rest of your life.

And another:

Creative Consultant say in email: You give me money and I maybe give you more money¤

The small print in left corner: ¤ that is if someone wants to give me money for your work, and if not, we do not care about what you earn or the money you have given us. )

Creative Consultant 1 say to Creative Consultant 2: "I got 6 today so far."

Creative Consultant 2 say to Creative Consultant 1: "I got 7, this is just a great job, sending some emails and then the money come flowing in."

And one more:

It's all advertising.

Making money off of wannabe illustrators is a huge racket. I used to get calls from Black Book and I still get them from Directory of Illustration and others.

My Rep puts everyone they represent on the iSpot. I've got friends who say it's gotten them work. There are a few reputable portfolio sites out there, some in particular are the iSpot and Illos, and there are a few others.

Do research, figure out who gets work from where, maybe contact some people who's work you admire on the site.

Lots of people knock advertising, but it's just an investment in your work. You have to spend money to make money. You might not get any hits, but the idea is more folks will get exposed to your stuff.

Useful advice from some respected people.

I love that the Internet allows me to converse with people who inspire me and have a wealth of knowledge about the industry I got myself into.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

bears in ill-fitting hats

Made a pic for this flickr group, which I found via Drawn.


Decided to quickly colour a mindless little doodle:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

hair Again

Found something similar to an image I made around two years ago. Here's mine:

And here's the one I FFFFound!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lady Be Cool

"And her cigarette is as stylishly long and tastefully cool as she is."

If they made commercials like this these days, I wouldn't mind if they advertised cigarettes.

Here's another weird one. This lady seems slightly insane yet somehow mesmerising:

Found these clips via Uncle Eddie.

Warm-Up Sketches

Facebook Steals Creative Works

Here's an excerpt from the Facebook user terms of agreement. I'm glad someone reads those things, 'cause it's almost always "scroll down, click accept" when I'm signing up for something.

"By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."

Via The Little Chimp Society.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wizardy! in Colour

Didn't end up getting the job that this was originally for, but I decided to ink and colour the sketch anyway. I kinda like how it turned out.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Final WOFE Cover

I'm calling this done for now. On to work on some more pages.

Trucker sketch

My first rejection(s).

So last week I got two calls about different jobs. One of them was for a logo for a car wash business (you can see the sketch I did here), and the other was a much larger job.

My contact for the car wash job was a graphic designer who the client hired and was outsourcing the illustration. She seemed pretty happy with me and wanted to move forward. We were just waiting on confirmation from the client. Apparently he found someone himself, making redundant the money he was paying his graphic designer, but whatever. I wasn't too upset about losing the job. It wasn't really that exciting and the pay wasn't huge. I was actually kinda glad that the first job I'd been rejected on wasn't anything big.

The other job was somewhat more interesting and a lot more higher paid. My contact was a Marketing Director for the client. She had found me via my portfolio on the Illustrator's Australia website, and she'd also checked out the work on my site before she called me. We talked for a bit on the phone about the job and then back and forthed via e-mail. I spent some time giving her a pretty detailed quote and she told me there was another illustrator she was looking at for the job. She'd let me know if I got the job the following week. Long story short, I found out this morning that I didn't get the job. I was pretty bummed out.

I'm all about learning from my mistakes. Thankfully, my contact was kind enough to tell me why I didn't get the job. Here's the e-mail she sent:

Hi Joe, I have decided to give the job to another illustrator, my decision was mainly based on the fact that she had done a lot of children's illustrations that were close to what I need, she also sent me through some visuals, making it easier for me to get an understanding of the style she would apply to the job.

If it doesn't work out I will be in touch with you in the future. Good luck and thank you for your prompt follow up.

So what can I learn from this? I thought that being prompt, clear and concise with my responses was enough to set to me ahead of other illustrators. Clearly this other illustrator went an extra mile by sending through some visuals, something I'd assumed was unnecessary because the client had seen the work on my site.

I've learnt that it's not enough to make the client feel comfortable with me as a worker, they also need to feel comfortable with my work.

I'm going to double my efforts next time, and triple them if I know I'm up against other illustrators.

C'est la freakin' vie, I guess.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This nigger needs a little mustard.

To understand the title of this post, you must read this brilliant blog post by Dan Harmon, screenwriter and co-creator of Channel 101.

It's definitely worth your time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No birds.

Saw this on Ffffound!

It took me a little while to figure out that the sign was Photoshop'd. Still pretty sweet, though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


When I'm not listening to podcasts like Get This and SModcast, I've usually got some music playing. So, inspired by a post on John Mayer's blog, here's what my ears have been tasting lately:

Beck - Guerolito
This was the first Beck I'd ever heard, and I instantly loved it. It's totally unique. A wonderful blend of folk-pop with some lo-fi electro mashed up in there. Here's probably my favourite track from the album Girl.

Beck - The Information
After hearing Guerolito, I had to find some more Beck. I found The Information somewhat darker, but still full of pop hooks with some great beats. Totally drivable music. I found it hard to pick just one track from The Information to share, but here's Think I'm In Love.

Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
How anyone could manage to produce such a unique and honest album after following in the footsteps of John Lennon amazes me. Friendly Fire is full of playful melody and unexpected chord changes, and Sean Lennon delivers his lyrics beautifully. Again, it was incredibly hard to pick just one song to share, 'cause they're all so good, but here's the first single released, Dead Meat.

Jeremy Fisher - Goodbye Blue Monday
A fun album from a Canadian singer-songwriter. Upbeat riffs, lyrics that reveal deeper meaning on subsequent listens and a great Paul Simon-esque sunny feel make this an album that's been on constant rotation for a while now. I sure hope this guy makes it soon. Here's Scar That Never Heals.

Kanye West - Graduation
Just a very solid album from an artist who I'd previously ignored. You've all no doubt heard Stronger by now, so here's Can't Tell Me Nothing.

There's plenty more, but that's enough for now. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Sketch for a car wash logo.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

MOO postcards

So a little while back I came across a free promotion via Drawn. It was one of those "be one of the first xxx and get some freebies" things. I usually never win those things, but thanks to Bloglines, I was notified as soon as the promotion was active, and I got 20 free postcards from MOO with my art on them. BOOYAH. (Are people still saying that?)

I chose these pics very hastily as I wasn't sure if I was in time to get the freebie deal. In hindsight, I may have chosen a little differently, but I'm not too disappointed. After all, shit's FREE.

You even get to put your name on the back!

I'll probably end up paying for some more of these. The quality is much better than I expected. Nice, thick card, with a light waxy finish.

Who wants one?

It's coming...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Should I get a haircut or what?

At the moment the hair atop mine cranium is in that "neither here nor there", not quite long, not quite short stage. There's not much I can do with it aside from shampoo and condition and hope a finch doesn't lay eggs in it.

The hair in question didn't get to this stage by my will. Oh no. Some people seem to think that I'm quote-unquote "growing my hair" (I realise I don't need to say "quote-unquote" when I'm putting actual quote-unquote "quotation marks", but I felt like it. Get off my back, already.) Truth is, I just haven't been bothered to get a damn haircut for some time.

And so now I'm at a crossroads where I can either do nothing and grow it long again like I did a number of months ago, or book an appointment with my hairdresser what looks like Jon Lovitz.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I wish the modern day "lad" magazines like Ralph and FHM were more like the men's magazines of old:

Also I want these shoes:

Friday, November 09, 2007


WOFE update

It's getting there. Just gotta add some more debris, some more "aliens" and some tall buildings in the background.

Pop Bunnies

Just a quick doodle that I decided to have some fun with:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why WOFE is taking so long.

As you, my loyal readers, are no doubt aware of, I've been working on a book pitch for a book called "Watch Out for Earthlings" for a very cool dude in sunny San Fran. It's a love job, which I'm more than happy to be doing without pay, although hopefully it will lead to lucre if and when the book gets picked up.

Anyway, I'm putting a lot of effort into producing quality illustrations for it. I'm hoping to include some in my portfolio (currently under development) to show off to art directors around town.

The previous images I've posted haven't really shown the level of detail I'm working at, so here's an actual-sized (A3 @ 300dpi) detail of the cover image so far:

It loses some of the slickness at this level, but you get to see the dirtiness of the pastels, which I kinda like.

When a piece is intended for print, I normally work at pretty high-res anyway, but this is probably the highest level of detail I've worked at. And even this pales in comparison to some other artists.

Monday, November 05, 2007

WOFE update

Still working on getting the town looking right:

And here are a couple reference images:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

WOFE update and Kong posters

Here's the latest on the work-in-progress:

And here are some sweet King Kong posters:

WOFE work in progress

This is probably gonna end up being the most detailed thing I've ever done.

The Business of Death

Here's a sweet little animated video I found via Drawn! on "The Business of Death".

How would you like to spend your death? I'm thinking either made into pencils or shot into space.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

WOFE cover sketch again

WOFE Sketch and 1950's References

Here's a revised cover sketch:

And here are some great 1950's sci-fi posters that I've been using for inspiration:

And a neat little 1950's town I liked: