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