Monday, March 21, 2011

Portfolio Review

Hello one and all,

After posting the contest for a portfolio review on the blog early last week, I learned that I won the review. I must thank Marietta Zacker from Nancy Gallt Literary for taking the time to look over my artwork and share her thoughts. She was a delight and willing to share her insight in the industry. So late last week, we exchanged a few emails back and forth, setting up a day and time, making this afternoon the big day. We spoke on the phone for over an hour. Marietta is a wealth of knowledge which will help guide me as I try to venture into children's books. Her comments were very positive and any concerns I took as a plus. She thought my work is appropriate for the children's book market. I commented if it was too commercial and she said that was a matter of opinion and not to get hung up on that. She did say that most of my samples needed more of a story instead of coming off as spot illustrations. They need more depth and provide an emotional response from the viewer with a story. Her favorite piece was the robot and girl. She said that there was a story there. Actually she saw multiple stories within the one illustration and suggested that should be a guide for me in developing newer samples. Even though she liked my style and thought my work was full of energy, color, and liked the facial expressions I use, she would like to see me develop a style that when someone sees it, they know it is my own. Editors are looking for unique portfolio samples so the books stand out on the shelves. She said for me to find my visual voice or signature and run with it. I should ask the question, "can anyone do my style or is it unique to me?" It is not a matter of digital or traditional but more with what I am comfortable with doing and want to show. One thing she mentioned is that more editors are using digital artist that should not be a concern. I said that I would like to loosen up with a second style and she thought that it was a great idea. When I told her how I came up with the pieces she liked (I just sat down and kind of did them without any real thought), her recommendation was to more pieces like that and to "LET IT GO". Just do and not over think.

The second part of her review regarded my story ideas that I emailed to her as a synopsis. I am not going to share the stories just yet because, well, read on. The first story she thought was funny but needed to be expanded on since the idea is limited. She provided me some wonderful insight in pushing the idea and make it sound less like a parent at the end. Okay and now for the really exciting news, she LOVED one of my ideas for a story!!!! She said that she has never seen nor read a story like I proposed. She wants me to send it to her once I am completed with it so she can add her thoughts. That made me really excited and lit a fire under my butt to get moving on it. I have some of it written but now I must go back and work on it after hearing her input. I think I will try to block out most of Friday to get the idea onto paper so I can then actually write it. A writer friend gave me that advice, thanks Gene.

Well, that is the bulk of the review. Marietta and I spoke on the phone for over an hour. I cannot say enough nice things about her. She gave me more feedback than I could have ever have hoped for plus she is such a lovely person. I would work with her in a heartbeat. It might be time to come down to earth for a bit.

"Art is a passion or it is nothing." ~ Robert Fry


Hazel Mitchell said...

If you don't write this story I will kick your butt too.

Russ Cox said...

Hahaha! I know you and Lynn would give me a smack down!

Erik Brooks said...

Contests Russ! That's great stuff, and it sounds like the kind of agent/ crit situation that could be really productive. Best wishes!

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