Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ready for the weekend

©2011 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

Hello everyone out there in the great frozen tundra or the sunshine of the South. I hope you are staying warm. We are getting some additional snow at the moment but at least it is a tad warmer. Not that I really mind the cold, I enjoy it more than the heat.

I spent this past weekend working on my portfolio for New York. Hopefully I will get an opportunity to show it to some key people for feedback. It is a long shot since there will be hundreds of others wanting the same thing. But one has got to try, right? The above images are from my portfolio and were quickly shot with my iPhone. I used my Epson to print everything out, sprayed the pages with a fixative for protection, trimmed everything, and bound it with special kit I purchased many years ago. My goal is to have it stand out, since it is in a book form, from the traditional cases that most will be using. Towards the back of the book are printouts of sketches that were done for some of the illustrations in the book. I know some like seeing the thought process as much, if not more, than the finished piece.

The SCBWI conference is this weekend so along with my portfolio, I ordered postcards to hand out and a giclee print for the illustrators review. I found a great place to get archival prints, Picture Salon. They are an excellent group to work with and do an outstanding job. I ordered a couple of larger prints as well and was extremely happy with the final prints. i am now thinking of a limited print run of a couple of illustrations.

There will not be a posting this Friday but will give you complete details of the conference once I return. My fingers are crossed that something good comes from it. Just going is a step in the right direction. Hey, it is New York! Enough said!

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere." ~ Carl Sagan

Monday, January 17, 2011

Almost there

©2011 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

After a long weekend of work (and play), I am almost ready for New York. All of the new artwork is completed. A print and new postcards have been ordered. Now I working on a portfolio to take along in hopes of showing it around. I need to setup a agent and/or publisher meeting for next Thursday since that will be my only downtime while in the Big Apple. The above piece is new. I posted sketches a month or so ago. I think it turned out quite well.

Time to turn my attention back to some paying jobs. It seems like logo month here. I also go a cool menu job where I get to design and illustrate the whole thing. Some inquiries have come in as well regarding animation work. It has been a few months since my last animation so that should be fun. 2 of the 3 book projects fell threw due to budget restraints. the third one has some promise but not until early spring.

Onto some personal chit chat. I got together with a fiddler, singer/guitarist, and another clawhammer banjo player for some pickin' and grinnin' in the old-time way. It was our first time together and there was definitely some chemistry. We played for 3 and half hours. I even broke out the standup bass for some tunes. We are talking about playing together on a regular basis. It has been over 3 years since I have played out and really miss it. We shall see where this goes.

The weather here in Maine is on the chilly side. The high this morning was 8 with a breeze. It is better than a cup of coffee to wake up with just by sticking your head out the door.

I am tired so I want to call it a day.
I shut my eyes in order to see.” ~ Paul Gauguin

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Better late than never

I am running a few days late on my weekly blog update. It has been extremely busy here with projects, new promo pieces, quoting, etc. There seems to be an alignment of the children's book gods as of late. I have been getting numerous request for quotes and just received another over the weekend. This writer actually has a publisher and was searching for an illustrator. He found me online and liked my work so we are chatting more tomorrow. I am not sure if the publisher will allow him to choose the illustrator but it could at least get my work looked at by the publishing company. You must take advantage of any door opening no matter how small the crack may be.

On Friday I was asked to join a group of fine artist for a week long get away on Monhegan Island for some drawing, painting, music, hiking, and all around good time. Monhegan is basically an artist community that you must take a ferry in order to get onto the island. If you are interested, you can go to their webpage for more information. I am looking forward to it. Some members of this community and I are starting a life drawing group. We are hoping to having our first session next month. This should be a golden opportunity for me to improve my drawing skills.

My wife and I, along with two friends, went to Unity College Friday evening to see The Fishtank Ensemble. We did not know too much about them but we are so glad we went. They were absolutely AMAZING! They have a gypsy jazz vibe to them but incorporate other styles into their music. The core of the band is standup slap bass, saw and vocals, flamenco guitar, and fiddle. If they are playing near you, and you love music, please go see them. You will not be disappointed! Click here to see a video clip of them live.

Speaking of music, I am getting together with three other musicians next Saturday for some music and mayhem. I have been searching for people who want to play some old-time music. It is not country or bluegrass but you can hear its influence into those styles. The singer/guitarist and I got together this past week and I was blown away with his vocal ability. It is inspiring to find someone who loves music as much as I do, especially the old-time sound. Now I want to get better at the clawhammer banjo. It would be nice if the four of us click and could do something musically together but one step at a time.

I am not going to post any images from this past week. I am almost finished with the new pieces for my promo and will share some next Friday. Have a lovely week and I leave you with this quote:

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