I want to share some highlights from my experience at ICON--though it's hard to pare it down because the entire weekend really was fantastic!
There was just so many great speakers! There was a major focus on the world of publishing and what the future of illustration within publishing holds for us, with all the rapidly changing technology and media formats. Alot of interesting (and differing!) opinions from art directors, designers and illustrators created alot of discussion throughout the entire weekend. Obviously, no one can really answer the question of what the future holds—in any context—but it is an important time to be thinking about how our changing world is going to affect visual artists' careers in the all-too-near future...for the better or the worse. I personally feel that the industry will be very different in just a few years--but not in a good or bad way necessarily. I think as artists we just all need to be open to adapting to what's next, and keeping our eyes open for new markets that will be created as technology continues to change. It could be a very exciting time.
There were some really great panels on the use of illustration, rather than photography, from some top art directors & companies--including SooJin Buzzelli, Sally Morrow, Irene Gallo, and the creative team at United Airways. There was a really entertaining discussion from children's book illustrators John Hendrix, Adam McCauley & Istvan Banyai, and a pretty memorable overview from Wayne White on his illustrator-to-cartoonist-puppeteer-to-fine artist career path. There were also lots of cool presentations from motion graphics/animation studios (of course, it was LA!)
One of my other favorite sessions was a talk from Melinda Beck and Gary Taxali on issues of exposure vs. fair pay. They shared some great stories, and are both artists whom I admire so much—not just for their work—but also for their knowledge of the business and the ethics they practice when dealing with clients.
The ICON bookstore always has a great selection of books to pick up from the featured artists and speakers. I just couldn't resist buying Paul Rogers' Jazz ABZ--the art is so beautiful. I love the graphic quality and the sophisticated palette and design. And, of course I am completely inspired by the subject matter. I also had the great opportunity to meet Paul and have him sign my copy--he's a pretty awesome guy!
I also was really inspired by Todd Oldham's presentation, and love his book on Charlie Harper—a collection of his work over the span of his 60-year career—which is gorgeous! He spoke a lot about the time he spent with Charlie during the last few years of his life, cataloging all his work, which was fascinating. I also was super excited to meet Mr. Oldham at the book signing.
And the other book I just had to pick up and get signed was The Dress Doctor, illustrated by fashion-illustrator Bil Donovan. Bil's style is just so inspiring--the way he captures so much elegance and grace in such simple, bold forms. And, he was an incredibly sweet person also!
Of course--aside from all the great info and inspiration in everything I attended, it also proved to be another wonderful conference of connecting and networking with so many amazing and talented peers. I met lots of great new people, but also re-connected with tons of people I've met at previous conferences and illustration events...and once again, I'm reminded that illustrators are the most fun people in the world!