Entries in I'm all over the internets (16)

Sunday
Jun162013

Networking for Artists: it's not what you think!

(Me in 2007. TWO THOUSAND FREAKING SEVEN. AT A CON. NETWORKING. Who knew?!)

In the past week or so I've had four different people ask me about networking, a seemingly daunting and difficult task, and if I had any advice or thoughts on the matter. I am in no way an expert on this, but I know that, based on my experience and general scores of others in the creative field, there are a lot of myths associated with what "networking" actually is to begin with.

Networking Myth #1: Networking is with people you don't know
Untrue! It is rare you will ever find yourself in a room full of people you don't know and expected to thrust your business card at them or something equally weird and awkward. For me, it started with the people in my quarter at Porfolio Center. There were about 10-12 of us, of all different disciplines, but there were only 2 illustrators (me and Liz Haywood) and everyone else was an art director or a designer or a writer.

While in school, one of my classmates would need illustration work for an ad or project they were working on. I was a hard worker (sometimes to a fault--lots of overnights in the illustration room with the dog are in my memory) and one of the only illustrators who actually completed their projects on time and basically tried to make everyone happy without going crazy with the workload. So, I suppose naturally I was picked often to help them with their projects.

(Me and a classmate of mine, 2008. Really seeing the breadth of questionable hair choices in this throwback post.)

Because of this, I would, in the future, be called to work with them for projects for their jobs post-college. I would also get calls or e-mails to help out on projects from former instructors and teachers from the school as well whose real-life jobs demanded illustration work or technical sketches or whatever. You never really know how your skills could be of use. And then, when successfully completing a project, their work colleagues would recommend me to others, and I would get more work that way as well.

Be friendly to EVERYONE and let everyone know that you are an illustrator (or whatever creative type you are). However, this leads me to:

Networking Myth #2: Networking is trying to sell yourself to the highest bidder.
This doesn't mean automatically running off your hourly rate and trying to sell yourself. Opportunities arise in the least likely of places, and it's better to have more friends than enemies! One example of this for me is that I used to go to one particular art supply store in Atlanta, and I just happened to make friends with the manager of the store by asking him for help with various school projects; I had never been to art school before so I didn't know what half the crap on the supplies list even WAS let alone which products would be best to suit my needs.

Two years down the road, that manager ended up quitting the store and opening his own art gallery in-town! Because of our friendship, when he had a gallery show of Atlanta illustrators, he asked me to be part of the show! So, if I hadn't asked some random dude in the art supply store about, like, matte finish spray or something equally weird, I would have never been able to have the experience of being in a gallery. He had never even really seen my work before the gallery, either, so it was really just because I happened to be friendly to him that I gained such a great opportunity.

(At that fated gallery opening! With my former teacher and a classmate!!)

On another note—because of this same gallery owner, I found out and was able to interview for a job through his friend who worked in apparel in New York City. That friend happens to be my current boss!! Crazy! Everyone talks about two kinds of people—people who are especialy terrible OR people who are especially nice. You never know who knows whom, so it works in your favor just to be friendly to everyone you meet!

3. Networking Myth #3: All networking is done in person in a schmoozy environment
Also untrue! Look, I don't even like answering the phone—the thought of going up to people and introducing myself gives me nausea. Never fear—that's what the internet is for!!

(This is me right now, writing this blog. Networking. I only am showing you this because you know I love you guys.)

Especially during my time as a freelancer in Atlanta, I spent a bulk of time on my blog, or on twitter, or on my facebook page, making sure I had a fairly transparent and fun presence which attracted all sort of attention that I wouldn't have been able to get locally! (ALSO, this is where your friends come in, because if they also have an online presence, having something online for them to link back to if they are needing your services is a big plus!)

It is also a great way to make other artist friends, and to learn valuable skills watching how they interact online with their individual markets—Atlanta illustrator San Smith and I met first on twitter, and then in person, and we are now very good friends online and offline! <3 <3 San has an amazingly loyal online following and I believe the bulk of it is because not only does she have talent and strong work ethic, but she is also has a great personality that she projects online as well!

Similarly, I was approached by Atticus of Evil Supply Co first online through twitter of all places, to work on a project for him. We haven't met each other in person (yet!) but we were still able to maintain a professional working relationship through the internet, and the project I did for him remains one of the most fun things I've ever had the pleasure of working on. AMAZING.

Something I have talked with often about with other people in the creative field is how, when people are looking to hire, they are obviously looking for someone with reasonable talent, but moreso I feel like, in my experience, I have landed work because I am friendly and easy to work with. The work / job is something that can improve or develop more distinctly with more time and instruction; however, if someone is a jerk, they more or less stay a jerk. :( Who wants to hire a person who may be talented, but also a pain in the ass to work with?

This partly runs into:

4. Networking Myth #4: Social networking will do all the work for you

This is something I heard for multiple people when I put a call out on my tumblr for questions about networking. Something along the lines of: “Well, I have a twitter, and a tumblr, and a facebook page, but I haven't seen any more traffic or more work...what gives!?”

Online social networking is more about displaying both yourself and your work. The bulk of everybody's twitter and blogs that I went through that asked me questions like this one, their twitter was just a wall of ads for their etsy store, or just blogs about how they're looking for work; it was like looking at resumes, but in blog form! Blech!

A successful online presence also shows the person that you are—your personality! What you like and don't like, what influences you, what you did last Sunday, what other authors / artists / images you like. It goes back to what I was saying about people not wanting to hire jerks—people like authenticity and personability. Think about the blogs that you really enjoy—it's never just their finished work or their art that you like; it's usually something about the artist themselves that keeps them on your blog feed. I think that, especially in America, we have a general curiosity about what's “behind the scenes.”

I'm not saying that you have to be completely transparent online—that could lead to some trouble! But the more of you we see, as opposed to just your work, the more relatable you are and your audience will feel like they know you better, and want to come back to see what you're up to.

(Who's that hunchback looking down and talking to no one at her artist alley table!? Thank god for my online presence, that's for damn sure.)

5. Networking Myth #5: This is too hard because I'm a stereotypical anti-social, introverted artist
Aw man, guys. This one is a biggie.

It doesn't take an extrovert to be nice to someone you are working with or are meeting, online or offline. It doesn't take a social butterfly to be able to communicate with others about your work on a project. It is not going to kill you to update a blog with some in-progress photos of something you are working on that you're really proud of.

What I'm getting at is—you can do it, and are more capable than you give yourself credit for.

Reading your questions on tumblr, it just kills me that some of you are so attached to this idea of being awkward or weird around other artists or clients or anybody, really, that you don't see the truth of the matter which is that EVERYBODY is awkward and weird. I think it's more about being comfortable with that fact that makes you a stronger candidate for any job or position.

Mostly, I think it's easy to think you should give up on networking just because you don't have an extroverted personality. I think it's easy to say “it doesn't work,” when you haven't really given it a shot. I think it's harder to take a good hard look at what you are capable of and do what needs to be done to make sure that you are making a good representation of yourself.

As stated before, no one is going to do this for you. Networking is WORK, although sometimes not the kind of work you think it is. Mostly I think it's making sure that the information and image you put out into the world about yourself is authentic and genuine. You are 100% capable of doing that—but you must commit to it, and be ever-persistent. People aren't going to notice you overnight. But, if you are diligent, and you work hard, and you are friendly, people WILL take notice. How could they not?

(Circa 2008, being an artist or something.)



I'm not the most talented illustrator in the world. But, I am a workhorse, I am passionate about my work, and I am nice to everyone I meet and work with. I've maintained a blog fairly consistently for years now, and have had some amazing opportunities come my way because of it. People have taken notice, and I have become a better artist because of it. I hope some of this helps you, and thank you everyone who left me questions on my twitter or tumblr regarding this topic!!


Wednesday
Apr032013

Wait, it's April?

Oh man, two "here's an update" blogs in a row--blogfail. -___-;; Sorry guys, I'm more in touch with my time management lately, and I'm happy to be regularly blogging again! Also, as the con season looms in the distance-that-is-much-closer-than-I-want-it-to-be, there's a lot more art happening in Katieland. 

A preview, if you will:

So, yeah...progress?? (I promise all my artwork isn't Dia de los Muertos related) Expect some more in-progress screencaps and photos in the future. I'm hoping to make between 2-5 new skatedecks and 10 new prints for this con season, and opening my etsy store again. THE FUTURE: SO AMBITIOUS.

Ah, man, so much has happened since last time!! I'll try to condense into some half-assed categories. The first one being

 

PLACES THAT I HAVE BEEN TO THAT WERE PRETTY AWESOME

Because THIS PAST WEEK I WENT TO THE GAME OF THRONES EXHIBITIONNNN:

I KNOW RIGHT AUGH FEELINGS EVERYWHERE. There was a world-wide tour of props, costumes, etc from Game of Thrones, and even though it was an hour long wait in line (some people I heard waited in line for up to 3 hours on the weekends!), it was totally worth it! And free! Who said you can't do anything cool for free in New York City?? (probaby me before this exhibition) I have TONS more photos up in my flickr!

 

I also had the opportunity to go on a little weekend getaway (WITH JOON TOO) to the Poconos Mountains--a co-worker pal's family owns a cabin up there and Joon and I had a great time in the snow.

 

 

 

In that last photo, there might have been some whiskey and Just Dance 4 involved. I have a new appreciation for adult-sized onesies with drop crotch. No, for serious.

 

The next category kind of combines with the first which is now
I AM A BOOK NERD ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER WHEN IT IS COLD

I went to TWO book-related events within the past couple of months, and got to see / meet two of my big time favorites.

First up was John Green and Hank Green at the Evening of Awesome in Carnegie Hall!

(Source: Enteriainment Weekly)

 

OF WHICH ALL MY PHOTOS WERE USELESS AND I NEED TO GET A NEW CAMERA I KNOW GUYS WHAT EVEN. But I'll just go on record here and say that it was one of the greatest nights of my life. The Fault in Our Stars is easily my favorite book of 2012, and what an amazing night to celebrate it, and Nerdfighteria. Luckily, the ENTIRE THING is up on youtube, so maybe you can check it out for yourself! Special appearances by Hannah Hart, The Mountain Goats, and NEIL FUCKING GAIMAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

 

SPEAKING OF NEIL GAIMAN the other very fantastic book event I attended was an author / illustrator signing of the children's book Chu's Day, written by Neil and illustrated by Adam Rex! The event took place at Books of Wonder, an independent childrens and young adult book store near Union Square. GUYS. GUYS GUYS GUYS.

NEIL GAIMAN SIGNED MY COPY OF AMERICAN GODS OH NO SOMEONE CATCH ME I'M FALLING. I read American Gods as an impressionable youngster and again as a jaded granny-like person and both readings have had a profound affect on me and how fiction has shaped my world view and readership. Seeing Neil a SECOND TIME--and then getting to speak with him and share some laughs--was one of the highlights OF MY LIFE. I was so nervous--I have a thing where I get very anxious to meet people that I very much admire, because of how soul-crushing it is if you find out they're not what you thought they were in real life. But, Neil was so polite and funny and generous, everything beyond my expectations! He and Adam Rex apparently stayed to sign books all day, for thirteen hours with almost no breaks! Go go fight fight Neil and Adam!!

Speaking of books, I have read almost 16 this year to far, and some of the highlights were The Stand by Stephen King, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the third and final book of his Chaos Walking Trilogy that SHIFTED THE PLANES OF THE UNIVERSE OF MY LIFE. Holy moly, I had to reevaluate my emotional intake after that one--so, so powerful and meaningful and thoughtful. If you've noticed, I have CLEVERLY linked to the goodreads synopsis / page of each of these books to show that, yes, I am super active on goodreads, and please friend me if you'd like!! I love comparing books that I have read with others and every book that I have read this year has been on the recommendation of someone else on goodreads!! BOOKS <3

And I suppose this sort of combines with the previous topic as well but lastly

I AM LIKE MAYBE ONE STEP ABOVE A CULINARY AMATEUR

So, as I've shown here before, I've been cooking a lot more for myself these days, but the past couple months in particular I've been having a lot of get-togethers at my house where I've been making and preparing foods for my friends. It's one of my favorite things to do, and it gets people to come over to my house without having to change out of my pajamas! One of my first get-togethers was for a book club meeting for the book Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline--It featured Mario-themed cookies, a rubix cube made out of cheese, and Pac-Man pizzas! Also deviled eggs, to represent the hunt for the Easter egg in the book.

GOD DAMN I LOVE A THEME PARTY, DON'T YOU!?

The following are some of my "firsts" in the food cooking and prep arena:

My first original creation! (A bacon-wrapped egg and cheese sandwich OH GOD CARDIAC ARREST)

My first pork tenderloin (DELICIOUS)

MY FIRST SALAD (I'm really, really not into salads, but this one had bacon and chicken in it so, you know)

My first vegetable tray! (Silly, but this made me so happy. I felt like my idol MARTHA STEWART. DO YOU NEED AN INTERN OR SOMETHING, MARTHA?!)

I'm running low on my index of recipes, so if there's something you like to make to eat that you think I would love too, please share with me!! What do you make on a busy weeknight?? Or, what do you make when you have pals coming over and need to feed a bunch of people? I am very open to suggestions!

Oh man, this is the longest post in the history of the world, I congratulate you if you got through it all! I've had a very fun and lovely few months, and I'm ready to bring you all along in the future. HOLD ME TO IT, FRIENDS. Leave me a comment on my blog or facebook page if I'm not blogging enough--it'll keep me on my toes! Til next time!

Monday
Jun132011

Highs and Lows, and New Beginnings!

 

It is JUNE (I almost typed "JOON," but that is funny probably only to me, and the little pupster up there), and we are almost halfway through the year.  Holy hell, how time has flown!  So much has changed for me this year, and I put my foot down (to myself) this weekend and decided that I super miss my blogging community, and I am determined to be more active like I was before I made the move to New York.  Hold me to it, readers!!  You'll hear from me twice a week at least.  I have a lot planned for this little blog o' mine!

Most of you are here for the art updates, of which there will certainly be plenty, I promise!!  But, if you're nosy like me, there is a lot more to me than my job, and I hope you'll go on some other adventures with me, that I'm gearing up to start documenting here on the blog!

In the works is:

+ Confessions of a Still Maybe Kinda Goth: For those that know me, I dress in black, and have dressed in all black since I was probably ten years old.  It really isn't because I'm "goth" or whatever mainstream term indicates...I just really like wearing black!!  However, I'm realizing that I don't want to seem like I'm "in mourning" all the time, so I'm going to try to at least document some forays into wearing other colors, as well as prove that, as a plus-sized lady, we can also have tons of style!!  IT DOESN'T STOP AT SIZE SIX, AMERICA.  I already have the first couple planned, and the pictures are sort of hilarious.  I can't wait to share!

+ Food Adventures--The Best Kind of Adventure: I LOVE FOOD.  Now that I'm in New York, I eat out all the time, and have managed to find some awesome places to eat that I'd love to share with you all.  However, this also means that I do not cook very often.  At all.  I've never been more than an oatmeal in the morning type girl.  Even making coffee in the morning is sometimes confusing (granted, it is the morning, and it is a French Press, so I deserve a little break, right??).  BUT! I have resolved to start cooking more, and by "cooking" I do mean more than peanut butter toast.  My first cooking adventure was Korean Zucchini pancakes, and when I blog about it, I'll let you be the judge if it was a success, or a fail.  I'm still undecided!

+ Internet Treasure: My good friend Annie and I have been traveling to comic cons together for almost seven years (holy shit), and we joke about how, before the days of tumblr and pinterest, we each had a folder on our harddrive labeled "Fun."  In our fun folders was just collections of all the internet GOLD we'd stumble upon online.  So, every Friday, I'll unleash all the useless internet stuff I've collected over the past ten years--animated GIFs, songs I like, videos I like, anything, really.  I hope you all find something to put in your fun folders, too!! (If you're ancient like me, you STILL have a fun folder, ahaha)

I think these posts are all super fun, and what I like to read about on all the blogs that I love! I'll still regularly blog about what's happening with me in the art world.  In fact, here are some things I've been working on:

 

We are just dipping our toes into Fall/Winter of 2012, so things are just starting to get busy again.  However, with the way my life goes, when am I ever not running around like my ass is on fire??  

To add more to my plate, I received an amazing moleskine notebook from Kevin at The Robot, Monster and Ghost Co, and I've been doing some pen and ink happy drawings in it whenever I can spare the chance.  Here are the first two pages--as I'll add more, they can be found in the "doodles" section of my gallery!

I finally got around to painting an accent wall in my apartment, in the living room, which I've been meaning to do for, oh, two months. >.<  I'm not totally ready for THE BIG REVEAL, but here is a little shot of my new favorite corner:

Yellow is one of my favorite colors!  Joon seem satisfied.  Ah, the more I look at this room, the more apparent my old lady grandma preferences become.

Speaking of grandparents, it is on to some of the lows of the past couple of weeks, starting with the death of my last grandparent, my grandfather Carl Henry Winter.  It was incredibly sad to lose him, and two days before my birthday, no less.  We had a funeral for him on Long Island, and he was buried with my grandmother who passed when I was thirteen years old.  He was a remarkable man who lived for ninety-five long, awesome years!!  I will always remember going to his house as a youngster to play in the basement with hammers and nails in his workshop (looking back on this--notttt the safest, ahaha), and coming back home to NC as an adult and cutting his hair (what was left of it!) at the kitchen table.  

This was the last card I ever received from him, that I found when I was moving.  It sums him up kind of perfectly--this was right after I had taken the leap to go freelance last year:

"Go get them," so cute, right??  The last time I saw him was right after I moved to New York, and he was so, so happy that I was doing what I wanted, and "making a name for myself," as he put it.  I hope I do him proud!

Going to run for now, but I'll be back this week with another blog!  I've gotta "go get them" he he he!!

Friday
Apr292011

I will make no reference to red fruits that are large in size

Ah. The glory of home internet.  I won't go into the details of my agonizing procedures and phone calls and correspondence with my ISP and the UPS (LOTS OF ACRONYMSSS), but it has taken me weeks to finally get internet in my home, and I'm finally finally able to update the ol' blog here.  I've had a lot of adventures!

The best news is that I have reunited with Joon. <3 <3 <3

Oh, this little love of mine.  Having her with me again is like being a whole person again.  A whole, crazy, dog-obsessed person.  She's gotten pretty used to her new digs here in Brooklyn.

I have since gotten curtains.  Also, that couch over there weighs seriously four thousand pounds, and it wouldn't fit in the elevator.  I accosted two friends into carrying it with me up the stairs.  To the sixth floor. It was on the top five worst things I have ever done in my life.  If I ever move, I am having people move my stuff for me, or whoever moves in is getting a free sofabed--I'm not effin' around with that thing anymore.  I recently got some furniture delivered, and hopefully it'll be assembled by the next time I post, and I can show you all my new place, once it's nice and shiny. 

I had to go back to Atlanta to gather all my things.  It was a bittersweet occasion!  One last look into my first real "home":

Ah, just looking at that makes me a little teary.  Also, these:

1) Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fried Okra from the Local, and 2) Willys Pork Burrito with Corn Salsa and Sweet Tea Lemonade.  I am salivating right now.

Anyway.  So, what have I been doing?  I've been working an awful lot, in between fighting with phone companies and getting delivery food and trying to make an apartment into a home.  Oshkosh has been a great experience thus far, and I've learned an awful lot, made a lot of mistakes, and do something good every now and again.  I work with an amazing team.  I go home happy.  Some things I've done are in my new "apparel" gallery, but here's a little peek at what I've been doing over there:

You can see more in my gallery!  I've added a bunch of new things. 

I've also been doing a little bit of freelance work here and there.  Recently, a past client of mine asked for help on some wedding invitations, and the design was so awesome that I couldn't say no.  What can I say?  I love drawing cute animals:

Another marvelous perk is meeting up with some old school pals.  I eat lunch with John fairly often.  And on a particularly fabulous day, we were joined by Liz.

I have talked up Liz here dozens of times, and I will continue to reiterate that she is one of the most amazing illustrators I have the pleasure of calling my friend.  She's also possibly the funniest person I know, and her work is so reflective of her personality, it's mind-blowing. 

I also had a long Easter weekend, to do the thing that I had wanted the most: absolutely nothing. And also eat some meals.  And drink some coffee.

So, I did.

How the hell is everyone?? I promise, now that I have left the dark ages have home internet, I will update more often.  I miss my bloggin' community!!!

Wednesday
Aug182010

Vacaaaayyyy!!!

I wanted to first start off this post by saying thank you so much to everyone who replied to my previous post about my upcoming eye surgery.  I really appreciate everybody's support!  I was just commenting on my twitter today about how I am enjoying working for myself at home, but that it does get a bit lonely sometimes, just me and Joon in the house!  Luckily, this week I've been able to get out of the house a little more, and for little to no money, even better!! Thanks to Scoutmob.com, I got to try Tom Colicchio's restaurant, and thanks to Project Runway and fantastic friends, my Thursday nights are now booked with funtimes (at least until the season is over, ahahah)! 

Saving my pennies has been particularly important this month because on Saturday I am headed to California for nine whole days!  HOLY CRAP THAT IS MORE THAN A WEEK OF VACAY, INTERNET-FRIENDS!!  I could have never taken this much time off from work if I was still at a job, and I'm so glad that I can spend time with my California-friend who lives in Sacramento and who I haven't seen in over a year!  We have plans to eat lots of bad stuff for us!  And go to many theme parks!  And spend lots of time in San Francisco!  And, and, and I am feeling very fortunate and happy at this moment, for having such great friends who actually want to hang out with me for that long a period of time!  OH HO HO, I WONDER IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO, CALIFORNIA-FRIEND!?!

So, in between packing 2309402398423 times for this trip and getting my house in order so the people who are house-sitting for me don't think I'm a total disgusting slobberific gross-face, I have indeed been workin' my ass off.  Here's some in-progress:

 

I'm working on an iPhone app that's in development.  I'm hoping to have all the artwork shipped in the next two weeks, eek!  But, cupcakes are involved, so at least it's enjoyable!  The research part was the best. <3

 

Getting ready for my webcomic's launch in October!  I had fun making faces in my mirror and fleshing out my characters a little more!  There was never a better use for Photobooth (besides pretending you're on a rollercoaster, duh!!!).  I've realized that I've always had a hard time drawing men as opposed to the ladies.  GOOD THING MY COMIC'S MAINLY ABOUT FIVE DUDES, WHOPS. ;____;

Also, my first week and a half on etsy has been a dream come true!  I was so nervous about opening a shop and having to maintain it and just getting it UP AND RUNNING brought a lot of unexpected twists, turns,  and time commitment, but I really think I'm getting the hang of it and I've gotten many sales already!  So, thanks everybody who has been promoting my shop and me in general--I really truly appreciate it!  Working from home is a challenge, but hopefully will keep getting easier and easier as I get the hang of it.  I AM UP FOR THE CHALLENGE, INTERNET-LAND.

Anyway, just wanted to let everybody know that I'm still workin' like a fiend, and I probably won't be updating until I get back from my vacation!  I'll talk to you guys then!