Hello dear reader. A little update for you about what has been going on lately for me and my art.
I recently took a break away from home for four days to take part in what used to be called the Train the trainer workshop, now called Training delivery and evaluation. I was staying at my friends Donagh and Debby in Galway during that time. They are both friends from my years at art college in Galway. Donagh is a historian and archeologist. Donagh will work for the next six month as a guide at Aughnanure castle near Oughterard, county Galway, Ireland. Pay him a visit if you have the chance, this man is a living encyclopedia with a great sense of humour. Deddy, on her side, is an multidisciplinary visual artist and weaver. She works now with groups of children on a parade to be happening next June in Merlin Woods near Galway city. Check out her Facebook page Hazel Forest.
The workshop, which was funded to me by dear Irish Social Welfare was a near complete failure. Not that I expected much. But I wasn't ready for such a corporate format. Where I envisioned days of dynamic activities filled with role playing games and situational exercises on workshop facilitation, I ended up sitting at a table for four days listening to theoretical pre-made talks about "what ifs" and generalities about human nature. Maybe not a complete waste of time after all, as I could, at least, focus on my plans for the drawing classes I intend to deliver in Ballinrobe, the town nearby where I live.
I really enrolled for the workshop at first to make a good impression on my business plan in order to support my application for the Irish Back to Work Enterprise Scheme which grants a two year financial support for business startups. My application was successful which was great news for me. This basically gives me two solid years to optimize on, gathering contacts, making personal projects, entering the market, narrowing down my portfolio, doing all that a new illustrator needs to do in order to get into the game.
So I have come up with a plan for this year 2019 and how to get things in good shape in order to maximize on my time while I am backed up financially.
What motivate me most is personal projects. They are fine assets to present in a portfolio, testimony of a determined spirit able to bring projects to completion through self-determination. Not even mentioning that I really want to express myself, so personal projects are not simply an excuse to fill up my portfolio with content. I want client work to be a thing, but I dream the strength to be able to provide and build many stories from the ground up.
For now, I have a few ideas in the making. A mini-book of wisdom/madness, made of twisted portraits of mad men, that I would like to release before next Christmas. I am now in the process of looking for a publisher, or a printer to self-publish the book after crowdfunding it.
Some examples of what I am talking about:
I am also working on a 2020 calendar, illustrated with watercolour and ink landscapes inspired from photographs of Connemara. Same story here, should I find a stationary publisher of sort, or crowdfund it in order to self-publish it? Here are samples of work in progress, exploring ideas. I am not proud of these and they won't make it to the final project.
Following all of this, by the end of 2020, I want to release my first graphic novel Stories not to be told. Not sure of the final size yet, nore of the format. Lots of work ahead with this one...
What is urgent for me to do at the moment is to narrow down my portfolio. What you may have noticed while looking at my website is the broad scope of techniques I am using and a kind of undefined approach to a subject. That makes for a scattered portfolio made of everything and nothing, the work of a Jack-of-all-trade. Not the kind of folio a client could rely upon to be sure about the outcome of a potential commission. To fix this as soon as possible, and develop a sharper sense of what audience I want to work for, I took on this little project for myself: choose 23 themes, such as form and mass, love and hate, individual and collective, senses, the four elements, liberty, etc, 23 core principles or fundamental ideas that I will treat each with one of 6 specific audiences in mind: young children, children, young adults, adults, editorial and educational. That make for 6 sketchbooks about to be filled with hundreds of drawings and illustrations. This exercise is scheduled to be completed by end of July. I then give myself the month of August to rebuild my portfolio and revamp my website with the new knowledge acquired. Will I end up finally opting for a specific audience I'd prioritize addressing myself to, or will a new style emerge, that transcends ages and medium and open more doors for me than a specialised and targeted approach would provide? Will I focus on one medium, or will I, in fact, keep expanding on my use of various techniques and materials? Will I focus on line and colour, or will I continue to experiment schooling myself and search for a more integrated look made of seisable form and clever edges? Will I simplify my work, or will I become complex? Will I find a balance between spontaneity and order? Will I finally find my centre of gravity?
So many questions! The search for answers is on!
Anyway, when this portfolio will look a little better, I will begin to pitch my work to prospects of all kinds: publishers, magazines art editors, companies, art galleries, newspapers... hopefully hitting hard from next September on.
On the other side of things, as a business manager, self-employed illustrator, I have to expand my network and hopefully grow a bigger list of prospects. An enormous groundwork is to be done. I really need to step out of my usual self-centered mind and analyse the situation around me. Ireland's illustration, it seems, is experiencing some kind of boom, so it is time to step in and take part. Investigate the network, who is who, who is doing what, what events are out there, where is the money coming from, are there grants for this and that, would these guys be willing to collaborate, how far can I work online beyong Ireland and even Europe, how good or bad is the competition, is there a niche I could fit in... I guess this is a lifetime work ahead of me. Hopefully I can enjoy a little the process on the way. I have always been of an impatient and self-destructive nature, but can I enjoy a little metamorphosis, the growing of ears and tongue, a social me, a collective me? Time will tell, if my curse is real or fictional, if I can write my story further anew or play defeated again subdued by endlessly recurrent lamentations.
Now, I have a question for you reader, viewer, follower, spectator, observer, spy, for all of you, whoever you are, whatever you are here for: should I create a Patreon? Would you like that? Would you support that? How would you like to see it looking? What content would you like to see me put in there? What are your thoughts on Patreon and do you think I could make some use of it? Please, I would be very grateful to read your answers in the comment section below. Feel free to let me know what you think, I really would like to know your opinion on the matter: should I create a Patreon?
This is it for today dear reader and all folks of the web and beyond. I am looking forward to reading your comments. And don't forget to share if you like, that always helps. See you next Sunday for another episode of Trail of colour, and until then have a masterful and commanding, original and colourful week! Peace.