Friday, August 28, 2009

waves all around

The main thing that blows me away about life in general is how connected we are, whether we realize it or not.

During June and July I was working on a large assignment for Oxford University Press. I cannot share details until the publication date in January 2010. How does an illustrator three miles out to sea get a job in the UK? Why, thanks to the I spot, THE illustration internet site.

Coincidentally, Jami G, VP at the ispot, asked to buy a copy of my soon-to-be-published book, Seven Days of Daisy.

Little did she know it was idling near my desk due to some work that came via the ispot! In the window of weeks between sketches and starting final art for OUP, I revised some pieces for my picture book. The above illustration appears in the new edition, and features a real place on Peaks Island called Whaleback.

This is the piece that was in the first edition.

I decided to redo this one. In the seven years since creating the art, I have done bunches of pastel seascapes. I decided to get closer to the figures, show expression, skip the collage, and feature a cormorant, my favorite coastal bird with unflappable demeanor.

Here's the rock I visit every day and used for reference, which is not the real Whaleback, but looks like one, don't you agree?

I headed out to Whaleback last Sunday, shortly after high tide to photograph Rebecca, who writes a monthly yoga column for the Island Times. I've become her de facto documentarian. Whoa, the wild waves from Hurricane Bill had drawn a mob.

I shot Rebecca with Whaleback in the background, hoping to time my shot with the biggest wave. Not exactly successfully.

The ocean is a force of nature beyond our fathoming. I send prayers out to all those who suffered loss and damage. Now we brace for another storm, Danny.

Meanwhile, back at the ispot, Jami patiently waited for my book to be real, and buyable. It would be a gift for another Jamie at the i spot, who ALSO has a daughter named Daisy. Is that not a cool cosmic coincidence? Here is the so sweet recipient, as adorable as her name.

Somehow, having just one buyer in line kept me motivated to get the book DONE.

Thank you, Jami G!

I have been in the illustration field for almost 30 years. Hard to reckon. The need to promote one's work is a perennial issue; I have advertised in a bevy of directories over the decades, in Boston, San Fransciso, and nationally. I've been bombarded by sales pitches, phone calls, mailings, all promising me more work if I just pay a big bill (anywhere from 2K to 4K), send off art that I belabor, second guessing what single image will do the trick, wait about 6 months, receive a book weighing more than my large dog, along with an unwieldy box of 1000 tearsheets that will cost me another big bundle to mail, after buying a mailing list, envelopes, and slapping it all on while watching old seasons of Project Runway. And then, I wait for jobs that don't materialize.....

Needless to say, the market has changed. Publishing has changed. We have changed. Change is good, mostly. I have jettisoned the directories, making room in my studio for
a box of my own books.

Unlike the massive directory books that are so yesterday, the ispot offers sharp, fresh insight on trends and tracking one's place in the big pond of contemporary illustration. It's swell to know real folks are there, with families and their own waves of creation to pursue.


Jami Giovanopoulos said...


Thank you so much for including me and the rest of our ispot family in your beautiful blog! You truly made my day...


Jami G

Patricia Erikson said...

I continue to hope that the downturn in opportunities will be matched by the exciting connections that new technologies bring to us - I'm glad to hear your story of optimism.