Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Back in November, a few weeks after returning from Illuxcon (a convention focused on traditional sci-fi and fantasy art which I have dubbed "the happiest place on earth") I got an email from the Pat & Jeannie Wilshire, the fine folks who run Illuxcon, asking me if I wanted to paint one of the three official Illuxcon commissions.
It's pretty common advice to tell aspiring illustrators, that once they get that all important first gig, to knock it out of the park. I don't think one should stop there, in my mind there are going to numerous jobs throughout your career that are just as important, if not more so, and when they come along you must be ready to give it everything you got. To me this was one of them.
Although it has by far the smallest attendance and is the most laid back once I actually get there Illuxcon is by far the most important show for me. I am already starting to plan for Illuxcon 2012 and I still have 6 other conventions to go to before November. Illuxcon and the Illustration Exchange (also run by Pat & Jeannie) have been a huge part of shaping my career in a way that I didn't anticipate 5 years ago. I knew I would be able to sell a few originals here and there but I didn't think sales would end up accounting for more than 60% of my income. And if it weren't for these institutions they have created, they simply wouldn't. I just wouldn't have gotten the exposure to sell so many painting so early in my career. This, in turn, has given me the freedom to turn down certain jobs in favor of pursuing my own artistic goals, knowing I could probably move the originals. Works like "Love Never Dies" and "Inheritance" would probably never have been painted otherwise, and many other commissioned paintings would not have been painted so large and detailed.
So when I was asked to do an official commission for the show (alongside Jim Burns and Larry Elmore, I might add) It was a "go big or go home" moment for me. And this is what came of it:
I'll do a "behind the scenes" post fairly soon here, since there was obviously a lot that went into creating this. But I have blabbered enough for now.