The Electric City ComiCon at the Anderson County Main Library was an amazing event! If you weren't there August 8th for the first ever EC3, you have to come next year.
It was everything I expected and more – if you get the newsletter, you may recall that I expected it to be well-organized, small yet high-quality, truly kid-friendly, and FUN! And it hit all those notes and then some.
EC3 was an awesome mini-con jam-packed with cosplayers, geekery, art, stories, and imaginative and excellent merchandise from some of the best craftspeople in the state. I especially loved the steampunk Wicked Witch of the West. Her green face and body paint was excellently done, and the costume was amazing! There was a fan art contest upstairs – which if you were there and entered art, please don't leave your art behind. I noticed they put out a call on Facebook asking people to pick up their orphaned art. Also a cosplay contest, and panels on a variety of topics which I really wish I'd been able to attend. But as the only person at my table brave enough to have “Challenge Me!” on the facepainting sign, I really couldn't leave my spot long.
Speaking of which, next time I swear I'm taking pictures! My best challenges included a chibi Link from the Legend of Zelda, a couple full-face Darth Mauls, and a small cartoon Hulk. I stayed up late and painted this new poster just for this show, which I'm sure helped prove that I can paint Darth Maul. Nobody wants a badly-done Sith!
I also did a 'stache on a cute little guy whose mom was Princess Peach (in a lovely re-imagined and dyed thrifted wedding dress) and some tiger stripes on his cute baby bro who could not believe his eyes when I showed him the mirror. It was the best makeover reaction since Oh's beauty mark.
Of special note is Shandra Koger, the creator of Lightning Prophetess, who partnered with me at my table and brought her amazing posters and art of her original characters. She helped me manage my spot while I was painting on people, but she did very well in her own right, getting lots of interest in her stories from new people, many of whom went home with some cool signed art. Check out her work!
Overall, this was an excellent show and I'm planning to be there again next year, no matter what it takes or what else is going on. I only have one question – how can I make my spot even better? What do you want to see? Leave a comment with ideas, suggestions, and your thoughts on the EC3 mini-con here!
If I ever get my hands on whoever is still spreading this rumor that you need a degree to go pro at anything (well, short of a medical or law professional) it ain't going to be pretty.
But, this week's question is specifically about whether you need a degree to become a professional artist.
The short answer is NO. You don't even need a certificate from the art department of a tech school.
Now that's out of the way, let's get into the more relevant question, and the long answer.
What Do You Need to Be a Pro Artist?
First, you need to create at a pro level.
1. Vision. There must be something you want to create.
2. Passion. You must really care about creating that vision well. It shows in the final version.
3. Education. This does not have to be a degree in the arts. It could be self-study and careful observation, it could be online classes, it could be weekend or adult education classes, but you need some way of learning the rules of your media so you can work well with it.
4. Practice. You need a lot of hours of practice before you're going to be able to create your vision well.
5. Persistence. Also known as grit, determination, stick-to-it-iveness, and stubbornness. It's hard to master anything, and if you're going pro, you need to be a master of your own style.
Second, you need your own style. A lot of amateurs simply crib pro work and expect to somehow gain a following and get rich and respected or whatever it is they want. But that attitude keeps them locked in at amateur level, being poor, watered down imitations of real artists.
It's fine to copy pro work to learn from it, it's even okay to trace to get familiar with proportions and perspective and other tricky bits. But personally I'd never attempt to sell something like that.
As the saying goes, why be a poor imitation of someone else when you could be a great you?
Honing your own style involves a lot of feeling around in the dark, figuring out what works for you, trying things you don't necessarily enjoy fiddling with (for me it's machinery... I like organic lines), and taking constructive criticism and learning from your mistakes and getting back up to try again.
You need to know the rules, and why they exist, and then you'll know when breaking a rule makes a piece stronger. Picasso is known for his abstract art, but he was trained in realism and he has some excellent realistic portraits and drawings in his early work.
By the way, drawing from life is the way to go if you're interested in drawing any style. The practice will help you draw gestures that aren't stiff, shadows that look possible, plants, animals, objects, rooms, everything. You need to train your eyes and your mind to see and perceive the lines and shapes that you can put on paper.
There's more, but I guess I'm putting that in another post later. Comment below with questions and any specifics you want me to address!
Electric City ComiCon Next Saturday!!!!
P.S. Don't forget, I will be in Anderson at the Electric City ComiCon next Saturday with my friend Shandra Kroger of Lightning Prophetess, from 1:00 to 5:00. It's going to be a great event at the Anderson County Main Library. At 4:30, there will be a Cosplay Contest, so I will be bringing the Cosplayer Care Kit, filled with sewing supplies, safety pins, bobby pins, tape, glue, and more, AND I will have facepaint touch-up available. Harley Quinns and Jokers take note! I know that white makeup is tough to maintain!
NOTE: Purchased costumes are ineligible for contestants over age 13, and of course this is a family-friendly event, so you might want to err on the side of modesty with your costume if you think it might be iffy.
In addition, I will have Steampunk Goggles, Vixies Original Art, masquerade masks, Steampunk embellished hats, hand-crocheted fingerless gloves, my Abstract Fairy Tale Art, and more! I'm lookig forward to seeing you there!
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.