Help for you if you’re starting out as an Illustrator.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e7oVqM3bHLOBVrmNEh9bd9os0q7xJVWQ/view
Cover of this eBook PDF ‘The Business of Illustration – How to Present Yourself’ by Kevin McSherry

This book will introduce you to likely business scenarios and help you deal with clients.

An eBook designed to help illustrators who are just leaving college or in the initial stages of their careers with the business side of their activities. Edition 2. Kind of a ‘How to be an Illustrator’ but concentrating only on some of the sales side of things. It’s aimed at students and those who have just started out on their illustration careers. There’s practical advice and helpful anecdotes from my own experience. Written and illustrated throughout by little ol’ me. 

It’s in PDF, you set the price. This is a departure for me, so I hope you’ll all go along with it. If it doesn’t help you or you think it’s crap; don’t pay for it. If it helps you at all, it will already have earned it’s keep and all I ask is a small sum of money in return. The amount entirely up to you. There are Honesty Buttons and links within the book itself so you can take a good look before you buy. Payment is so easy it’s incredible.
I hope you enjoy it and you earn millions from your artworks. Don’t forget to get in touch with  any edits or suggestions.
Kevin

Future Past

Lately I’ve been looking though past blog posts to see how things were once. I haven’t ever done much for the children’s book market but I did try to promote myself in that area. This is a self-promotional piece in acrylics from 2006. I enjoyed the painting and also making up the little rhyme to go with it. I don’t think I’d do it this way now and would be far more likely to work digitally:
Once for the Childer. From 2006

My good rep in Toronto Three In A Box., produces a themed promotional book every year aimed at certain segments of the market. These books are branded as ‘Box Lunches’ and the current one is the fourth. Anyhuff, the theme this time is ‘Childhood’ and the attached pic is my contribution. I never saw myself as a children’s book illustrator so when I told Denis Goodbody of Adept Advertising he expressed surprise. He’s right, of course. Certainly what I do engages with the child inside of the reader -even at the level of the business/financial work that I do. Furthermore, my own lovely wife consistently points out my childish behaviour. Consider that we all grew up in our pre-school years with picture-books being our chief means of getting the sense out of print. We all have these absurd self-images and it’s about time we burst them. Perhaps we can meet up and burst each other’s absurd self-images. Say, next Wednesday? Good. see you then.


I enjoyed this project immensely. Obviously, you can’t have too many robots.


Kevin the Magnificent,
King of all the ‘bots,
He has multitude of them
(that means lots and lots)


They spring out of his picture-books,
And from amongst the toys,
To do their monarch’s bidding,
(That means lots of noise).


Who knows; it may go on to form part of a book itself…hmmm…

(It never did…)

Fish Bytes. A Digital Vector Illustration

A digital vector illustration of a big fish about to devour a little fish. Survival of the Fishest!
A digital vector illustration of a big fish about to devour a little fish. Survival of the Fishest!

I’ve been fishing though my archives of old illustrations to re-work as Vector artworks. This work, which was obviously about business -hostile takeovers, engulf and devour scenarios, etc,- stood out as a likely candidate.

Apart from the speed at which it’s possible to compose illustrations in comparison to using actual paint on paper, is the way I can reach into the image at any point to modify it. Including after completion. I’m using Serif’s Affinity Designer, by the way -the only illustration software I’ve found that can challenge the behemoth that is Adobe Illustrator.

I hope you like it. I am trying to reel you in. Do get in contact if you have a project that requires an imaginative, and colourful imagery that gets your point across.

Happy fishing.

Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar Painting Project

A window-painting project i undertook in 2015, to support the bid by the Guinness Storehouse to become the European Tourist Attraction of the year. This had to be painted overnight in order not to disturb the use of the venue, so I experienced the wonderful view over Dublin as the sun set and rose again. Beautiful.

A project like this requires that the artist must know their materials: There was a tight deadline for completion so no room for error. I planned the entire project out beforehand, onscreen and selected the materials that would both suit the application AND not cause any damage to property. Using the wrong materials could cause big problems. There was also a date that the windows would have to be cleared of the art too, so removal needed to be taken into consideration.

I’ve been commissioned to paint on a variety of materials, from perspex to a child’s blackboard -all through Advertising agencies, so an expert knowledge of the best material to use is vital and shouldn’t be left to amateurs.

Call 086 247 0737 to discuss your creative project and illustration.

Digital Vector Illustration: Moggles – Ready for Takeoff!

A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. Made in Affinity Designer.
A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. 

Yes, yes, I know. I’m late for my flight.  There are a couple of reasons why I’ve taken so long to enter the world of digital illustration. For one thing, I love to paint and get my hands dirty and smell the paint and feel the brush in my hand. I became an illustrator to be a painter who gets paid properly from time to time.

Another thing is, I did already try some years ago. For a while I used a program called Painter which promised to give painterly results but I struggled with it before giving up on it as I just couldn’t get the results I wanted.

Then, Adobe introduced their subscription by the month, which is fair enough but it banjaxed my chances of using it.  That’s when I discovered the Affinity suite of products: The software company, Serif, obviously saw an opportunity provided by Adobe’s move to subscription and the resultant flight of irritated users. They’ve introduced two extremely comprehensive and professional applications that are developing apace. It’s true that neither of the programs have the complete set of bells and whistles provided by the standard-setting Adobe products but if you know what you want to achieve in your work, there’s almost nothing that a photographer or illustrator can’t do. Add to that, Serif’s Affinity Publisher, which is due for release in about a year’s time to compete with Adobe’s InDesign, and it will be possible to move away from Adobe and still produce industry-standard results.

A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover. Moggles & The Ninth Life. Made in Affinity Designer.
A digital vector illustration artwork for a book cover in Outline Mode. Moggles & The Ninth Life.

So, illustrating this little ode to Affinity, is a cover illustration I did for a non-existent (as yet) children’s book. It’s made entirely in Affinity Designer and is a vector image. You can see something of how a vector image is made up in the above screenshot. I won’t go into the details of what that means  except that I can reach into any part of this image and refine it, change it or remove it at will. Imagine trying to do that with a hand-painted illustration! This is the way things work with today’s illustration clients who have become used to making ‘after the fact’ changes, and I must change my way of working accordingly. Over and out.

Illustrators Guild of Ireland Show at Luan Gallery. Press Release


The Luan Gallery is delighted to announce its winter exhibition for 2016 entitled Without the Words. Celebrating the art of illustration, Without the Words is a group exhibition selected especially for Luan Gallery which showcases the brightest talents of Irish Illustration today.
Showing works by a variety of artists, Without the Words includes samples by both established and high profile illustrators as well as emerging creative talents and forms a celebration of visual storytelling and the imagination.

Without the Words
 is an exhibition inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson’s well loved poem: ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’.
Margaret Anne Suggs, Illustrators Ireland Promotions Officer says:

‘In most circumstances an illustrator will respond to a brief which is communicated either through written or spoken word. As supporters of visual literacy, Illustrators Ireland propose to tell our visual stories, putting the pictures first- without the words. Here we tell our stories; visually stimulating the imagination to respond by creating an individual narrative, not a prescribed story’.


Illustrators Ireland is a community of professional illustrators working together to actively promote the craft and art form that is illustration. Members offer a wealth of combined experience and amongst those exhibiting include Kate Greenaway Medalist and current Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch, former Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey, and 2016 CBI Book of the Year Nominee Lauren O’Neill. With over 40 members’ work on exhibition, visitors are invited to find their own narratives within the original works.

The show combines computer generated imagery with traditionally executed drawings to present an assortment of colourful scenes and images to ignite imagination and discussion.

Aedín McGinn, Luan Gallery says:

‘We are thrilled to present this exhibition and showcase the wonderful variety of works by Illustrators Ireland. Throughout the course of the exhibition, Luan Gallery is offering up its River Gallery space to a participatory project entitled ‘The Big Picture’ in conjunction with Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch. Here, visitors to the exhibition will be invited to add their own illustrations directly to the wall, responding to the works on show and resulting in one large evolving time based mural. So come one, come all and draw on the gallery wall!’


Speakers at the official exhibition launch include: Aoife Murry from Children’s Books Ireland, Margaret Anne Suggs from Illustrators Ireland and PJ Lynch, current Laureate na nÓg.

The exhibition will open on November 5th at 6pm with a wine reception to which all are welcome and continues until 27th January 2017.

A eBook Guide for Beginning Illustrators and Client Meetings

After working with many students of illustration in mock interviews and role-plays, I’ve compiled this useful guide to meetings. It’s aimed squarely at those who are just starting out, to give them a good grounding in what they should know BEFORE meeting -and hints on how to present themselves when they do get face to face with a client.  It will help in wasting less time and seeing the incredible value in illustration for your client AND you. This explains all the business stuff that we really don’t like as artists.

There’s information on how to come up with a price, why having a daily rate is a good idea, notes on contracts and rights assignation. Plus, what to do after these meetings. GET IT NOW. It’s downloadable from iTunes (for iPad) and Amazon (as an ePUB file for everything else).

Just under 40 pages, It’s written in a witty and engaging way that’s more like a conversation in a pub than a textbook. I sincerely hope that this will fill in some of the blanks that face all of us when we embark on our careers in applied art.
Best of luck!
Kevin

Perspicacity

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From time to time, I get called on to do unusual artistic tasks. This one (for the client Wilson Hartnell -part of Ogilvy) was for a photoshoot for Eason which involved painting a logo onto a massive sheet of perspex.

I’m not sure what this type of illustration project could be termed: Set design? Mural?

Perspex is unbelievably heavy and quite floppy at this size and I had to manoeuvre it around as I worked, resting it on a blanket-covered tables. I have to say I was glad when a large van came to cart it away as the final product was very delicate; I was terrified that the paint would scratch.

Looked great in the end, though! I used Liquitex Professional Paint markers.

Not Quite All Washed-up Yet…

I received a communiqué [well -a comment] from somebody who asked why I’d stopped posting to this blog recently. ‘Tis true -I have only posted seven times in the whole of this year.

To Anonymous.
The reasons for my lethargy were that I thought no-one was reading this stuff, for a start; so that’s one reason! It’s truly gratifying when I discover that someone is listening to my outpourings -especially when the comments are as cheering as yours. Thank you.

More importantly though, I’ve been through some challenging times, shall we say, along with many. First, a sudden and dramatic fall-off in editorial illustration work forced me to rethink how I should be directing my efforts; and really about how I should be living my life. What’s true is that I had become increasingly dissatisfied with life as a jobbing illustrator and there are several strands to this: The constant but fruitless promotional efforts [I had a database of well over a thousand two hundred names that sat in my computer ever accusing me of not contacting them].
The work that I really enjoyed ; illustrating for the Irish Times Business on Friday section was cut and I was left with one last editor who had the authority and desire to buy in my illustrations. However, the editorial approach was too heavy-handed for me and I gave it up. The only ‘work’ I enjoyed doing was sketching and posting them up on Creative Ireland!
The reality is; the problem has been mostly me. I don’t like being told what to draw or paint. Sure, most people who dislike their jobs just turn up at their workplaces and do their daily duties but the whole point of striving to be an artist is that you mustn’t compromise your soul and that’s what I was doing. I’ve been involved in too many projects where some cardboard-brained pillock has taken over and ruined a good idea. Furthermore, I’m brutal at negotiations and almost always short-change myself. The one piece of advice that I can offer to those wishing to make a profession of their art is: Don’t make your hobby into your job as I did. A good artist is an amateur in the real sense of the word. If money comes in as a result of my artistic endeavours, that’s great -it’ll allow me more latitude for art.
The upshot of all this navel-gazing is that I started teaching painting in my studio. That’s my day job. I turn up to work four times a week on two days and earn my wages. You can take a gander at my Art Classes Ireland site, if you like. In fact, teaching ticks many of the boxes for me:
  • Time. I work 12 hours a week -the rest of the week is mine, to do as I please. That includes the following: Painting my own compositions; taking on an illustration project from decent and respectful clients; staring out the window of a favourite café; playing the fiddle; doing raised-leg farts; organising paintings for exhibitions; thinking; farting while jumping up in the air and clicking my heels; catching up on my neglected blog[s]; meeting colleagues in cafés -and jointly staring out of the windows.
  • I meet great people -my students come to me because they like my work, so they want to be here.
  • I now know where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing on two days of the week -that hasn’t happened for the last fifteen years. I’m the last person who should be left to organise my own week!
  • Choice. At long last I feel that it’s an easier prospect to reject offers of work by clients who I know won’t suit me.

To finish; currently I feel about as happy as I could be. I’m painting for myself. I’m not so pressured that I snap at my family. Sure, I don’t have much money but I have abundant other riches. I’m awash in a sea of love rather than swamped in the corrosive bilge-water of commerce.

Thanks for asking. How are you?