First off, here is my public photo album.
I attended the IMC 2014 this year, and am glad I did! For one thing I didn’t go last year. On top of that, having spent a year freelancing from home, I was starting to feel a bit isolated. And nowhere have I found more comradery than at the IMC. It’s as if someone pumped a friendship catalyst through the vents or something, or maybe that’s just the comradery that automatically seems to come from working in parallel with others.
But I do know that the fantasy art community is known for being exceptionally supportive compared to related spheres. This can be explained in several ways. One is relative size. It’s easy to personally know most of the top artists in sci-fi/fantasy, especially in the publishing side of things. This is due to venues like Spectrum and conventions like IlluXCon, Spectrum Live, and artist sections of comic/gaming cons. Also, we all know the business is tough. Tough to get in, tough to stay in, and tough to get fairly compensated sometimes. Instead of standing aloof from our peers and coveting our working techniques, most fantastical illustrators are open to helping others improve and sharing what we know. In many ways, it’s “us against each other” but the community is all about “us against the world.”
The IMC provides a platform for people to not only support each other, but inspire each other as well. I love looking and at reading other artists’ journeys, and the lectures at IMC provide a healthy balance of theory/instruction with these stories. Stories to remind you that your heroes are particularly hardworking humans, not “Art Gods.” Also, they like messing around! ▼
I got to meet a couple of new guests in the 2014 IMC, as you’ll see in the photos. There is of course Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy. Then Greg Ruth, another comic artist with a distinctive and beautiful style. And of course, Brian and Wendy Froud. Below is a compilation of several instructors “doin’ their thang.” In reading order: Greg Ruth, Iain McCaig, Greg Manchess, Dan Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, and Mike Mignola. ▼
I chose the “Fairy Warrior” topic. It was an open-ended one, and I ended up concocting an entire backstory for it. World building is fun, what can I say? I ported some of the ideas from my science fiction nanotech story. Imagine a magical plane where golems are the dominant “life” form. However, they are very tiny, about the size of a grain of sand. They bond together to make emergent intelligence. Brave fairy explorers enter this plane to harvest the magical batteries that the “plant golems” produce, valuable trading objects that they are. Many of the mobile golems and “swarms” are hostile to this though, and Guard fairies wearing armor use a combination of magical and melee techniques to keep the native golems at bay while their harvester comrades get to work. These Guards wear special mirrored armor to confuse the swarms.
When my sketches were critiqued, it was suggested that they had ambivalent focus, as if I couldn’t decide whether to play up the environment or the fairy character. Apparently the environment was the most interesting (to them and, evidently, to me) so I downplayed the fairy character to almost a speck.
I really wrestled with whether or not to do traditional media for IMC. This was the first time I was flying in from the opposite coast rather than driving from Ohio. I knew I’d want to ship my paints to avoid issues with the TSA. And I won’t lie, in one way it was a major pain. Having liquid acrylic paint burst open in transit and douse everything in bright yellow was not a good experience.
Aside from that though, I had a blast experimenting with painting technique. I had thought up my approach before, but time constraints, space constraints, and fear all added up to keep me from actually DOING it. IMC provided a guilt-free time, enough studio space, and a psychological safety net of sorts.
…below is an animated walkthrough. Here’s a link to higher quality: http://gifmaker.me/PlayFrameAnimation.php?folder=2014100205hNyzy47rqAJDsMeJqeVTey
And here’s the files: Kirsten Zirngibl – Acrylic Painting Walkthrough
Thank you Rebecca Guay and everyone else who helped make IMC happen!