Friday, April 29, 2016

freelancer tips, Hall H editorial, Prince fan art and guitar solo story

More interesting sources arrived via social media radar this week...
Here are 3 links to ponder and share ....

1) From website "UCreative"... this article by Arthur Piccio:  "12 Things Every Newbie Freelance Designer Should Know"
# 9 -- don't overwork yourself..
Important tips here for any freelancer..especially numbers 1, 2, 9 and 11!!

2) San Diego Comic Con... just months away, but always in the news..
this is an editorial by Billy Donnelly on the website

"Why Studios Are Backing Out of Hall H..."
pondering the spoilers who spoil it for everyone... "While there are plenty of people who attend Comic-Con and other conventions throughout the year and are perfectly fine with following the rules laid out for them in order to take part in seeing the privileged goodies that studios are willing to share at the event, there are more than a few who are not."
Any wonder why the studios are reconsidering....

3) Lots of art tributes on the loss of rock legend Prince....

 And this article from the NY Times.. on the behind the scenes story of Prince's blistering guitar solo tribute to George Harrison... the link includes a clip of the performance..

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book illustration... tips for artists and writers, from Sarah McIntryre's blog

"Some Tips for Writers Approaching Illustrators..." is the title of an excellent blog post by artist Sarah McIntyre.
If you are an artist interested in illustrating children's books... and if you are a writer looking to learn more about the process of getting an artist for your book... Sarah's blog posts will cover the essentials and start you on your journey...

Sarah's based in the UK... but the tips and resources she shares in this post apply to anyone interested in these fields.

charts by Sarah McIntyre..

She also links to this previous post on her blog..."Writers and Artists... What We Really Do All Day"

Be sure to check out both of these.. as well as the resources she lists.

She has also been a leading force in the "Pictures Mean Business" campaign to raise awareness about credit for illustrators..

Learn more about Sarah and her art here on her website:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

CTN Roadtrip 2016

CTN Roadtrip Burbank
is an annual event, brought to you by the hardworking crew at Creative Talent Network (CTN),
in association with the Downtown Burbank Arts Festival.
CTN artist exhibitors are set up along an entire block of this open air art fair. This event has FREE admission.. and lots of nearby FREE parking.

So many of our artist pals exhibit at this fun and festive venue.  This event is lively, but not as overwhelming as so many of the larger conventions can be. The tents and tables are located on tree-lined streets.
Check out this show: it's a rare opportunity to have one-on-one time with a range of artist vendors. See so many accomplished pros... and perhaps find some new talent. Bring your friends. Lots of shops and restaurants all along the art walk.... the usual chains plus unique indie spots too!
Huggable Koi #10 tagged along... and enjoyed visiting with some of my favorite artist pals:
Famous for her beautiful art and photographs!
 Liana's table always attracts a crowd of fans...

 We also stopped by to visit with indie artists Samantha George (l)
and Melanie Hopper (r)
We love Ponies! Here are some fun pony art cards and a print from Samantha. See more on her Instagram:

Attn artists: Samantha does a great job of helping her art help her get her contact information to clients and other professionals. Always include a business card with any art item you sell. Even better.. make sure your full name and a web address contact appears on every item.
The mini-cards (below) by Melanie Hopper are so precious.. and share an uplifting message that's welcome anytime.
Greeting cards aren't just for holidays. It's always a joy to get a card in the mail. Sending a card is sharing a little bit of art.. and an artist... with your friends and family.

This is a family friendly show... even some of the art was kid-focused.. like these hand made wooden blocks...
Art in progress along the art walk... 

Another popular table... Artist Sydney Hanson 
Her bat baby print was perfect .. as April 17th is Bat Appreciation Day! Learn more and see a swell video of helpful bats on the website for the charity Bat Conservation International:
Sydney is known for her super charming animal art!
More of her work on her page at the Shannon Associates agency website:

Many artists here also exhibit at CTNX animation expo.. held annually in November. 2016 dates are Nov 18th-20th.

The roadshow includes some of the perks of that show... like the free, drop-in live model workshop.
What makes a great artist? Lots and lots of drawing... and the passion behind the work. A great example of this is the story behind the whimsical animal art of Chris Ayers.
Here's Chris drawing a sketch in one of his books: 

Another artist connecting with fans at this show...Emmy winning animator, life drawing instructor (and long-time SNB pal) Paul Wee
Annual exhibitors include other long-time SNB pals... Loter Inc.

SNB pal artist Terryl Whitlatch wasn't at this show in person.. but was there in spirit with this nice display of her books at the Design Studio Press table..
Stuart has signed copies of Terryl's books.. WITH DRAWINGS.. at the store and on the website. Only a few of these special signed copies are left (from her LA area visit earlier this year):

Stuart and SNB crew member Jim at the the Stuart Ng Books table..
Little Golden Books ... illustrated by animators ... make a happy display! 
And Stuart even got away from the table to visit with artists and enjoy the spring day! 

Beyond the block of animation-related artists and illustrators, there are also tables with fine art, photographs and crafts. I picked up some clever cards made from fabric. Artist Lissa Malone does a wonderful job marketing.. the sturdy see-through bag not only features her colorful items, it includes a nice big label..

She includes a business card.. and her contact info is featured on the side of each box.. See more on her website:
These cheerful birds will be winging their way to my pen pals soon.. 
She had me at seahorse :) 
Always worth exploring some of the art shows in your area. Here are posts from previous LA area art and craft shows I've visited:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fan Art -- Playground or Minefield -- UPDATED 5.29.21

Google this statement: definition of "fan art" -- and the Internet gives you this answer:

Fan art or fanart are artworks created by fans of a work of fiction (generally visual media such as comics, movies, television shows or video games) and derived from a character or other aspect of that work.

 You can draw anything you like... simple, right??? or is it?

Fan Art is an entry point for many artists just starting out. The quality of fan art varies.. but it all embraces the spirit of fun, and passion for the stories and characters.

There is a vast audience for Fan Art online and at conventions. Fan art is also an entry point for collectors. As comic conventions have become more popular with mainstream audiences... a whole new audience for Fan Art has grown along with the general public attendees at cons.

Fan art is where artists and collectors can see mash-ups of characters that would never occur in licensed art. The playground of fan art is vast.... and the demand is growing.

The grey zone of Fan Art merchandise has become a Pandora's box. Attendees snap up all sorts of prints, t-shirts, tote bags and other merchandise for sale ... mostly at tables in Artists Alley.  Fans love the creative riffs on cherished characters... but the sale of Fan Art items is a minefield.

Fans and young artists see established artists selling art prints of their personal renditions of famous characters... BUT, they often aren't aware that these established artists have licensed the use of those characters for this commercial purpose from the copyright holders.

Strictly speaking, unlicensed Fan Art merchandise violates the rights of copyright and trademark holders (mostly large entertainment companies and studios). But these same companies are aware that fans love fan art.. and there's not much point in the companies bullying small vendors. However, lack of enforcement is not the same as endorsement. Tolerating fan art is a courtesy by the companies.. but it also encourages the false assumption that characters and art aren't protected. License holding companies can and do go after indie artists who generate too many sales with unauthorized images.

The fan art culture of tolerated unauthorized use of images may seem like fair use... but it's not. Fan art culture is use of licensed characters that is tolerated by license holders that are often large companies. Fan art culture also contributes to the myth that art is free for the taking. This culture erodes valuable rights for indie artists.

Many indie artists have suffered the unauthorized use of images they've posted online. Previous posts here on the blog document all sorts of case studies of Internet image theft:

If artists want fans to know their online art is NOT free.. then artists can't take liberties with images and characters that are owned by others.

Everyone benefits when artist rights are honored. Artists and fans are best served by better education about copyright.

Artist Manuel Carmona used his blog to tackle some of the Fan Art issues in his Feb 2016 post: "Artists: Stop Selling Unlicensed Prints". His post is on point. He encourages artists to strive for independent work AND gives great tips to help them get there. Take a look at the comments his measured look at Fan Art generated. The comments are a glimpse into the depth of turmoil and mis-information swirling about Fan Art practices.

Fan Art is a brilliant opportunity for real education and cooperation. Artists. Vendors. Convention Organizers. License holders. Imagine if instead of whistling in the dark, everyone agreed on guidelines that were fair and reasonable.

Convention organizers are starting to crack down on vendors. There have always been policies in place that prohibit the unauthorized use of licensed images. Now organizers are making those policies more public with specific email communications to exhibitors prior to events.

Amy commentary:

Personally... and this is just my take on the situation... I would like to see a provisional license for Fan Art. It would take some planning on the part of license holders and convention organizers, but I think a license for artist alley vendors... with a nominal fee, and renewable for a limited period of 3 to 5 years.. would help educate artists and fans about the entire licensing and copyright process. The license fee might even be used to help fund charities that benefit indie artists, like the Hero Initiative.

Back to post...

Protecting artist rights starts with education for artists and fans.
(copyright graphic below by Mark Alison)

There are some great slides and bullet points on copyright, trademark law and the world of Fan Art in this You Tube post. It's a 50 minute panel on "Fan Art Law" from the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. The panel is hosted by Josh Wattles, counsel for DeviantArt, with an extensive background in Intellectual Property Law.

UPDATE 5.2.16.

Article by Peter Decherney on Forbes website... ""In Copyright Lawsuit, Star Trek Fan Work Gets Its 'Easy Rider' Moment..."

There is summary here of long history of fan works and Star Trek.. as well as some insights into current situation with fan film project "Axanar"

UPDATE 6.12.16

Blog post by lawyer Seth Polansky "Intellectual Property II: The Wrath of Con(s)" from 6.10.16. He describes the "multiple, overlapping problems" of fan art... and "... in the discussions below, I've attempted to provide some suggestions intended to help artists, vendors and con-goers alike navigate their way through this..."

UPDATE 9.18.16

Article by Rich Johnston from 9.2.16 on Bleeding Cool website ... Comic Expo stressing original art and guidelines for artist-exhibitors...

UPDATE 10.18.16

From Trademark and blog, from law firm Foley and Hoag LLP... Oct 18, 2016 article by FandH partner David Kluft
"Ten Copyright Cases Every Fan Fiction Writer Should Know"

UPDATE 10.22.16

Fanbase Press Interview on Art Theft and how Indie Artists can protect themselves

UPDATE 2.18.17
"Is Fan Art Illegal?" ... post by artidy and teacher Chris Oatley on Art and Sterf art reference tumblr blog.
This post includes the 2012 comic con panel by Josh Wattles  --- clearly an important and popular source for clearing up the fog surrounding Fan Art.

UPDATE 5.29.21
"The Psychology of Why Fan Art Is So Delightful"
by Elisa Shoenberger in WIRED
Photo by Getty Images

Excerpt: "Fan art can also be a vehicle for honing or developing one's craft. Levine explains that fan art allows people to “practice skills within a known universe. There are people who really want to get at the medium they are using, and the object of fandom makes it a better vehicle for personal growth in a skill.”….

…. Not only do fan artists tell new stories and learn new skills through their work (or more often, play), fan art can be a vehicle for exploring your own identity. In a research study with young fan artists worldwide, generally aged 14 to 24, Marjorie Cohee Manifold, professor of arts education and curriculum studies at Indiana University, reported that 70 percent of participants “described being drawn as fans to specific characters in narratives of popular culture because they saw desirable traits in the characters that they wished to possess or emulate.” In short, during a formative period of their lives, these people were drawn to worlds or characters that had characteristics they wanted to have in their own lives…

…. Making fan art can also be meditative. Zubernis explains that some people get into a flow state through art, and it helps them get a sense of control in the world. Creating in this way helps people focus on the here and now, instead of worrying about the past or future, she says, and that can make people feel good.

On a similar note, fan art can help both fans and artists come to terms with difficult material or story elements that are problematic or hard for fans to accept. Zubernis cites fans who are still healing from the ending of the television show Supernatural (no spoilers here) and have mediated that hurt through fan art in the months since the show’s end. “It helps us go places we don't want to go,” Zubernis says, because we can go there in a safe way.

There’s also joy in creation, Zubernis explains. Since fan art is often personal or shared within a community, the rules aren’t the same as they would be for someone creating works for a job or for commercial purposes. Fan artists can do literally anything they imagine. To borrow a phrase from Marie Kondo, fan art can spark joy, Zubernis says….

…. Others may be concerned about issues of copyright, since some media and entertainment franchises are more litigious than others. Issues of copyright and fair use are unfortunately not well defined, and they often err on the side of the copyright holder, rarely the artist, who more often will avoid a potential legal battle with a large company than stand behind their art. Zubernis points out that the benefits of fan art can outweigh these negative feelings, however.

Ultimately, fan art is a healthy way to express one’s self and find inspiration to think about new worlds, skills, or new versions of self through the love of a fandom. After all, it’s a lot of fun to make. I’ll keep painting my Peeps or making merit badges as a way to celebrate my love of Among Us.”