Monday, April 27, 2015

Walkthrough: How I paint

-By Daniel LuVisi

Hey, guys. Today I'm here to show you the step-by-steps of how I put together a painting. The painting I'll be giving the workshop for, is a first look at my next book LMS: Once Upon A Time In Amerika, coming out later sometime this year.

Brainstorming an Idea

Before starting a painting, I'll begin by sourcing through reference and color ideas. For this particular piece, I've thought of this scene for months, so I had a good understanding of what I wanted. I had to show Gabriel, the lead of LMS, at his utmost dangerous.

I'll begin with a rough sketch, usually starting on a flat file. For this particular piece, I knew it'd have more than enough layers, so I the next step would involve a lot of line work.

Lineart  and Why It Helps 

Lineart is truly hit or miss with me. Sometimes I love to do it, as it really helps a painting, especially in shots that require a lot of miscellaneous details. Also, when I do my lines I tend to separate different layers. Such as debris, armor, overlapping items, and back and foreground objects. 

This helps because as I get to the coloring stage, I can begin to merge each of the separate line layers with the mutual color layer. 

Background And Setting Up 

I can't begin a painting without some form of a background. Whether a gradient or a stock-photo, I require some source of a color to begin painting comfortably. Plus, it's obviously easier to tie in the colors of the characters and build them into the environment. The smoke is created with a simple smoke brush (set linked at the bottom). 

As I mentioned above, each of the background objects are on separate layers. This is so I can add in separate lighting effects smoke layers or over-lapping objects. Then, I begin to build in the characters. 

Building Up A Character 

Once I'm comfortable enough to move on from the background, I'll begin blocking in the characters. For Gabriel (right), each pieces of his armor I like to keep separate, so I can build them out one by one when rendering. I'll blame OCD for that. When painting, I'm only using a chalk-brush, which can be found in the first row of my brushes. For the sparks, it was a mixture of a stock image and a custom brush. 


So, as you can see I've already started rendering and have barely laid colors down for the opposing character. I can't help it. Once I'm happy with a certain point of the image, I like to get right down into the nitty-gritty and begin rendering. 

A lot of people ask for any secrets or hints at rendering, but I don't have any. I use a chalk brush 90% of the time and render out the tiny scratches, dents and dings. For the textured patterns on his body suit, I use a carbon-fiber texture set to Overlay. Try Transforming it to wrap it around objects. 


For the smoke and debris layers, it's just a combination of different brushes designed for each. Some are scatter brushes, which are good for the little bits you see flying about. Use that and a mixture of Motion Blur and you'll get some nice effects. 

For sparks, I use a scatter brush and also the filter > Outer Glow, which when given the color orange, will surround the brush strokes with a warm glow. After, flatten that specific layer and set it to Motion Blur and Screen. Again, transform can give some fun effects.


For my lighting, I will sometimes paint it into the characters and other times use a combination of curve layers (using the lasso or the brush to create the selected areas). For highlights or rim-lighting (such as on his fist) I'll use a Screen Layer, with the Brush also set to Screen. I'll usually use a color close to the object I'm painting on (so blue, for this example) and it'll add a nice glow/rim to the brush. 

For larger areas such as the impact spot, or the haze coming out of the gate, I'll use a large round brush set to screen. Try using a smoke or cloud-like brush as an eraser to get some cool effects. 

Tightening Up The Characters 

As I begin rendering in the characters, I will lock the Lineart to the character layers and begin combining overlapping (armor mostly) layers to the main file. Mostly to free up some ram, but also because I've done everything I need to do. 

Once all the rocks and chunks of debris are painted, I'll also merge the line layers with the painted, and merge. Then I'll put on Motion Blur (I usually copy the original layer, just incase I'll need it back.) 

Final Touches

Nearing the end, I'll begin to add in the final touches. From adjusting curve layers to bring out light and shadow, or adding tiny scratches, debris chunks, wires cables or more. This is the most relaxing stage of the painting, as I can focus on just making it pretty. I've never shown Gabriel in "action" before, so I wanted to display what he was truly capable of.

This was an incredibly fun image, but also a stressful one. I had to color code every layer, as my OCD and ADD just began to strike war upon my patience. But in the end, it was one of those paintings I'm glad I pushed through, especially from what I learned during it.

I hope you did too. 



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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rising Star Award

John Fleskes has made this announcement and it's just too cool not to share it with everyone.

Spectrum Fantastic Art is proud to announce the introduction of the Rising Star Award to the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. This award will recognize and acknowledge an emerging artist who demonstrates exceptional abilities and dedication in the fantastic art arena.

The origins of this new award began when Colin and Kristine Poole attended the 2014 Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL) convention. "Last year, at our first SFAL, we had the pleasure of spending hours perusing the artists’ creations," says Colin and Kristine. "Not surprisingly, we found the work of the big name artists inspiring and beautiful. What we also found notably impressive and particularly striking was the work in the 'Artists Alley.' These emerging artists are producing works of truly remarkable merit, creating their own ways of putting the fantastic into 'Fantastic Art.'

"The energy, spirit, creativity, talent and determination we experienced in our interactions with these emerging artists were so inspiring that we wished for their accomplishments and contributions to be recognized as are those of the more established artists. After a conversation with Spectrum director John Fleskes, this wish was to become a reality. We are very grateful to him for both being receptive to our thoughts and ideas and, in particular, for refining them into a much more effective form that led to the creation of the Rising Star Award.”

"When Colin and Kristine approached me about the possibility of a Rising Star award to recognize a young artist in our industry my immediate answer was a resounding 'yes!'" says John Fleskes. "Each year at SFAL we walk the show floor and marvel at the new artists who have just begun to work professionally. These are the field's future stars. To open the Spectrum award ceremonies by highlighting the efforts of a unique and fresh voice is something that I am looking forward to with great anticipation. It is invigorating to watch young artists work tirelessly to break new ground and forge the future. This is a great chance to show them how important they are during the Spectrum awards ceremony!"

The Rising Star Award also intends to encourage all newcomers to stay focused on their work and persevere through the challenges they will face in building a career in the creative arts.

"Spectrum began with the goal of providing recognition to the many artists—often working in anonymity—whose art was overlooked because of subject matter; the intent was to help give a voice to those who weren't being heard," says Arnie and Cathy Fenner. "The awards for the competition are extensions of the desire to both spotlight achievement and to elevate the public's awareness of our field, of what we do, of who we are and what we love. Spectrum respects the past, celebrates the present, and embraces the future; the Rising Star Award, thanks to the vision and generosity of Kristine and Colin Poole and the enthusiastic leadership of John Fleskes, is a wonderful expression of 'embracing the future' and will help Spectrum continue its now 22-year mission of discovery, recognition, inclusiveness, and encouragement."

“We have long enjoyed acknowledging our appreciation of people’s artwork not just verbally, but also by supporting them to make more of it—the idea for the Rising Star Award is an extension of this,” adds Colin and Kristine.

The nominees for the Rising Star Award will be chosen at SFAL4 on Friday May 22 and Saturday May 23 by John Fleskes, Arnie and Cathy Fenner and any member of the Spectrum Advisory Board who is present at the show. Furthermore, any representative selected by the Fenners and John Fleskes may also participate in the nomination selection. All artists exhibiting at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in May, and have been working professionally for less than five years, and any artist who demonstrate exceptional imagination, skill and dedication to their art will be considered. From this group of nominees, the final award winner will be selected by Colin and Kristine Poole and announced at the Spectrum 22 Awards ceremony at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on May 23. This is an opportunity for emerging artists to have their work presented to the Fantastic Art community and to make valuable connections and contacts.

The Spectrum 22 Rising Star honoree will receive an original one-of-a-kind award made of bronze created by Colin and Kristine Poole, a one page artist feature in Spectrum 22 and a complimentary artist table provided for the next SFAL event. This is planned as an annual award.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The COMICONfidential: PART 1

by Greg Ruth
A view from the Room at the 2015 MoCCA Arts Fest in NYC

So you've done it! After having what I assumed has has been a number of previous visits to other conventions, (at least I hope you have because what kind of lunatic would sign up to be in a con right out of the blue?) You have decided to take the plunge and stand on the other side of the table have done at you what you have done to others. This is a big moment, and an important one, (at least for that weekend... and the week before as you prep and the week after as you decompress). You will never work has hard drink as many liquids nor smile as often as you will ever do anywhere else in life. And this is a good thing because if this was what life was like we'd all be dead from it before the end of the month. So below is a list culled from my own personal and deeply considered observations considered above all reproach by no one everywhere. 

No one attends a convention who doesn't really want to be there. I mean REALLY want to be there. These aren't advertised on tv or on billboards. Your Mom and Dad likely don't even know they exist and are probably glad for that. Cons are like psychedelic speak-easies where every year the password is the same and all the punch is spiked. Not all are the big cosplay parades, but are just a place for people who love the work. Nevertheless, they're the softest targets for mockery but you know as much as I also contribute to it, I will also defend these goofballs forever because at the heart of every show is a heart beating full on love in all the most wonderfully weird ways possible. No one's trying to be cool at these things, and those that are are hilarious. They are a celebration of everything the world is not: technicolored fantasticals that defy at least six laws of physics peopled by people WHO READ BOOKS. They are an opportunity for peers to reconnect and catch up, a place to meet publishers and find work, and meet your public, (or soon to be public). 

So as we gear up for con season, here are some pointers for those of us inside the booth and some stuff for the attendees too. What started as a short quirky silly ranting turned into more of an epic poem of ridiculousness so I've decided int he spirit of internet mercy, to split this article into two separate parts. This below being the first:

Weapons check at SDCC. THis is actually a thing, and if you get there early enough you can actually see a line of every cos-player ever imagined, all together, waiting to have their various swords, hammers, or laser rifles checked for safety. One of the best, unknown secret displays of this particular show. 

Why do I start with the security element, because friends, these tireless keepers of the peace will be be all up in your business this weekend. They are like your ultra-religious parents who died in a balloon accident and now must haunt your illicit house parties scolding you of not using a coaster. They hate your friends and your music and they really do not care to even bother looking at the ironically devotional X-men sunglasses you upscaled for the day. And why wouldn't they be- they have to be the chaperones at the weirdest school prom ever. Their job is not to have fun by design, but to make sure your fun is not taken too far and everyone gets out all right. They are the gatekeepers and I have found it is best for all to make friends with them, no matter how mean they are. In fact find the meanest one and make them smile and you are done. They can answer questions, tell you where secret cut-throughs are, steer you away from the most congested entrances. They can be your dungeon masters or they can be your doom- it's your choice and I suggest you chose wisely. They are there to keep stuff in order, and this is where they should be forgiven because that job sucks. There is no order at these things, just a constant flow of fleeing screaming people from the Poseiden Adventure but running back and forth between two  upside down boats. They are the chaperones at your frat party and that job is poopy on every level so while I encourage you to remain afraid of them, please be empathetic to their plight. Put yourselves int heir shoes and as your self honestly if you would be smiling right now as a Dark-Wing-Duck/Drag-Queen-Thor tried to sneak past the ticket line? Nossir. You would not.

From A PIRATE'S GUIDE TO RECESS (by James Preller))
The Setter-Upper

This is the hardest, most stressful and darkest point of the entire experience, but only if you don't count it's kissing cousin, The Taker-Downer. You will never be more narcissistic and selfish in your life as you will be in setting up at a show. You will find yourself feeling the urge to step on a child's face if it gets you into that freight elevator on the first go. Don't worry, these feelings are common as I have seen the sweetest of men turn dark right before my eyes. And that's part of the problem: Everyone in that room, or on that street is feeling the exact same way. The whole thing is basically a controlled act of anticipatory panic, so knuckle up, breathe deep, and go with it. Thing is, everyone gets where they need to be and you will too. Shoving not required. I saw Will Eisner once make a behind the back choking gesture at a rude young woman, who'd obviously was the most important person in the building, as she banged her display poles against his cheek at SPX a while back. (Will Eisner was the man upon whom butterflies and innocent forest creatures would gather for comfort and safety, so you can feel some solace that even he was brought to the dark place by the overwhelming madness). These places make you crazy.

Once you arrive at your station ten miles away from where you were told was the nearest elevator, you can finally relax and enjoy the show. Wait, no you can't. Now you have to unpack everything and set up all your wares and books and signs and guess what? Everyone else who you just fought against to be here is doing the same thing, and I guarantee the fellow you said that mean thing to when he rolled over your toe with her dolly in the lobby, will be set up right next door. If you come into this with karma on your ticket, this is where that ticket will be punched. Trust me on this. Your masking tape won't work, the extension chord you brought is to short, you STILL haven't had breakfast and the con is in ohmygod TEN MINUTES! The thing that makes this thing worse is what can save you. We're all drowning in the same water here, (except for you, smart and organized con-person who was set up and sits happily five minutes after arrival. You don't count. We all hate you only because we all wish we were you), so take the time for a share shrug when thunderously bang your head on your table, or hilariously drop part of your pipe-and-drape on your booth partner's nose. Be a good neighbor and take solace in the fact you are all on this cruise ship of crazy together. You've just met your neighbors and this is your new neighborhood, so make sure to ask if anyone needs a drink when you go for one, take time to smile and say hello when really all you want to do is drink a bottle of Ripple and pass out on a hotel bed. 

If I had to sum this up, it would be this way: Imagine conducting a reverse evacuation drill where everyone decided they needed to save every pointy thing they owned, and then bring it inside impatiently. THAT my good friend, is a con set up.

Emmett, "Silver Tipping" in Maine
First Impressions are the ONLY Impressions. 

This isn't a semester's long discourse on the complexities of human interactive models and modes of gestalt, this is speed dating on the top of a cab on the FDR while drunk. There is no time for do overs and the one mutual human experience is that as a return to our primordial rules for jungle survival, if you're a dick for a flash second on that convention floor, you are now a dick forever and ever. It's not your fault, there's just too many damned humans everywhere to take the time to invest in forgiveness. This can unfold as you are asked to sign a book moments after say, spilling luke warm con-coffee on your lap and you scowl at them. it can also blossom from the misinterpretation of you making a crude hand gesture to a friend across the aisle just as a mother of six passes right before you holding her over forty happy accident baby. (and as a sidebar, babies at a convention are the best worst things EVER. I have had babies, two of them so far, and as such like most veterans when I see a baby all those now dormant kootchy-koos come roaring back. Babies at a convention remind me of what life was like when it was innocent and their heads smell like cashew-scented hope. But walking around with a stroller on a show floor is the WORST and being stuck behind a table while a frazzled parent just tries to get five damned minutes for themselves as their scream-baby drools all over your original art sucks for you no doubt. Babies just don't give a $#!t about any of this, and they really don't give a $#!t-a-doodle-doo about how long you took to get that panel structure on your comics page right... that they are now using as a napkin. SO forgive the baby carriers you see, given them a wink and raise a glass to them- for they have it much worse than you do and they just need a friggin break). 

In short there isn't a lot of time to slow grow an impression of someone at a show, and what you broadcast will stick as a label, so I recommend you chose your labels well. This is a show and you are its main performer, so smile, be personable and patient. They have come to see you, so make sure you give them a reason to come back next year, not use you as a reason to discourage others to enjoy themselves. If you're going to get bumper stickered- try aiming for Mr Natural and not that drunken Superman impersonator who keeps oggling people's daughters. Chose well, young Jedi, for the Force is all around you and the path to the Dark Side is all too easily found.

Interior cover for the initial tpb FREAKS OF THE HEARTLAND with Steve Niles. 

Try not to go outside. 

It sounds cruel but there's nothing worse than suddenly finding yourself in the microwave oven blast of fresh air and sunlight after being inside a convention all day long. It's like someone threw Gollum into the middle of The Sound of Music and EVERYONE else is Julie Andrews. (for the record you are the Gollum in this metaphor). In most shows, and really in all shows save for SDCC, this is a real danger. (SDCC is unique in that despite the fine weather of the San Diego area, there is now no possible escape from the con as it is metastasized throughout the entire surrounding city. Proof: I decided to walk to a book launch for the Lost Boy at a hotel roof about ten blocks away from the convention center, because I thought it was closer than it was, (it was not close at all), and I could use a break from the glare of cosplayers and pretend zombies grabbing my ankles on every street corner. I can tell you this with a real life tear in my eye that it was turtles all the way down, people. Not for one square inch of that entire city did I see a normal city populated by the normal boring city people that I so craved. It never ended and I honestly had to check my location with the stars above just to make sure I was actually moving through physical space and not on a treadmill inside the convention floor hall. That show does not have a boundary anymore. Be ready for that. There will be snarky overly awake imperial stormtroopers in your elevator even at 6am when you just want to try to get to the everything bagels before they're gone prior to the show.)

You'll see it when you happen to pass by an open front door on the way to the bathroom or a panel discussion you're ten minutes late for. The light will taunt and tease you, it wants you, and really like a house-plant crammed in the trunk of a car on moving day, you want it. If you feel you are strong enough to withstand the overwhelming desire to start running away as a baby might if released from its strtoller into traffic on 6th Avenue, then go for it. It can be a real salve. I would then at this stage avoid reflective objects. Every mirror is a Dorian Grey moment and you really do not want to see what color your skin has become after two days under those con-floor lights. No you do not. Remember when the nazi's opened the Ark in Raiders? It's that, but with tee-shirts.

Now when the show is over for the day, despite the mad rush that everyone has for the same few restaurants int he area, make sure to enjoy the outside like it was cool sweet water to a Freman of Dune. You need this. You want this. And you know what? You've busted your hump all day long being a swell participant and you deserve a good drink and a fine dinner with friends. This is the part of cons where most people get into trouble. They overdo it, they get rowdy, stay up to late and cause a ruckus. I say go for it. Life is short and the con is long and if you need to scream loud and run through the streets, do it. Get it all out of your system for tomorrow, like winter, is coming, and there will be no time for that foolishness then. 

Nate at the Ashfield Lake ready to make the plunge.
Know when to see the show yourself and how to do it right. 

This may seem like the most obvious of suggestions, but it's important to get out from behind your table and see the others in the show. If you have friends elsewhere, go give em a quick hello.  When they do the same to you it will be like that shaft of light through a never ending ash-cloud of the Mountt St. Helen's of your day, and it's upon you to deliver that self-same ray of joy wherever you can. There is a right time and a wrong time to do this as there is a right and wrong way to do this. Doing this at say, the setting up- WRONG TIME, for example. I have found the best time to see the work at a show is on the second morning just before it all opens up again to the public. No one's over spent their life force on too many nights out, if the show is going badly it hasn't really happened yet, and it really is the only time to get to see the work on display without fighting off the ones for whom it's actually on display for. Plus as a bonus if you happen upon a booth of work that say, features a series of tee shirts of the Teletubbies in the act of shaving their hairy armpits while on horseback, (true story- this exists), chances are that guy isn't at his table yet and you can avoid having to hear why it's so meta and awesome.

If you can't pull this off, and must do a visit during the show- totally fine, and sometimes the only way to catch a break from your booth- then know how to do it right. When meeting with friends don't overstay. They are there to work and sell to other humans, don't put them in a place where they feel they have to be rude by cutting you off mid story so they can do their thing. Also try stand to the side or even if possible, behind their table- especially if invited to do so. Standing in front of the table and sharing a daring adventure of the previous night's dinner is lovely, but can't you see all the people queueing up behind you? Get out of the way and let them pass, Gandalf! Remember as many times as you have been at a show with your colleagues it's still not YOUR show, but is in fact for thems who hath paid to visit it and you. Unless the con-pal brings you tiny delicious pies that remind you what joy tastes like and then you can let that guy do whatever the hell he wants. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Groundhog Day - Groundhog Day - Groundhog Day - Groundhog Day - Groundhog Day

By Donato

For those of you who feel you may have seen this painting before, you are correct!  But just as each day is a little different in Bill Murray's surreal life in the movie Groundhog Day, such is my fate as I work slowly, surely day after day on the same image, yet never is it the same.  Some days it feels like a wonderful painting, others like a disaster.  The most important lesson here is to keep moving forward.

Ambitious paintings require a tremendous amount of commitment and patience. I Apply paint to the areas I know, and take leaps of faith in those I do not. All the while in the back of my mind are words of wisdom from Dori... 

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Eventually I will get there...where ever that may be.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Glade Watcher

-By Jesper Ejsing

Glade Watcher, Magic the Gathering, Dragons of Tarkir. 

When I got this magic assignment I was thinking:"Yeah, Treefolk and forest background,; right up my alley". Turned out my alley was closed for reconstruction or something. Often I seem to complicate the most simple assignments by over thinking it or by pure bad luck or destiny. ( I do not believe in either of the 2 last ones, but they seem to believe in me ).

The trouble began after the first sketches. I had a very particular, but also quite fuzzy, painting in my head. Sorry, I am jumping a head of myself here. The assignment was to do an ancient treefolk herder or protector of the forest. The detail that caused me the most issues was that he should be both rooted and also raising one leg to uproot himself. I always try to keep the figure dynamic or in mid motion if possible. I think it creates a believability to the figure that it is in motion. But with this image he should not really be moving ( except the leg ) and he should look regal and old, AND I wanted it to look exciting and organic and moving. As you can see from the sketches I either did a very moving character that did almost forget about the root part or a still figure looking like a rack and the root part barely visible. The 3 to the right was simply too creepy and undead looking, the top left was too bestial, and the uproot part looked like he tripped over a rock. The middle left was the one I thought was closest. I was working at Wotc, as an inhouse artist, at the time the sketches was due for approval. Dawn, the art director, came in and looked at my sketches and liked the middle left also. For some reason I decided that she did not like it that much, so I submitted another sketch the same day, the one on the bottom left.

What I liked about it was that it had an upturned face looking up toward the light ( or God, if you believe in that ) looking for hope. It had a regal poised pose and it had the form of  grace and beauty that I had in my minds eye from the beginning. I was super happy that Dawn decided to go with this sketch.

When I had to do the real sketch on the paper I was going to paint on, I added some horns to his head and a couple of Faeries, one almost landing in his palm. I chose that to show how much in tune he was with nature. Like Snow White and the forest animals joining her in the clearing. But later I changed the faeries to butterflies. The world, this tree folk was protecting, had no faeries it seemed. I also ended up adding a lot more foliage to the forest.

I still have no solid answer to why this, seemingly easy illustration took so much more effort and though torment than I had anticipated. I can blame it on bad mood swing or the fact that I was travelling back and forth over the Atlantic at that period, or that it was to specific an assignment or too loose, I could keep going. One thing that bothers me was that I think I too early zoomed in on one idea and one mood. it made it harder for me to solve problems, like the root part, or to go with different ideas as they pop up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inspiration: Monica Piloni

I'm always intrigued by the power of juxtaposition. How the simple arrangement of differing concepts, each with their own 'psychological baggage', can evoke such a powerful reaction. How an artist can say so much, with so little.

Sculpture and Photographer, Monica Piloni, is a wonderful example of using juxtaposition to great effect.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4 Complete Program

-By Arnie Fenner

Well, since Lauren shared the art director programming for SFAL4 last week, I thought I might as well show the entire schedule. Thanks to Lauren's & Shena Wolf's careful planning, overlap has been minimized as much as possible and variety increased.

Happening at the same time as Spectrum Fantastic Art Live—quite literally right next door—will be the long-running KC science fiction convention ConQuesT 46. Their guests this year are Brandon Sanderson, Selina Rosen, artist Nene Thomas, Mark Oshiro, and George R.R. Martin (in one of his very few convention appearances this year). Attendees to SFAL4 or ConQuesT 46 will be able to purchase memberships at a discount to either show during the weekend. It'll be a sort of Arts & Letters Festival: come for one, stay for both!

Above: Circumstances beyond our control dictated that SFAL4 would coincide with the city's highly-regarded SF convention, ConQuesT (now in its 46th year). Rather than play the Con War Games so common these days around the country we all happily agreed to work together (imagine that!) to make this Memorial Day weekend a special Fantastic Festival for all. And, c'mon, you know that if you're attending SFAL for the art, artists, and programming it would be downright silly not to also attend ConQuesT 46 and take advantage of the increasingly rare opportunity to see George R. R. Martin—easily the most celebrated author in our field today—in person and maybe get an autograph. They'll be posting their programming schedule in a few weeks.

Since someone asked, there will be no live-streaming videos of SFAL4 programming; whether any will be available for viewing later is yet to be determined. Why? Well, besides the logistics and expense of program videos (everything costs money to do and do right with the right people behind the cameras), we sincerely want as many people to attend as possible and not be content substituting a virtual experience for a real one. There's much to be gained through meeting other members of the community face-to-face, of seeing art in person, of watching creators draw and paint live, that can't be replicated by watching at a distance online. If you want to experience the show…please come. Yes, there are always the excuses of distance, finances, or schedules. As I've said in the past, there are a million reasons not to do something—but one good reason is all anyone ever needs to take the plunge and we sincerely appreciate every exhibitor and attendee that have joined to make SFAL a reality. If you want an artist-focused convention, one that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone without pretension, artificial restrictions, and high ticket prices, we'd love to see you in Kansas City in May.

Programming schedule Friday

Main Program Room #2101

3:00pm-4:00pm • Art Directors as Gatekeepers
Irene Gallo [M], Lauren Panepinto, Jon Schindehette, Zoë Robinson, Andy Christensen, Kate Irwin, Richard Whitters, Jeremy Cranford
What makes Art Directors qualified to pick and choose talent? What are A.D.s looking for? Who died and made them boss, anyway? Come listen to a panel of the best A.D.s in the biz talk about how they see their role in the business of art.

4:30pm-5:30pm • Making It Revisited
Anthony Francis Moorman [M], Woodrow J. Hinton III, Andrew Bawidamann
The documentary about what it takes to become—and remain—an artist premiered at SFAL3 in 2014. Now the director and two of the principle artists talk about where their journey has taken them in the last twelve months and also share some secrets about future projects.

Art Director Room #2102A

4:30pm-5:00pm Portfolio Review Bootcamp + Critiques
Lauren Panepinto & Marc Scheff
Marc & Lauren of Drawn + Drafted will take portfolios from the audience and “test-drive” them, giving tips on how to put your best work forward, and how to be confident in presenting yourself and your work well under pressure.

5:00pm-5:30pm: Women in Art Biz Bootcamp
Lauren Panepinto, Irene Gallo, & Zoë Robinson
Women are working toward equal representation in today’s art world, but the balance can’t be restored unless we openly discuss the unique challenges facing women in our industry. Join three woman art directors in an open discussion of how sexism impacts business, how we can push through obstacles, and how we can stop holding ourselves back. Note: Men are very welcome to observe this workshop, but the moderators will be keeping the focus on women’s issues and women’s voices.


Above: This is the space we've rented for the Friday night opening party/art director ice breaker gathering: it has what I like to call a cool Overlook Hotel vibe. It's the historic lobby of the Muehlebach (run by the Marriott) that is used for events. There used to be a mural by Maxfield Parrish in the former lobby bar now called the Tea Room (which we'll also be using): whatever happened to the mural is a mystery but rumor is that it still exists and is in storage somewhere in the city. History 101: This is where Harry Truman met with supporters after winning the presidential election of 1948: Truman was staying in nearby Excelsior Springs and drove to KC upon learning the results. Buy me a drink and I'll show you the still-existing secret passage in the Tea Room that the Secret Service used to sneak him into the reception.


7:00pm-10:00pm: Opening Night Party & Art Director Ice Breaker. 
Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Location: the Barney Allis Room on the lower level off the main lobby of the Marriott’s Muehlebach Tower. Watch for the sign near the stairs or take the elevator.

10:00pm-1:00am: Late Night Life Drawing 
sponsored by the Bethany College Applied Arts Academy and the Illustration Academy. 
Location: the Truman Room off the main level lobby of the Marriott’s Muehlebach Tower. Models will be nude: for mature artists only. Cash bar.

Programming schedule Saturday

Main Program Room #2101

10:30am-11:30am SFAL 4 Guest Roundtable
Carl Anderson [M], Julie Dillon, Donato Giancola, Scott Gustafson, Tim Kirk, Karla Ortiz
Meet Spectrum’s special guests in this lively and entertaining roundtable interview.

12:00pm-1:30pm Flesk Publications, Spectrum 22, and Beyond
John Fleskes [M] Iain McCaig, Mark Schultz, Frank Cho, Steve Rude, Jim & Ruth Keegan, Craig Elliott, Bill Carman, Justin Gerard, Annie Stegg
Spectrum Director and Publisher John Fleskes is joined by a bevy of outstanding creatives to talk about new books, new projects, the Spectrum 22 judging, and what the future holds.

Above: Three (and maybe more) major new art books are scheduled to premiere at SFAL4. A number of the artists featured in Women of Wonder will be present to sign copies of the book and Mark Schultz will be making a rare convention appearance to launch his long-anticipated illustrated novel.

2:00pm-3:00pm Women of Wonder
Lauren Panepinto [M], Cathy Fenner, Karla Ortiz, Tran Nguyen, Rovina Cai, Forest Rogers
Editor Cathy Fenner is joined by some of the contributors to talk about the exciting new art book devoted to women Fantastic Artists.

3:30pm-4:30pm Envisioning Contemporary Myths
Arnie Fenner [M], Donato Giancola, Tim Kirk, Gary Gianni, Mark Schultz, Greg Manchess
Whether it’s Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom or Robert E. Howard’s Hyboria or Tolkien’s Middle-Earth or George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, artists are always challenged to translate authors’ exotic worlds into pictures. Meet some of the masters at bringing Conan, Gandalf, Solomon Kane, and Jon Snow to life.

5:00pm-6:00pm Books vs. Games vs. Film vs. Everything Else
Lauren Panepinto [M], Irene Gallo, Zoë Robinson, Kate Irwin, Jeremy Cranford, Dan Dos Santos, Karla Ortiz
Everyone wants a well-rounded career, but different media have very different needs. Learn the differences between publishing, gaming (digital and physical), film, etc. and how to prioritize your portfolio for the jobs you want most.

Art Director Room #2102A

10:00am-2:00pm Official Portfolio Reviews (prior sign-up required)

2:30pm-3:00pm Freelancer Fitness Bootcamp
Marc Scheff
A freelance career is good for the soul but not necessarily for the body. Learn some ways you can eat healthier, move more, feel better, and work more productively with Marc Scheff.

3:30pm-4:00pm Social Media Bootcamp: Beyond Facebook
Jon Schindehette & Marc Scheff
Facebook is necessary these days, but there are so many other platforms and ways to share your art. Jon Schindehette of Thinkgeek and ArtOrder & Marc Scheff of Drawn + Drafted will help you choose what will work best for you.

4:30pm-5:00pm Collaboration & Community Workshop
Jon Schindehette & The Denver Illustration Salon
Do you know how to play well with others? Crave some collaboration? Join master community builder Jon Schindehette of Thinkgeek and Art Order with members of the Denver Illustration Salon in this workshop that will show you how to get creative people to work and play together.

Live Painting Demonstrations at the rear of the Main Exhibit hall
11:00am-12:00pm: Gregory Manchess
1:30pm-2:30pm: Dan Dos Santos
3:00pm-5pm: Steve Rude

Note: Some demos may run longer than their planned times.

Above: The Folly Theater was originally built in 1900 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. At various points in its history the Folly has featured performances by everyone from Sarah Bernhardt and the Marx Brothers to Gypsy Rose Lee and Tempest Storm. The theater is right next door to the convention center and our hotels; all members of both SFAL4 and ConQuesT 46 are welcome to attend.


8:00pm Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. Doors open at 7:00pm. Cash bar.
Entertainment by Voler–Thieves of Flight. Location: The Folly Theater, 300 W 12th St
(next door to the Marriott). All ticket holders and ConQuesT 46 members welcome.

Above: Our awards ceremony director, Lazarus Potter, has booked the aerial dance troupe Voler–Thieves of Flight to kick off the evening's celebration.

Programming schedule Sunday

Main Program Room #2101

10:30am-11:30am Not Exactly Child’s Play: Illustrating Children’s Books
Iain McCaig [M], Tim Kirk, Scott Gustafson, Tim Raglin, Julie Dillon
A renowned collection of artists talk about the challenges and rewards of creating picture books for young readers.

11:45am-1:15pm Karla Ortiz: Do It All! Introduction by Iain McCaig
Fine Art, Concept Art, and Illustration: Karla will talk about the different industries, why they’re inspiring, and hopefully motivate you to do it all too!

1:30pm-2:30 Comics: Work for Hire vs. Owning Your Own Properties
Shena Wolf [M], Frank Cho, Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni, Aaron Lopresti
What’s better, being a well-paid freelancer for hire or an entrepreneur who owns your own properties? Some comics creators experienced at doing both discuss the pluses and minuses.

2:45pm-3:45pm Building an IP
Jon Schindehette [M], Iain McCaig, Brom, Daren Bader
Join a panel of IP experts and superstar artist/creators for a panel/workshop on how to start building your own platform and intellectual property and release it into the world.

Art Director Room #2102A

11:00am-1:00pm Official Portfolio Reviews (prior sign-up required)

1:30pm-2:00pm Demystifying the Gallery World Workshop
Julie Baroh of Krab Jab Gallery
Join Julie Baroh of Krab Jab Gallery in Seattle for a workshop for artists entering the gallery world, including tips on how to create a show concept, dealing with contractual obligations, writing a bio, marketing the show and your work, dealing with framing, and everything else you need to be successful in a gallery setting.

2:30pm-3:00pm Web Presence Bootcamp + Critiques
Lauren Panepinto & Marc Scheff
Marc & Lauren of Drawn + Drafted will give you a crash course in the dos and don’ts of websites and social media, using examples from the audience.

3:30pm-4:00pm Selling the Art or Selling the Artist: Branding Workshop
Marc Scheff & Lauren Panepinto
Join Marc Scheff & Lauren Panepinto of Drawn + Drafted for a workshop that will teach you how to sell yourself while keeping your art the star of the show though the power of design and finding an authentic voice.

Above:Spectrum Director John Fleskes will have some exciting announcements during the show about the future of Spectrum and SFAL. Keep your schedules open in 2016 (and maybe, just maybe, sooner) because John is about to turn the amps up to 11.