Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ICON 7 Recap: Complete with Sketches!

Just got back from ICON 7 in Providence Rhode Island!
Once again, the conference was an epic gathering of talent and excitement. Three days of workshops and lectures helped update the whole community on the status of the industry and gave us all a general heads up of what everyone else was up to. I'm going to use this post to list some highlights, awesome new artists I met, and some of my own sketches from the event.

The big buzz going in to ICON was the keynote speech Friday night by Lynda Barry with special "surprise" guest Matt Groening. It did not disappoint, and was an amazing talk, with the two of them having such a great conversation on stage that we were rolling in the aisles with laughter.
My other favorite talks were the ones by Kiel Johnson, Dan Santat and Adam Rex, Linda Joy Katwinkel, Idiot's Books, and the Sketchbook talk. Here is a brief outline of them, along with links:

Kiel Johnson: I was amazed I had never heard of this guy before, and his work blew my mind- suffice to say, I will never look at cardboard the same way again. Kiel does these amazing projects using the material, and he even had a short movie filled with cardboard robots at a prom (and no, that's not an embellishment).

Dan Santat and Adam Rex: These two had a really exciting presentation about the highs and lows of self-promotion and work in the children's book business. I'm ashamed to admit that I was unaware of who Dan Santat was, though I immediately recognized his work- and you will too once you've seen it. With a presentation loaded full of great imagery from books like "OH NO!" and "Psssst!" it didn't take long to grasp the audiences attention. Plus, I won a Santat print- which is pretty amazing.

Linda Joy Katwinkel: Best talk on copyright I've ever seen. Immensely helpful on a working level.

Idiots' Books: Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson are this married couple who produce illustrated books that are available by description. That sentence doesn't really do them justice because their presentation on pursuing your passion was both epic in scope and realistic, which is a nice change of pace. I was lucky enough to be placed next to these folks at the Rhode Show, and I highly encourage you to visit their site.

Sketchbook Talk, with moderator John Hendrix: Marcellus Hall, Jillian Tamaki, & John Cuneo presented selections from their sketchbooks and talked about their process, which was awe-inspiring, especially in the case of Mr. Cuneo. As an avid sketcher myself, I really enjoyed this talk. You should DEFINITELY check out their sites.


I was at the Rhode Show again this year- sharing a table with the talented Mike Hirshon! I sold buttons, prints, and of course, Old Stormy!

The crowd was immense, and I had the double pleasure of both making some new friends and some  money (always a plus). Some great folks I met, or re-connected with, are listed below. I highly encourage you to check out their work:
Jeremy Leung, Dave Maupin (WU!), Laura Beckman (WU!), Alex Vitti (WU!), Lindsey Balbierz, Nigel Buchanan, Marc Scheff, Chris Philpot, Lauren Hess, Keith Negley, Claire Manning and Jenn Steffey.


ICON was amazing. If you are a student, or like me,  a relatively young illustrator still working to break in to this industry, I highly recommend it. There is no better place to make connections, get inspired, and get a good grasp of this industry. Hopefully I'll be seeing you all at ICON 8!


Kyle T. Webster said...

Hi, Sam - so glad you had a good time at ICON and sorry we did not get a chance to chat. Best wishes from NC - Kyle

Jenny said...

Cool, Sam! Nice recap.... You KNOW, Lynda Barry sometimes gives talks around the Chicagoland area, too.

Anonymous said...

Awesome stuff Sam! i'm jealous! love old smokey as well

David Maupin said...

Great post and thanks for the shout out.