The event includes a guest illustrator presentation, brunch, and a large selection of portfolios waiting to be reviewed casually by invited art buyers. Given the forecast of a torrential Nor'ester many people seemed to either not attend or leave early to beat the weather. Since I was showing my portfolio, I was definitely disappointed in the turnout of art buyers compared to last year. I also naively thought they would do a quick round during brunch, then return to linger and chat later on, giving me time to enjoy other artists, the book signing, and a bite to eat. I think they did their quick round and left shortly thereafter. I certainly talked to a lot of great artists but didn't connect with any new Art Directors which was a let down. They will all get my samples sent to them so I'm still hopeful that the event proves worthwhile from a business perspective.
He really was an excellent speaker, casual but focused and able to take a constant stream of questions during his talk without getting flustered or too off topic. And of course, his work is really beautiful - glowing and fun. The bulk of his presentation was a detailed step-by-step walk-through of the making of an illustration. He works in gouache, as I do, and I learned 2 or 3 REALLY useful techniques. The biggest brainbuster for me was to use an eyedropper for wetting paints! How simple, but how totally novel. This prevents water from getting spoiled as quickly as it does with gouache. I also learned a new potential technique for blending and sketching over my first layers of paint for reference. Chris also shared his experiences with other illustration clients, including LL Bean, Ringling Bros., etc. Talks like this are really inspiring and give me a bit of fuel to keep working.
Luckily, the weather held long enough that the drive back home wasn't too bad and I got to spend a few hours with friends who enjoyed the event as well. My thanks go out to the Maine Illustrator's Collective and the members who volunteer to make this event a success each year.