Yay! Local SCBWI Conference Art Update

Remember that Let’s Make Magic poster I posted awhile ago?  If you remember, it was created to be used as promo art for my local SCBWI Annual Conference.  Well, they decided to use it.  Yay!  Actually, it was a bit of a cop-out.  They had three entries that they couldn’t decide between, so they decided to use all three.  BUT I AM NOT COMPLAINING!  That’s fine.  I’m happy to share the spotlight.  I just see it as a great opportunity to have my work seen by professionals in my industry, which is really what I need at this point in my illustration career.  Perhaps it will lead to bigger and better things!  At the very least, it gives me bragging rights.  🙂

Working on Things

I probably won’t be posting images for a little while. I’ve been busy.

1. I’ve been toying with the idea of merging my blog and website over here on WordPress so it’s all in one place. Right now, I’m hosting my website on iPage. I’m quite proud of the custom designed site I wrote myself (PHP with a mySQL database and custom administrator interface) but it would be nicer if it was integrated with the blog and I didn’t have to go two different places to admin it. So, the toying has gotten rather serious. I already have all the important pages from my website duplicated as private pages here on WordPress. When I get some breathing room, I’ll switch them to public and move the domain over here. But I want to wait until after the Art Fair in case there are problems so I can concentrate on getting it moved over quickly with minimum problems.

2. The art fair. Yes, I decided to do it. I have all my matting and framing supplies down in my studio. I have all the prints, some pins, and I’m trying to get a T-shirt printed.

I’d like to take a moment to say something nice about EPG Imaging at 79th and Marty in Overland Park, KS. They printed my 20 images (all around 8X10 or so) for 3-something each. Good job, EPG. It was exactly what I was looking for. More than a copy shop but not a big printing factory. Perfect for artist prints.

I ordered my mats online from Documounts. They have these kits with a standard cut mat, mounting board, and plastic sleeve that are exactly what is needed for an art fair. I haven’t mounted the prints yet, but I don’t anticipate any problems. With shipping I think it came out $2.25 or $2.50 for each sleeve/mat/backer set. Something like that. The kits come in packs of 25 sets.

Also, Hobby Lobby has the plastic sleeves cheaper than Coldsnows, in case anyone’s interested. Hobby Lobby charges $6 for cutting a custom mat and the cheapest frames they have are $9. At least for the sizes I was looking for.

I sent in my dues to the Olathe Visual Artists Association, so I guess I’m now officially a member of that. Or I will be once the treasurer gets the mail tomorrow. That group is my in with the fair, otherwise I’d be too late to get a space.

So, the art fair is the Downtown Olathe Art Festival on the 9th and 10th. So, if you’re in the area come on down.

3. Promo Postcards. Yes, it’s that time again. Time to pester the publishing industry with my promo postcards. That’s always tedious, but it’ll be something to do during the art fair if things are slow.

4. I need to figure out which of my pieces to submit to Paul Zelinsky for the professional critique I signed up for. I’m thinking either the Tortoise and the Hare or Let’s Make Magic. I have to send that by the 15th.

5. Speaking of Let’s Make Magic: I’m still waiting to hear back on whether that got picked for the local SCBWI conference. I figured I’d been passed over since I hadn’t heard back, but when I contacted them they said they hadn’t decided yet. So, there’s still hope for that.

6. Tomorrow I’m sending my Tortoise and Hare hidden picture piece to Highlights High Five. I’m not entirely sure I have the correct contact info, but if not, I should get it returned to sender and then I’ll know.

7. I’m not really happy with my Zazzle store. I need to recategorize things and purge my poorer quality products.

8. On a personal note, last week I completely spaced and forgot to take my daughter to her guitar lessons. So, hoping not to forget that again this week.

9. I should probably fold the laundry.

Olathe Artists Group and Olathe Art Festival

Last week the thought occurred to me, “Hey, I wonder if there are any local artists groups around here?”  I live in the Kansas City Metro Area, specifically Olathe, KS.  While that isn’t a metropolis on the scale of New York or Chicago, that’s still a decent-sized community.  There are art galleries, an art school, art courses at all the community colleges, and the local SCBWI group meets in the area.  There are artists here, so I wondered if there were any groups for us.

So, I did what anyone does in this day and age.  I Googled it.  And, to my surprise, not only was there an Olathe Visual Artists Association, but it met every fourth Thursday at a church just a block away from my house.  I can literally ride my bike there in 10 minutes.  There aren’t even any big hills between here and there.

I figured if the universe was conspiring to make it that easy for me, I really should show up and see what sort of group it is.

Last night was the meeting.  I printed off some of my recent work, stuck it in a portfolio, and rode my bike right over there.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’d never find out if I didn’t show up.

They were primarily discussing the upcoming 2012 Downtown Olathe Arts Festival which will be June 9th and 10th this year.  That’s two weeks from now.  They were discussing who was going to be in which tents (Don’t put a photographer in the same tent as a painter!), when to show up, what prizes to offer for second and third prize, how much to pay for a judge, and all that.  I’m afraid I wasn’t paying close attention to it all for the simple reason that, because the event was coming up so soon, I sensibly assumed that it was too late for me to participate in it.  I was mostly trying to figure out what the group was.

Then they asked if I wanted to participate.  It was too late for an unaffiliated artist to get space at the festival, but the group already had 4 tents and were a little short on artists to fill them.  My artistic genre was definitely different than everyone else, but they thought that some of them might sell as prints for kids’ rooms.

They gave me the name and contact info for someone to contact to make prints relatively inexpensively (about $5 for an 8 by 10 from EPG Imaging) and where to get the plastic sleeves to sell them in if I’m not going to frame them (Coldsnows).  Everything I need to know.

So, now I have to decide if I want to participate in an art fair in two weeks.  I’ll have to pay for prints and $40 to join the OVA group.  I’ll have to spend the whole weekend at the booth, but I’ll get local exposure and maybe a few sales.  I can always bring my promo postcards and fill out addresses to pass the time.

It does seem oddly like the stars have aligned to set this series of events in motion.

What do you all think?  Should I take advantage of the opportunity?