The January edition of PSInside just hit the newsstands!

November PSInside

Interviews, updates and art tips from America’s hottest illustrators’ organization.  Get your copy here, hot off the press!

What goes in your portfolio

Some good advice for aspiring children’s illustrators about what to include in a portfolio over at Jennifer Represents…

Hat tip: Tracy Bishop

October PSInside

The new PSInside just hit the newsstands!

Two animators I know

Back in the days when I was a graphic design instructor at Pittsburgh Technical Institute, I had a student who was dying to be a Disney animator—Pete Mekis.  Pete lived and breathed Walt Disney.  PTI was designed to turn out graduates ready for entry positions in graphic design, not necessarily for animation careers.  Pete was dead-set on animation, though, so I told him he’d need 2 portfolios when he graduated: one for graphic design and one for animation.

One way I was able to help Pete was through a lucky circumstance.  I had a friend from art school days, Will Finn.  Will and I had attended Art Institute of Pittsburgh ‘way back when and like Pete, Will was into animation.  After graduation Will headed out west where the animation studios are.  Will always was a fantastic drawer and he got a job with Disney.  If you saw Aladdin, you’ve seen Will’s work on the parrot Iago.

Anyway, after I got in touch with Will, he generously took Pete under his wing, doling out plenty of constructive criticism and advice.  Will  gave Pete a tour of Disney Studios when he flew out there.  The crit & advice were given through typewritten letters.  Each one contained enough material for a drawing teacher to work up several lesson plans (which you can bet I did!).  Here’s a sample:

So here’s a fine example of why I love the art business.  There’s a tradition of older experienced guys helping out the newcomers for no other reason than it’s a nice thing to do.  Will continues to be generous with his wisdom over at Small Room.

And Pete wound up animating Dora the Explorer, among other projects.  Life doesn’t always go exactly as planned, but if we’re lucky we find ourselves doing what we love.

So I’m at this restaurant…

…and the guy sitting the next table over finishes his dinner.  When the waiter brings him a check, the guy says “I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay for this until you give me the recipe for everything I ate.”

The waiter says, “I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t give out recipes.  A recipe belongs to the chef.  If I gave you the recipe, you could start your own restaurant and I’d be out of a job.”

And the guy replies, “Well, I won’t pay you for this dinner then.”

Yes, okay, this story didn’t really happen—at least not in a restaurant.  The true story: an illustrator buddy of mine finished up a project recently, submitted his bill, and the client told him they require that he sign a release form (giving them sole usage and exclusive rights, etc.)…before he can get paid!

According to copyright law, you own all rights to your images until they’re transferred to another party. In my opinion it’s unethical for a business to hold your payment hostage until you surrender sole ownership of your images after the job’s finished. Usage should be agreed upon before the job starts.

Here’s the good news: a brand-spankin’ new edition of the Graphic Artists’ Guild‘s Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines (PEGs, as we professional artist-types call it) just hit the newsstands!  It is chock-full of information about how to negotiate usage of your art, what other artists are charging—it even has legal forms in the back, like sample contracts.  You get all this for the footling price of $40.00.  It’s money you’ll wish you’d spent years ago.

Why we’re not rich

For all illustrators: here’s an important article about reprographic rights. Don’t know what they are?  If you were a musician, you’d be getting a regular check from all the times your song was played on the radio or jukeboxes.

Your images are probably being reproduced without you ever seeing a nickel.

August PSInside

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