comic-con portfolio and Resistance

this is what the studio looks like at the moment. well, not at this moment, as these were taken last night.

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i've been avoiding preparing for comic-con in the world's worst way. don't get me wrong -- comic con's a fantastic place to go if you're a geek and a fan and in the mood for the sheer spectacle of the geek tribe in its full glory for five days. while i'm most definitely a geek, i'm also an artist, and so it becomes an opportunity to get paying work. that's the stressful part.

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it's like the worst date ever, or maybe like an actor's audition. or like a job interview. it's all of those things; the butterflies in the stomach you get from an interview, and the highly personal rejection of a bad date, and being able to see the other candidates for the job that you see at an audition, all together. having to be extroverted and on for that long is hard for me to do. when i'm relaxed and with my friends, i can be funny and charming and witty. when showing my work to an art director, it takes every ounce of self-discipline i have to just keep myself in the chair or standing next to them.

at those moments, i think i would rather die than stand there any longer as someone else looks over my art and gives their opinion. some years at comic-con, i got really excited because i thought my work might get picked up, and i was naïve enough to think that the vague encouragement at the portfolio review tables meant something. other years, i got some brutal criticism, and it was all i could do to hold it together and be professional. last year, i gave up, and focused on showing my portfolio to people who i knew were going to give constructive criticism and not just tear my work apart because they were tired, or sick of looking at bad art, or had to prove that they were in positions of power and enjoying it.

this year, i'm going to see what happens. depending on who's at the portfolio review tables, i might show my work there -- or i might be just wandering around the main convention hall booths, seeing who i can find to show it to. i'd wanted to get a booth of my own in artists' alley, but that fell through. note to self: never make any plans that require anyone else's participation to succeed. you'd think i'd have learned that from all the horrid cooperative learning projects assigned in junior high and high school, but apparently not.

i was secretly relieved when i heard the rumor that comic-con was sold out. that would have meant that i could continue to procrastinate on showing my work to art directors, and have been off the hook and guilt-free! but i forced myself to go check their website and buy my ticket for saturday, anyway.

after some well-deserved berating from friends on tuesday night for not being able to get my act together with my portfolio, i decided that they were right and that i needed to suck it up and Just Do It. i've been letting Resistance kick my ass with my personal art and illustration, mainly because work at Saltmine U. has been so horribly busy, and it's often been all i can do to make myself exercise and eat a healthy meal when i get home. in order to beat Resistance, i need to be on top of my game, focused, and rested. the second some external thing in my life catches on fire, i triage, and often my own art suffers. if i can make it down to the studio on saturdays, that's a major triumph, to just show up.

i spent a lot of yesterday working on getting Gallery installed on my website, which required a few phone calls and support tickets with speakeasy, and learning some SQL, and about… oh… six hours of work. but hey, now it's working and functional, and i am adding things to it as i write this post. i need to wade through the documentation to figure out how to incorporate the gallery into the rest of my website, and somehow tie this blog into it all, too.

so why is my studio a mess?

well, i screwed myself to the sticking point last night and hauled out all the canvases from the last 18 months of painting class, to see if there's anything worth including in my portfolio this year. i divided them into two categories: "Dreadful" and "Doesn't Suck."

the Dreadful category:

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this category's full of color theory exercises, badly-proportioned figures, badly-rendered figures, and paintings where i failed the saving throw v. chemistry -- technical failures of the paint.

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the latest bastard color wheel, all on its own. this is in no category, except that of Bastard Color Wheels.

now, the Doesn't Suck category:
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these paintings are either good enough as they are, or could be redeemed with minor work, or are actually something that an art director at comic-con might want to see. i haven't scanned or shot most of these, which says a lot about the backlog of photo-taking i need to do.

and because it was there, the current painting, in its blue underpainting stage where it looks like not much at all:
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it's hard to tell, unless you're familiar with my studio and that table easel, but the canvas is huger than anything i've ever done before (24 x 30). i'm completely out of ultramarine blue, now. i'm supposed to finish this on saturday afternoon, but i am not confident i can work both fast and well enough to get so much surface area done in only three hours.

we'll see. worrying about finishing the current painting is much easier than focusing on what i need to do, which is to get my portfolio done.