ICON:8

ICON is over and I’m sorry to see it go. But I’m also glad to have my life back. It’s lovely to be in a room full of illustrators, because you know that by and large you are in a room with somewhat awkward introverts who excel at being outgoing and friendly when the need arises (how else would they get work?) but who would really on the whole prefer to be left alone.

I’m still on the high of being with so many like-minded people. I have a pile of postcards and business cards on either side of my laptop that I am going through, slowly, as I get lost in people’s websites, blown away at the level of excellence everyone is nonchalantly making under my very nose.

UNSORTED ICON:8 THOUGHTS

– Lovely to hear from the different disciplines of illustration. We had the obvious rockstars: Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, but we also had surface designers, editorial heavyweights, picture book makers, and war correspondents. We had borderliners who work more with fine art these days. We had people who have been in the business for over thirty years, and we had folks that have just got started. We had art directors, art directors who used to be illustrators, curators, and above all, fans. I think everyone in the room was just jazzed to be with other creatives.

– In future I need to bring a skinny sharpie and make notes on people’s cards to remind myself what we talked about, or even make a quick sketch of what their face looked like. Certain key players were not a problem, but I have a whole pile of things that were given to me that I want to honor, but some of them I just can’t quite place. Did we meet at the Roadshow? Were they at lunch with that huge group?

– Speaking of the Roadshow: should I table in the future, a reminder: bring about 75% less stock and about 200% more business cards. Because it does not look good to run out of business cards with an hour and a half to go of an event whose entire purpose is to give away business cards.

– I wowed the socks off a gentleman with my little homemade painting kit. Don Kilpatrick, if you’re out there: I was’t kidding, please steal that idea. It’s very easy and beats paying money for a kit filled with colors you don’t need.

– I danced so hard at the final party I got blisters on my feet.

– I met almost everyone on my “best case scenario” list. I met lots and lots of other amazing people to boot. And I have more connecting to do, if these piles of cards are any indication.

The second weekend of July

I’m missing my usual gig as volunteer recycler Oregon Country Fair (a hippie fair, not a farm show) to come to ICON:8 this year, and while it is the obvious professional choice it was not a choice made lightly. I love those silly muppets, and you can’t beat camping in the woods for a week. Happily, there are a lot of unexpected similarities I have been noticing.

WAYS IN WHICH ICON:8 IS LIKE THE OREGON COUNTRY FAIR

– The stunning, unannounced appearance of a wildly costumed marching band. (We got LoveBomb Go-Go, as the Marching Forth Marching Band was doubtless tied up at the ‘Fair. Also, I don’t think they would have fit in the room.)

– People dressed their best, their tip-top to impress. And also a lot of regular people dressed normally. 

– Meeting tons of fascinating, incredible people whose names I have immediately forgotten, so that I will have to go and re-introduce myself here in the coming days. (The difference here is that I have a stack of promo swag to sift through.)

– Experiencing obnoxious, unstoppable allergies.

– Reconnecting with people I sort of know through the internet, getting to REALLY know them. And meeting their friends and pretending like we are already friends.

There was a great moment last night when Laura Bifano, me, and Meg Hunt were furiously taking sketch-notes at the opening ceremonies, each in our different ways.
There was a great moment last night when Laura Bifano, me, and Meg Hunt were furiously taking sketch-notes at the opening ceremonies, each in our different ways.

– I’ve had more to drink in the last few days than I think have all month. 

– Understanding that the point of the whole event is to be open, outgoing and social, yet craving solitude.

– Being completely exhausted, sore and drained, yet eager each day to go back for more.