Illustration for Great River Energy Kid’s Club

Artwork copyright © Great River Energy. All rights reserved.

Artwork copyright © Great River Energy. All rights reserved.

Artwork copyright © Great River Energy. All rights reserved.

Artwork copyright © Great River Energy. All rights reserved.

A few weeks ago I was hired by a local agency to create some artwork for a new interactive website for Great River Energy, a Minnesota company that provides electricity to a large part of the state. The site is promoting their “Brighter Kid’s Club” campaign designed to help kids learn about saving energy.

I was asked to draw the exterior and interior of what the client described as “the coolest tree house ever”. They provided me with some rough thumbnails and a long list of specific items that had to be included in the artwork. The ideas was to create a fun little interactive clubhouse that could be enjoyed by both boys and girls. I created all the elements as vector art in Illustrator and then handed them over to the agency. From there there they inserted additional elements (posters on the walls, for example) and added some simple animation to make everything come alive.

It was really a tag-team effort, and in the end it turned out quite nice. You can view the actual site here.

2-Part Character Design Seminar

motion09SpeakerBadgeJust a reminder that I’ll be giving a 2-part seminar on character design at the Motion ’09 animation conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 11-14. It’s a real honor. Last year’s conference was packed with great speakers and seminars and this year the conference has even more to offer.

I’ll be part of a new “late night” session, speaking on Monday and Tuesday from 10:15pm-11:30pm. So if you attend be sure to bring your favorite caffeinated beverage!

Here’s the description of my seminar from the conference website:

Part 1: Principles, Personality, and Appeal

The job of Character Designer is one of the most sought-after – and most important positions in the animation industry.

In this session we’ll examine the fundamentals of good character design. We’ll look at some do’s and don’ts and discuss tips and tricks to help you create engaging characters with personality and appeal. We’ll walk through some helpful exercises to develop your skills as a character designer and point you towards some resources for further study.

Part 2: Putting It Into Practice

In the second part of this two part series, we’ll walk through the process of creating a character from concept to final design, including model sheets and turnarounds. We’ll also take a look at some of the industries that use freelance character designers including film, TV, advertising, video games, and toys. Get first-hand advice on breaking into those industries based on the Hohnstadt’s personal experience as a freelancer.

You can sign up for the conference at the Motion ’09 website.

Oh, and to whet your appetite here’s a quick YouTube slideshow displaying some of my character design work:

Resources From The Creative Freelancing Conference

So, you’ve read my recap of the 2009 Creative Freelancer Conference and now you’re bummed that you missed out? Don’t worry, I’m here to help!

The Free Stuff

The conference organizers have posted a ton of free downloads and resources over at their website. Check it out!

The Not-So-Free Stuff

In a few weeks the audio from the conference seminars will be available for purchase. Keep an eye on my blog for the link. In the mean time, you can still purchase .mp3’s, session handouts, and powerpoint presentations from the 2008 conference here.

Several books were also available for purchase at the conference. Here’s the Amazon.com links:

The Designer’s Guide To Marketing And Pricing by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top

The Anti 9-to-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman

My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman

Self-employed Tax Solutions by June Walker

Finally, while you are waiting for next year’s conference be sure to follow the CFC blog. And don’t forget to sign up for future updates on the 2010 conference.

Creative Freelancer Conference Recap

Last week I attended the second annual Creative Freelancer Conference in San Diego. The goal of the conference is to help creative freelancers (i.e. illustrators, designers, writers, photographers, etc.) to improve their business skills, get better clients, and increase their income.

We artsy types aren’t exactly known for our business saavy. One thing you definitely won’t learn in art school is how to market yourself. Or write a proposal. Or network, talk to clients about money, etc. This conference fills a huge need. Each time I’ve attended I’ve walked away inspired and ready to take my career to the next level.

It was also great just to spend a few days with other people who get what it is that I do for a living. Who have the same experiences, the same problems, and we can talk shop without the other person’s eyes glazing over. Freelancing can be lonely at times so I really relish any chance I get to hobnob with my fellow freelancers.
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Conference Recap Coming Soon

I had a blast last week at the Creative Freelancer Conference in San Diego. My head is still spinning from all the great tips, tricks, and inspiring info that was served up. Can’t wait to post about it here. I’ve been swamped with all the emails and client work that piled up while I was gone, but I hope to have something posted in the next day or two. Stay tuned!