Announcing The Official “March Is Sketchbook Month” Blog!

Wow, I am totally overwhelmed by the response this little idea of mine is getting. I decided to declare March to be Sketchbook Month. I’ve committed to sketching something in my sketchbook every weekday in March and posting it on my blog. A lot of my artist friends liked the idea and have decided to join in. The first day of Sketchbook Month isn’t even over yet and already about a dozen talented artists have sent me their first sketches, with many more expressing a desire to contribute.

In order to keep things manageable I’ve decided to give Sketchbook Month it’s very own blog:

http://sketchbookmonth.wordpress.com/

March Is Sketchbook Month-Blog

Here’s how it works…

Anyone can take part as long as you commit to creating at least one new sketch every weekday during the month of March (yup, you can have weekends off or use that time to make up for missed sketches during the week). You can jump in at any time but everything shuts down after March 31 so the sooner you get on board the better.

To join simply post your first sketch online (i.e. your blog, flickr page, etc.) and then email the link to sketches@cedricstudio.com. Every day or two I’ll update the Sketchbook Month blog with everyone’s new artwork along with a link back to your page. Unfortunately I won’t have time to check in on everyone to see if you’ve posted anything new so each time you post new artwork you’ll have to email me again. Otherwise your work won’t make it onto the blog.

More rules and info are posted on the Sketchbook Month blog. It’s still “under construction” with tweaks being made but the basic info and first few sketches have already gone live. There’s even an RSS feed if you’d like to follow the blog that way.

Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them. Or you can email sketches@cedricstudio.com.

Thanks again to everyone for your interest. Happy sketching!

Sketchbook Month: Day 1

Here we go! To kick off Sketchbook Month I thought I’d push myself to do a little study of human anatomy. I found this muscle pose on the internet (should have bookmarked it—for the life of me I can’t find it now to link to it). I’m not nearly as familiar with the anatomy of the human back as I am the front. I basically faked my way through the shoulder blade area and backs of the thighs by studying the light and shadow in the photo. If you asked me to describe what was going on underneath the skin in those areas I couldn’t really tell you. Guess I need to beef up on that (pun intended).

I’ve been getting an overwhelming response to the idea of Sketchbook Month. I’m in the process of building a separate web area to house all the submissions (UPDATE: Check out the official Sketcbook Month blog). We are only a few hours into sketchbook month but already I received some sketches with pledges of art to come from a long list of artist friends who’ve emailed saying “Count me in!” Here’ the links so far:

Chris Kennett

Tom Bancroft

Chris Browne

Bucky Jones

Michael Jantze

Dan Johnson

Tim Hodge

Josh Cleland

Nick Sena

Craig

Kelly McNutt

It’s not too late to join in! Just post your link in the comments and I’ll add it to the site later. Find out more at the Sketchbook Month blog.

Poll Results

Two days ago I posed a curious question: Are the offspring of artistic men more likely to be boys or girls? Most of the artists I know who are parents (myself included) have all girls or mostly girls, and that seemed a little odd to me.

So far thirty of you have taken my informal survey. The results are below. Assuming everyone followed the rules (you must be male, consider yourself very artistic, and have fathered at least one child), your answers seem to support my crazy little theory:

graph2

The total number of children reported so far adds up to 60, or an average of two per artist. Of those kids, 36 are female and only 24 are male. That’s an even 60/40 split (60% girls, 40% boys), or, looked at another way, there are 1-1/2 times more girls than boys. Actually I half-expected there to be an even heavier girl-to-boy ratio, but it’s still interesting that things seem to lean that way.

It’s also worth noting that one respondent had three girls and two more respondents each had four girls, but of all thirty respondents nobody had more than two boys. Of course, those three respondents had a total of eleven girls so you could argue they skewed the results (without them the number of girls and boys would be almost even). I guess it’s all in how you look at it.

Despite the spanky-looking chart none of this is even remotely scientific. This is the internet, not MIT. I majored in art for crying out loud. Still, it’s kinda interesting. Not sure what it means (if anything), so feel free to leave any comments if you have any theories, observations, or one-liners.

I’ll leave the poll open in case more of you want to take part, and if the results change significantly one way or another I’ll be sure to post an update. Thanks to everyone who helped out in this goofy little experiment.

This and That: Thanksgiving Edition

Freelance work has slowed down this week due to the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. With Wednesday and Friday being travel days it becomes essentially a five-day weekend for a lot of my clients. Deadlines get pushed back accordingly. I’ve been using the lull in my schedule to tackle a mountain of paperwork and emails that have piled up while I was working frantically to meet deadlines. The bad news is I’ve been so busy tunneling through papers that I’ve barely drawn anything in the last week. The good news is I can see the surface of my desk again.

Some misc. notes of interest:

I now take Visa. Time for an experiment: I’m in the process of setting up a system that will allow my clients to pay by credit card. It will cost me a bit in bank fees but it will make me look more professional and hopefully it means some clients will pay me faster. More importantly, it will make my life easier for my clients as many of them will be happy to use their corporate cards so they can get to their rewards faster (frequent flier miles, etc.)—or so I’m told. It will also help make things easier when receiving payments from clients in other countries (it’s rare but I do get work overseas). We’ll see how it all goes.

Check out this art blog – Albert Pardo is a terrific cartoonist and Flash animator. I just stumbled upon his blog and I love his stuff. Give it a looksee: http://bigalrock.blogspot.com

Time Life Photo Archives – Time Life, in conjuntion with Google, has posted a gigantic library of old photos from their archives. Some go all the way back to the late 19th century. Many have never before been published. Great info for history buffs or for artists looking for period characters and costumes to sketch.

kubertbooks

New Joe Kubert Books – This looks pretty cool. Joe Kubert, the famed comic book artist and instructor, has a book coming out in January called How To Draw From Life (Amazon.com link). Should be pretty amazing. Kubert buffs might also be interested in the new biography Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert by Bill Schelly (Amazon.com link).

Happy Thanksgiving! Here in America we have a holiday where we pause to give thanks to God for all of our many blessings. Among other things I’m grateful for a terrific job, a loving family, and an incredible wife. Most importantly I’m thankful that Jesus gave himself to die innocently on the cross for my many, many sins so that I could be forgiven.

May your life be truly blessed, and may you find many things to be thankful for!

More Pixar: Spline Doctors, “Presto”

Following up on my last post, here’s two more inspiring links related to Pixar:

The first is a Presto, the new animated short that is shown before Wall•E in the theaters and will no doubt be included on the DVD. It’s a zany little film animated in a style inspired by the classic Warner Brothers shorts. It’s much broader and zippier than Pixar’s usual offerings. You can now download it from iTunes for only $1.99.

The second is a terrific blog-slash-podcast from Pixar. The blog, Spline Doctors (link), is labor of love from several of the artists and animators at Pixar. The posts are full of great insights on animation.  SplineCast is an accompanying podcast featuring interviews and roundtable discussions with creative folks at Pixar. There haven’t been any new episodes in a while so I don’t know if SplineCast has run its course or not, but there are several great episodes you can listen to for free either on the blog (link) or through iTunes (link). Fun stuff to have on in the background while you toil away at your drawing board.

Ask Mr. Artist Guy: Why Have A Blog?

Designer/illustrator Clay Cantrell writes:

“How important do you feel a blog is as a part of an overall business model for a freelance visual artist? Does it make good business sense, or do you think that only other artists read them, as opposed to potential or current clients?”

This is an excellent question, one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My blog has been something of an experiment, and frankly I’m still undecided as to whether or not a blog is a worthwhile way to promote myself and my work.

I started getting serious about my blog in July ’07, posting five times a week and making efforts to publicize my blog on other websites. My readership has steadily grown; I currently average about 700-800 page views every weekday, and I’m very flattered that so many people are interested in what I have to say. I suspect most of my readers are other artists who will never hire me, but I know for a fact that at least a few are art directors or past clients who have a serious interest in me and my work.

Nevertheless, from a purely financial standpoint my blog so far has been a bit of a disappointment. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. But then again, I’ve only been working at it seriously for about eight months. Everything I’ve read about blogging describes it as a very slow and gradual build towards success. Blogging is not for the get-rich-quick crowd. So I’m planning to hang in there a while longer and see what happens.

I’ve read about freelancers who started a blog and before they knew it job offers from readers were pouring in (this is more common among freelance writers than artists, which makes sense). While I’d love to say that I’m one of them, that has not been my experience. I can count on two fingers the number of job offers I’ve received in the last six months as a direct result of my blog. One fell through, the other was actually a writing gig for which I made decent money. Continue reading