After a group photo on the steps of the Hollywood and Highland Center, the illustrator winners joined the writer winners for a discussion and videos showcasing the life and written works of contest founder L. Ron Hubbard, whose prolific publishing career included more than 200 works of fiction under multiple pen names.
Writers Workshop: Publishing Industry, Agents, and Conventions
Contributed by Kary English
On their return to the writers’ room, instructors Jody Lynn Nye and Tim Powers covered the business side of writing, discussing things like how to write a synopsis, submitting to publishers, getting an agent, working with editors, and how to read and understand contracts.
Powers and Nye also treated the writers to a lively debate about the value of attending conventions, with Nye arguing for and Powers arguing against.
After lunch, the workshop turned to the craft of writing, with a particular focus on how to start a story. With the minutes ticking by, writers watched the clock with nervous excitement. The workshop’s biggest challenge waited just ahead—the 24-hour story.
At precisely 2:00 p.m., Nye shouted, “On your mark. Get set, WRITE!”
Taking advantage of the gorgeous Los Angeles weather, two writers headed for the pool deck with their laptops in hand. A few hung back to chat, and one writer set up his laptop right in the conference room, wasting no time in getting his story started.
We’ll join the writers again at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow when they turn in their stories.
The Illustrator Workshop Begins
Contributed by Martin Shoemaker
After a break, the illustrators gathered to listen to Coordinating Judge Echo Chernik introduce herself, her career, and the business of illustration. She showed many samples of her work and discussed the production and release of each. One lesson she demonstrated repeatedly was “Promote yourself with the kind of work you’re looking for.” You might do any sort of work for fun or for pay, but you want to highlight the work you want to do for future clients.
After lunch, Echo introduced art paths/careers, discussing ways to make a living with your art. One thing she enjoys about art is that you don’t have to choose just one path at a time, or one for life. Within four major areas—commercial art, popular art and crafts, fine art, and art-related trades—she discussed multiple paths and choices for each. Then she walked them through the typical illustration process from contact to payment, along with all the complications and strategies along the way. This section included a detailed overview of a creative brief, the material the client supplies to help the artist understand what’s being contracted.
Next Echo discussed art contracts and how to protect your time, your rights, and your work. She walked through the items that should or must be part of the contract. She finished the session by discussing your artist brand and how it affects your career.
After meeting with Echo, the illustrators broke to get tuxedo fittings and sit for portraits and social media interviews, followed by dinner. They returned for an evening session with former winner Bruce Brenneise (Volume 34). Bruce talked about how his career has grown before and after his win, with special emphasis on his work in fantasy role-playing, tabletop, and collectible card games. He recommended some great learning sites including Muddy Colors, Gurney Journey, and Stapleton Kearnes. He discussed learning to network more effectively (which is a challenge for some artists), and how that was key to him finding new opportunities. Those events also helped him learn about the larger art community, including Illustrators of the Future.
Then the illustrators broke for the night, with a long day scheduled for tomorrow—including the Big Reveal of the illustrations for Volume 39!