Monday, January 25, 2010

Help the Hodges

17" x 9.5" - pencil on vellum

by Michael Spooner


Join with the National Cartoonists Association Foundation, as they seek to raise funds for Mathew Hodges, son of cartoonist Tim Hodges -- Struck by a train in August and sustaining coma inducing head trauma.

The family suffers a common issue among freelancers, limited insurance.

"Being self-employed, the Hodge family has short term medical insurance that will not fully cover all of their bills. Additionally, with the care they are giving Matt, full-time work is not possible for Tim right now. This loving family is relying on their faith and the love of family and friends for their survival. This is a tragic accident that will forever affect their lives as the road to recovery for Matt may be a long one.

In an effort to help the Hodge family, the National Cartoonists Society Foundation is getting involved by hosting a fund-raising auction to be held on eBay. The NCSF is a fully licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that not only helps fund educational endeavors for cartooning, but is there to help cartoonists in dire circumstances like the Hodges."

Go to Help the Hodges ( ) to bid on one-of-a-kind art from Disney, Peanuts, Hana Barbara and many, many others - all proceeds going to help defer Matt's mounting bills.

It's tough all around, and it's nice to see an artists association pulling together like this.

Friday, January 22, 2010

ICofDC Member: Kevin McFadin

Kevin McFadin, digital illustration

Kevin McFadin


Describe your illustration style.

A mixture of found imagery, photos, traditional/hand-drawn elements, and whatever might be in the bottom drawer (if it works!)

What is your main medium?


What is your illustration workspace like?

I'm tucked nicely into the corner of the shop of Fan Works Design. Right next to my stacks of books of reference to inspiration is usually a tumbling stack of CDs, and now a turntable. And a very ancient dog, Cracker, who acts as shadow and unconditional and unwilling audience.


I share the studio with my partner Dawn Ripple McFadin who provides not only guidance, a boot when I need it, but also is an invaluable sounding board. We're located in the Fan in Richmond so if it gets too frenetic in the shop, we can easily take a stroll and escape to a myriad of distractions to clean the engines.

Describe your typical work flow.

I always start with the tried and true thumbnail sketch. One of my illustration teachers back in the day always stressed the importance of those thumbnail sketches. He was fond of doing tiny, tiny thumbnails: "That way your problem is only a few inches big." I then start amassing as much material as I can, be it photos, take photos, hand-drawn elements, textures, object/images to scan, etc … More often than not I throw in much more than I initially intended or will need, so much of the process is actually editing. I start paring things down to what is needed and what works, always very mindful of the happy accidents that happen along the way.

Who was your first illustration hero?

Brad Holland. I was always drawn to heavily editorial work and his work fit the bill perfectly, albeit with an edge and strangeness that I found compelling. At the time I was focusing on painting and his technique and style hit me right between the eyes.

Digital Illustration by Kevin McFadin

What is your favorite category of illustration and why?

I'm still drawn to editorial work. I'm sure much of that is a hold over from working as a newspaper staff illustrator/designer back in the day. But even as my own work got more open to interpretation and "textural" to a certain degree, content was always there, not far behind.

Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?

Funny you should ask: more editorial. Much of the illustration work that I do for Fan Works Design has to cover a broad range of treatments for a variety of clients, but when it's a focused effort on illustration as the final product it's coming full circle back to leaning heavily on the editorial side of things. I recently finished two pieces for the Wall Street Journal which brought me full circle back into the arms of newspapers.

note: one image attached is from the Journal pieces

What do you do to promote your work?

I'm listed with the IC, keep abreast of the doings of the Richmond Illustrators Club, theispot, IllustrationMundo, exploring some advertising options since that is always in flux, I have a site that focuses on my illustration work only (with the requisite blog), Facebook for myself and Fan Works, occasional tweets into the ether, email announcements/news to existing and potential clients and am looking into getting back into good old fashioned USPS mailings. And tried and true word of mouth …letting people know what I do and what I can do.

What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?

Develop your aesthetic. And I don't mean strictly your work: everyone has their own aesthetic, who they are drawn to, what they are drawn to, etc … be it their illustration work, what they read, what they watch, the music they get into …polish it up, keep it living. It's yours and if you work at getting it up to speed it starts taking care of itself {and at times thinking for itself} and feeding right back into itself, and you.

Be sure to check Kevin's portfolio at the IC of DC website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ICofDC Member: Holly Camp

Holly Camp's Illustration, Druncktopus

Holly Camp


online store:

Describe your illustration style.

I like to sit with my painting about 4 inches from my face, so my work is generally very detailed. I use lots of tiny lines and dots to communicate something larger, and counteract that with organic shapes and splatters. I think this style creates artwork visually appropriate for a variety of ages – from child to adult – but I like to carry in themes that cater to a mature audience. I find these balances – tight and detailed vs. organic, light-hearted visual vs. heavier message – to be the main elements at the base of an interesting illustration.

What is your main medium?

I love acrylic paint, watered down to something similar to watercolors. I'll layer that with ink and even a little color pencil to hit some brightly colored pops.

What is your illustration workspace like?

Because my paint is applied in a series of very watery washes, I have worked in what basically amounts to a little ball on the floor for years. Within the past month I moved a drafting table into my studio – I'm pretty sure it's about time I graduated from the floor.

Describe your typical work flow.

I begin by filling my sketchbook with lists and little sketches. After client approval, I create the final illustration by layering pencil, ink, a watered-down acrylic concoction, more ink, and then colored pencil. I'll scan that in and use a bit of Photoshop for color correction. Repeat.

Who was your first illustration hero?

I was immediately inspired the first time I saw the work of Lisbeth Zwerger. Her illustrations are playful enough for fairy tales, but with undertones that are ominous enough to intrigue the viewer. To me, it captured the essence of illustration and its purpose as a narrative art form that can't be achieved any other way. I see the tension between these beautiful images that she creates and the darker subject matter within them as the inspiration for what I'm striving towards.

What is your favorite category of illustration and why?

I respond to children's book imagery that is smart and treats its audience accordingly. There is work out there that achieves this by stepping outside of what one expects for the younger viewer, and that is what excites me and what I work towards myself.

Holly Camp's Illustration, Oldest

Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?

Over the past two years, I have found myself focusing on illustrations for a line of greeting cards I created called Holly Camp Cards. Most of the cards are animal based, and it really appeals to me that, under the guise of brightening peoples' day, I can design little sad-faced creatures. I definitely enjoy the unexpectedness of greeting cards that aren't always brimming with the typical sunny sentiment.

What do you do to promote your work?

What do you do to promote your work? To promote my editorial work, I have sent out postcards with my images to art directors, visited their offices for face-to-face interviews, and other forms of various harassment. For my greeting card line, the independent craft shows I participate in provide the opportunity to chat with customers about my work and place a tangible product in their hands. I also created a Faceboook page for the cards, which has been a very successful tool for increasing exposure.

What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?

Work hard and don't sleep. Be persistent. Look at everything.

Be sure to check Holly's portfolio at the IC of DC website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Seasons Exhibition at Montgomery College

Hi Everyone,

Make sure to go see "Seasons, In Time and Space" at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus at the Communication Arts Technologies Gallery.

"Seasons" will run from January 25 - February 26, 2010 with a special Gallery Talk on Wednesday, February 10 from noon - 1 p.m.

Many of the artists on exhibit are members of the Illustrators Club and the show is always beautifully displayed at Montgomery College's wonderful gallery.

For more information about the show and Gallery hours, please call 240-567-7521

Hope to see you there!

—David Labrozzi

Members Show opening this Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hi Everyone,

A quick reminder to mark your calendars for the 8th Illustrators Club Members Exhibition.

The opening will be between 6-8 p.m. this Thursday, January 14 at the Art Institute of Washington's Rosslyn Campus Gallery.
The Art Institute is at 1820 North Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA 22209 and is accessible by Metro on the orange and blue lines (Rosslyn stop).

If you miss the opening, not to worry. You can see the show all this month; January 10-February 7, at the Art Institute.
Gallery hours are:
Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
(Sunday and Holidays the gallery is closed)
You can always call the Art Institute in advance at 703-358-9550

This years postcard features the fantastic artwork of member, Ashby North.

Make sure to make it out to see the show.
And remember to tell everyone what you saw.

— David Labrozzi

Monday, January 11, 2010

ICofDC Member: Jim Starr

Jim Starr, Back Bay Bridge Illustration

Jim Starr


Describe your illustration style.

I enjoy working in a variety of media and in different styles, so it's difficult to describe my specific style. Scratchboard, pen and ink, woodcut, graphic, airbrush, oil painting, pastel, collage are some of the various media I use that will eventually end up as my digital illustration. My work ranges from corporate/conservative to whimsical/comical, and anything in between. To help a client choose an appropriate style for their project, my website has a search by style or subject.

What is your main medium?

Whatever I'm working on at the moment.

What is your illustration workspace like?

It's small, but efficient. I've crammed every square inch of my 10x15 studio with computer equipment, tv, stereo, large drawing table, big metal flat file, and bookshelf, along with the washing machine and dryer. Taped up like wallpaper are print outs of recent work, that hang on my roof line slanted ceiling until they either get bleached out or fall off. My floor often is the repository of finished jobs that need to be put away or current assignments that have no place besides a meager taboret. Spread throughout the house are my reference books and picture files. The trade off for lack of space at home is being able to step outside and enjoy a run with our dog in the rural countryside.

Describe your typical work flow.

I may be found working part of the day sketching on paper, doing an intricate scratch board illustration, working with bold vector graphics in Adobe Illustrator,airbrushing in Photoshop, or painting a pastel in Corel Painter. Working in different techniques keeps me fresh, and excited about my work. I've found it an advantage to be able to work in the technique that best fits the project.

Who was your first illustration hero?

I fell in love with the Golden Era of Illustration, so I'd say N.C. Wyeth.

Jim Starr, multiple styles of Illustration

Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?

I continue to try on current trends and styles to challenge myself and expand my repertoire, but when called upon to work in one of my traditional techniques, I challenge myself to better myself or add a new twist. So, I never am feeling bored or stagnant. I see myself as a work in progress that will never cease.

What do you do to promote your work?

What do you do to promote your work? I advertise in the Directory of Illustration, , , and . I'm also represented by American Artists, and . Membership in the Illustrators Club of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia has been a valuable promotional and networking tool for me.

What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?

Get as much practical experience in the field with a full time position to start out, and set a goal to eventually be a self-sufficient freelancer. I'd recommend taking courses in art school to include graphic design, web design, animation, and 3d to broaden your skills.

Be sure to check Jim's portfolio at the IC of DC website.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Taking a Stroll Down Wall Street … with the Journal

Kevin McFadin recently finished up these pieces recently for the Wall Street Journal
{article here} to accompany an article on the ever-fashionable realm of conspiracy theories.

"Back in the day I had a run at newspapers in California, Maine and Pennsylvania as an illustrator/page designer, so it was a definite blast from the past," Kevin says. "It was a great experience to revisit that world after a substantial hiatus and to collaborate on a project so heavily editorial. I was really pleased with how the finals came together and the amount of freedom the Wall Street Journal gave me to reach the solutions. But more importantly, the Journal was very happy with the outcomes. All way around, an immensely satisfying assignment. I hope I get the opportunity to fire up the pistons on more exchanges like this one."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ICofDC Member: Peggy Fussell

A new feature on the IC of DC blog is a bit of "get to know you" for the benefit of other members, and the interested public. We hope you enjoy the feature, and please visit the linked sites, blogs and referenced items - Perhaps you may like to ask your own question.

Countess, by Peggy Fussell

Peggy Fussell



Describe your illustration style.

My style combines swirly bold line with subtle color. I love drawing people, gardens and maps. I also enjoy creating lettering.

What is your main medium?


What is your illustration workspace like?

My studio feels like a tree house and is filled with a variety of fun art supplies, sea shells, rocks, awe inspiring kid’s art, pine cones, buttons, and other unusual found objects and silly ephemera from my youth. The studio itself is very small, so small that a realtor couldn't legally list it as a bedroom, but it opens out onto a second floor screened in porch that is perfect for drawing, painting or anything that necessitates ventilation. I am, therefore, acutely aware of the weather. Inside I have a 1940s architect's oak drafting table that I bought for $25 dollars in Texas. It pretty much takes up the whole room.

Describe your typical work flow.

I love research!! That's where I start. I sketch in my sketchbook for rough ideas/concepts. I try to always sketch from life. Sometimes, especially if I am drawing plants or people, I will also bring my camera and photograph my subjects from various angles. After I've narrowed down to a few concepts I move to tracing paper to clarify ideas and refine/stylize drawings for presentation. After client approval of sketches I scan them and create lines in Illustrator. I use a Wacom tablet for pressure sensitivity. Then I find and/or create textures, I've got drawers of painted squares, papers and fabric. Finally, I scan the textures and composite them with the line in Photoshop.

Who was your first illustration hero?

Ludwig Bemelmans. I adored his Madeline books when I was little. Those twelve little girls in two straight lines were just so darn cute! After reading the first one I could never again see a crack in a ceiling or sidewalk and not imagine it to be something magical.

I also had/have a thing for cookbook illustrations from the 40s and 50s. One of my prized possessions is Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two illustrated by Charley Harper.

Tree Baltimore, by Peggy Fussell

Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?

I've been adding more texture to my work by scanning fabrics, plants and painted surfaces. I've also recently been hired to create a few portraits. I'd like to do more of them!

What do you do to promote your work?

I advertise on and have an ad in the current issue of FPO magazine. I post to the blog Sugar Frosted Goodness and I'm listed on Folioplanet, Illustration Mundo and Jacket Flap. I blog and have a website. I tweet on occasion. I also send out postcards (but not as often as I should) And, of course, I am a member of IC!

What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?

Draw a lot, draw what you love. Get to know your clients and let them get to know you.

Be sure to check Peggy's portfolio at the IC of DC website.