Monday, March 26, 2012

Phobophobia & Besla

One year ago, it had been 8 months since I moved back home. I had a studio and was busy with work, but felt a little lonely in my own little illustration world. I suddenly got the feeling I needed to find the rest of the herd, the illustrator herd. I went to a few Design March events that year and loved it, got very inspired, but again I felt very isolated in my profession. I know it is a lonely job being an artist, but I decided at the moment when I walked out of an event full of architects, product -, clothing- and graphic-designers etc. that I'd find the few souls out there called illustrators. And I decided that next Design March we would have an illustration exhibition.

And I'll be damned, it happened!!! One year later these few souls, (33 to be exact) from around the country and the world got together and created a show called Phobophobia. We now usually meet for coffee once a month and on one of those meet-ups we decided how we'd have the show, chose the structure and the theme. Every illustrator chose a phobia to illustrate in a poster. You can read more about the show here. It worked out so great, we got great publicity and so many people came to the opening, even the president!

Pedeophobia - Linda Olafsdottir

My Phobia was Pedeophobia (I know, the name of it sounds horrible!) but it is the fear of dolls. It shows a poor old man that tries to survive the night in his granddaughters room. The inspiration for it came from when I lived in San Francisco where my parents and mother in law had to spend the nights surrounded with toy cars and posters of Ferrari's when they came to visit (you better not have the fear of cars when sleeping in my son's room)!

You can see more works from the show here.

I also participated in a show called Flétta or Braid. It showed works from a collaboration between designers in different fields. I worked with my friend and studio mate, the clothing- and textile designer Brynja Emils. She designed clothes for babies and I made the pattern. I can't tell you how exciting it was for us to get the prototypes from India where the clothes are made, and to see and feel the real product. They are oh so soft and the colors are so pretty. I can't wait to see where Brynja takes her new line of children's clothing, it's off to a great start I think :)

Besla - Models Iðunn and Marínó

Friday, March 9, 2012


View from my studio this morning

It's been way to long since my last blog post. I've been crazy busy since I came home from NY and have been working on illustrating for books, educational material for the web and for a TV ad. So, not busy bad but busy good! Also I'm preparing for Design March which takes place in Reykjavík March 22nd - 25th. I'm participating on two shows and am really looking forward to it. I'll post some more info on that soon.

I've been meaning to blog about my SCBWI conference experience, and finally now I get to it. What fun it was! There were eleven hundred conference guests from 19 countries attending, one of them was from Iceland. And somehow, most everyone at the conference knew who that Icelandic lady was (maybe it's because she couldn't help but yelling "yeah, woohoo" when the first speaker read the list of countries at the conference, or maybe it was the orange dress, or a bit of both...)

I signed up for the illustrators intensive, which focused on marketing for illustrators. It started of with the illustrator speakers John Rocco (who had just won the Caldecott for his beautiful book Blackout), the very funny Dan Santat, my new idol Sophie Blackall and the brilliant Dan Yaccarino. All have had great success and have such beautiful work. Later in the day we had a panel discussions from publishing experts. All so helpful, encouraging, intimidating and motivating at the same time.

What stood out for me after that day regarding marketing myself is basically:
Have a presence! You have be present out there, and with the world constantly getting smaller with all the social media, you have to take advantage of that. Use it to promote yourself and show people who you are. It doesn't matter where you live, everyone has the opportunity to show themselves to the world. And how happy that makes me to hear that I can live happily on this windy little island in the North Atlantic and pretend that I'm working in NY (see image at top, I have on "skyscraper to look at!)

So what's so important to have is:
- A Website
- A Blog
- Be active and give people the reason to come back to your website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Flickr
- Participate in blogs such as Illustration Friday

- Get in contact with your local bookstores and libraries

- Connect with your peers
- Be sincere and focused
- Be an advocate for your work!

Panel Discussion lead by Art Director Laurent Linn (Simon & Shuster). The Bookmakers Dozen Illustrators; Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown, Brian Floca, David Gordon, Brett Helquist, Aileen Leijten, John Bemelmans Marciano, Sean Qualls, John Rocco, Sergio Ruzzier and Dan Yaccarino.

What I found a lot of speakers talked about was that the local bookstores are growing. Which is just wonderful news I think! And it's so important for all of us to support them. They also talked about that the book lists coming down, but that hardcovers are now selling better than paperbacks. Last year was a good year in children's books, and the e-book is just an addition to the market. People are generally not worried that it'll in any way change the tradition of reaching for a book on the shelve to read for your child. Phew! I think the e-book market is so exciting, it's new to everyone, so now is the chance to jump in and learn all about it.

The co-founder of SCBWI, Lin Oliver gave such a wonderful speech with the best words of advice:
- Your content should touch the heart, the soul and the funny bone of your audience.
- Stick with your network, keep going, get feedback, reach for advice.

- Stay strong
- Have fun!

I also attended workshops for e-books and apps with Ruben Pfeffer, on 'How To Make Your Picture Book Stand Out' with Martha Rago (Harpercollins) and a very helpful and spot on presentation from Cathy Goldsmith (Random House) on how to work with publishers. She has such a great career and was the last art director to work with Dr. Seuss (how cool is that?!).

This blog post would be soooo long (if it's not long enough already) if I wrote about everything I learned and was inspired by, but what stays with me is:
Work hard, believe in yourself, connect with peers, accept that rejections always suck! And I so strongly believe if you really, really want something and if your work hard enough to get it, it'll happen, for sure! It's a struggle and putting yourself out there is hard. You can get a hundred compliments and one bad critique makes you forget all the good feedback. It's a roller coaster and I'm so thankful to be on it :)

Left; Me in heaven in Barnes & Noble's Children's Book Section (with a double Cappuccino) / Right; Our good friend the artist Curver and my husband/lover Eggert.

That NY trip was just everything I'd hoped for. An inspiring conference, encouraging business meetings with publishers, and an excuse from the daily routine, no laundry and cooking, just hanging out with my lover :)

....aaaand I have some really exciting news to share with you real soon, so stay tuned, I promise to blog more frequently!