"Illustration is dead."
Illustration has never been more alive. As the internet age progressed, it seemed that imagery would cease to be quite as important as it once had been when illustration would attract customers to products on shelves, in physical stores, and in advertisements. If the art were being shrunk down to a thumbnail, how could it remain important?
But while the death of the discipline was being considered, an interesting thing happened: it became the case that visuals became more important than ever. No book is released; no game or album is launched without extensive pre-release coverage online. Companies rely on sharing through online media to generate interest in their work, and it has far surpassed what an ad-buy in a related niche magazine might once have garnered. And what do we find is the bulk of the messaging in this previewing of product? Imagery. In fact, illustrations that once might be seen in limited scope are now seen countless times, and are used to draw interest to the product in new ways we never considered. Advertising budgets are reduced for many clients who can't or don't want to go mass-market, or they are at least augmented by this new form of free advertising. Crowd-funding either counts on imagery to help reduce financial risk through making products appealing, or allows clients to commission work having been pre-funded. Certainly these new uses that illustrations serve--attracting customers through dynamic imagery that breaks through a social media feed, while saving clients money through organic sharing and new funding models--should finally encourage clients to raise their own estimation of illustration's worth!
Perhaps in our struggle to simply survive, we allowed ourselves to engage in a race to the bottom. We undercut each other, accepted whatever was offered, and found out that--surprise--it was becoming harder and harder, if not impossible, to earn a living commensurate with our skill, training, and the value we were adding to clients' products.
To counteract this downward slide, PACT was founded.
PACT is a gathering place for you, the illustrator. For you, and the artist next to you, and the artists you don't know. All of us lifting our heads up to share our experiences, aggregate our needs, express our requirements. PACT is indeed a toolkit we can use together to these ends. Together, we will lift up the good players in this industry and help them thrive. We will identify those who would have us homeless while they profit off our abilities. We will encourage one another, educate one another, and help us all to realize that illustration only dies when illustrators give up and stop illustrating.
Illustration may have been on its way to dying, or rather being killed. All of us, together as PACT, will do our part to not only help illustration survive, but even to thrive.
Long live illustration.
Jim is the driving force behind PACT. As a freelance veteran of fifteen years, Jim heard countless tales of woe from his colleagues. Because of this he decided to create a website that would be a one stop informational resource for freelance illustrators, and provide them with a place that they could rate the companies that they have worked for. Along with his co-founders, the idea of the website was presented at the Illuxcon convention in 2012. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so they worked together to lay the groundwork for the website, and run the Indiegogo campaign that raised the seed money for the website. This website is the result of all of their hard work. With the support of the freelance community, it will help to lead freelance illustration out of the current rut it is stuck in.
Aaron is a Chicago-based illustrator, focusing on fantasy and science fiction. Previously a 10-year veteran freelancer in the design world Aaron switched gears in 2009 to the wondrous world of illustration. Working in digital and traditional mediums he creates illustrations for books, games, and many other venues. He has been honored as an Illie nominee, and has been published in a wide variety of games such as Magic: the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and Legends of Norrath. His work has also been chosen for annuals and magazines such as Spectrum, BlueCanvas, Exposé, Fantasy+, and ImagineFX. The welcoming and family like atmosphere of the community keeps Aaron coming back for more every day.
Since 1994, Randy has involved himself broadly in the illustration world through his richly detailed and deeply colored art, rendered primarily in oils, which has accompanied many internationally-recognized brands, as well as through community. He spent 15 years running an online gallery handling original art sales for fellow illustrators, all the while trying as much as possible to get them an extremely fair percentage of sales and never once delaying or missing a payment. He also fostered online community among dozens of the industry's leading illustrators as moderator of an online forum that preceded modern social media and was an important source of information-sharing and mutual inspiration.
Randy joined PACT at its founding stages, lending his experience and thoughts to the process and supporting the pre-launch community that was beginning to form through social media. He is convinced that PACT is what is needed now, and he greatly looks forward to what PACT will do in the future even as he moves on to other ventures in the meantime.
A pioneer in the video games industry, Mike previously had a long career as legendary developer BioWare's first artist, and for 12 years illustrated for some of the top RPG video games of all time. Mike's experience at BioWare creating box art, magazine covers, concept art and marketing illustrations allowed him to seamlessly transition in 2009 to pursue his true passion of fantasy illustration and oil painting.
For the past 5 years, Mike has illustrated RPG and card art for the gaming industry's top franchises, including Magic the Gathering, World of Warcraft, Star Wars, Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. Now working almost exclusively in oils, Mike is at home combining gaming illustration with his love for the craft of painting.
Todd Lockwood was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. Todd went to the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver which was primarily a design school, but taught him all of the important basics, if only to a minimal degree. The first year and a half after graduating from CIA Todd was a designer, not an illustrator.
In the early ‘90’s, Todd began illustrating cards for a number of clients, and in 1996 became an in house illustrator at TSR. A year later, TSR was bought by Wizards of the Coast Todd and his family moved to Washington state.While working for Wizards Todd had the opportunity to work on what would be one of the highlights of his career, designing the look and feel for the Third Edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
After Hasbro bought Wizards of the coast in 2002, Todd left to pursue a career in freelance. He went on to become one of the most sought after book cover artists around.
Todd’s years of experience and connections were integral to the construction and funding of PACT.
Todd, his wife, and their three children reside in Washington state, where he continues to create epic fantasy art, write his own fantasy stories, and be neurotic.
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