They all have basically the same format with a few variations:
• You get an illustration assignment from an Art Director (sometimes you can pick your AD sometimes you can't)
• You pick your assignment and do the sketch of the spread or whatever and e-mail it by the deadline. (time given varies)
|Velveteen Rabbit story By Margery Williams.|
Sketch for Scene where VR first meets the wild rabbits.
Pencil Sketch © Diana Ting Delosh
|The Velveteen Rabbit Meets the Wild Rabbits|
Ink, Watercolor and Photoshop © Diana Ting Delosh
• Depending on the specific format of your event, your work may be:
- Reviewed in front of a group, along with everyone else's project. There is NO personal review or crit. You learn a lot from your fellow illustrators. You also get and inkling of your AD's tastes and their company preferences. I personally found this the least satisfying of the 3 formats.
- Reviewed in front of the group and the AD also gives a quick individual review and also views your portfolio. The best of both worlds. You learn from your colleagues and you get some valuable face time with the AD.
- Reviewed on an individual basis along with your portfolio. You really get a feel for whether the AD really likes your work or if you have a rapport with that person.
- Sometimes there is an Observer option. IE: you do not do the assignment but get to be the fly on the wall. While you may be perfectly happy that you didn't stress over an assignment - there maybe better ways to spend your time/money than being an invisible non-participant at an event.
Needless to say, I would prefer to have Group AND Individual review. BUT if I could only pick Group OR Individual, I would always pick Individual.
So, Back to my original question are they worth it?
PRO: These events give you a a chance to show your stuff, from sketch to final, to an AD and possibly make a good connection. Gone are the days of drop-offs and portfolio reviews and it's hard to stand out as 1 postcard amongst gazillion.
- They can be costly.
- Time consuming. Some of these events are 1 day of a weekend conference.
- Stressful. As a freelancer, no matter how well you planned, you may find it hard to give the assignment your all while in the midst of a killer deadline or 2. I mean, Would you really turn down a gig because you signed-up to pay to do an assignment? Heck no, you need to take the gig so you can pay to do that assignment.
I have a few illustrator friends who swear by them. Personally, I can see their merits BUT I still wonder are they really really worth it. Would I be better off working on my PB dummy and signing up for an individual review with an AD? I partook in 3 of these illustrator Days this year would I sign-up for another? Perhaps, if it was with an AD/publisher I was really interested in.