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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Lee

ICON11 Kansas City, Missouri (Aka BBQ Capital of the world!)

I am grateful for my work for giving me an opportunity to go to ICON11 Illustration Conference in Kansas City. I learned so much and hope to bring it back to ArtCenter Illustration. There are three takeaways that I want to share with everyone.

As illustrators and artists, we often make work that resonates with us. Robert Young, a professor from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, challenges his students to also put things that they do not like on their mood boards. That way, students could make work in response to something they did not like or are not familiar with. Alison Nowak, an Illustrator from Minneapolis, asks her students to take on a culture other than their own, to create work. That way, they have an opportunity to research and get to know another culture.

It was incredible to have the opportunity to talk to the presenters. I had a chance to speak with Jamie Runnells, a food illustrator from Jackson State University. She spoke on the importance of play in making work; how important it is to step outside of our comfort zones. She emphasized that exploring and analyzing should not be done at the same time. I bumped into her at the bus stop. We exchanged contact. I appreciated that I had a chance to print some new promos from our HMCT Archetype Press before I left for this trip!

I also had a chance to attend a workshop called Making Money at Maker's Markets. We are starting up a Makerspace in the Illustration department. I thought it would be a great idea if students could sell their work at different craft fairs. I learned a lot of tips and best practices about hosting a booth at a local arts & craft fair. I hope to do my best to implement this element as the Makers Lab manager.

There are so much more that I have absorbed at ICON11. I want to write something down while everything is still fresh in my memory. In sum, I met many amazing Illustrators who were so generous to share their work and advice. In the future, I hope more students could attend this conference. That way, they will have more avenues to collaborate with their peers.

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