Opportunity Knocks: Grab Bag for Illustrators

art © 2013 Alabaster, previous SAW min-grant awardee
© 2013 by  Alabaster, previous SAW mini-grant awardee

The Sequential Arts Workshop, SAW, in Gainesville, Florida is once again offering two mini-grants of $250 to artists working on a comic or graphic novel project. True, this is not a lot of money, but if you need to buy time to work on your art every cent helps. What I like about this grant is that the runners-up get honorable mentions with pithy advice from the experts at SAW. To apply and view past awardees, see SAW, here. The image above is by Alabaster who is working on a project called Mimi and the Wolves.


Are you an illustrator, designer, app developer, hand-letterer who breaks the rules? Here is an opportunity to strut you stuff. KU Prof. Denise Bosler is doing her second book for HOW, it is called Creative Anarchy. Submit your best rule-breaking designs here.  She’s looking for zines, T-shirts, custom type, under-the-radar marketing, -you name it.

That reminds me. When I was kid I studied art with a teacher in her basement studio in Elizabeth, NJ. She had two rules for artists. 1. Never use a ruler. 2. Never make a head larger than life-size. This was around 1960. The next big movements is art were OP Art ( rulers!) and Pop Art  (think Warhol’s oversized portraits.) So, break those rules!

Collage illustration © Stephen Knezovich
Collage illustration © 2013 Stephen Knezovich, see below.

Looking to launch a career as an illustrator, but haven’t got that first publication? Check out Poets & Writers’ expansive list of literary magazines. There are hundreds of listings.  Some are university related, many pay only in copies, but this is a way to build your portfolio. The P&W site can be searched using the subgenre: Graphic/Illustrated. I’ve just done that, and after a few dead ends, found a magazine that I’ve heard good things about, Creative Nonfiction. I clicked through and interestingly enough Creative Nonfiction includes an interview with writer and collage-illustrator, Stephen Knezovich.



At one time, art grants were not worth the trouble of an application if you identified yourself as an” illustrator.”  The prejudice may have  evolved since there is/was a market for illustration, so grant moneys were reserved for the fine arts. That’s changing. Pittsburgh illustrator Jim Rugg has gotten several grants including a Creative Development Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation to pursue his illustration and design experiments. His latest project, Supermag, above, has been getting rave reviews.


The College Art Association has an Opportunities page that includes Grants, Residencies, and Calls for Entries for exhibitions. You need not be a CAA member to access the site. How about an Artist’s residency in the U.S or abroad? Nowadays “graphic artists” are considered for these opportunities. Places to look include Mira’s List. Mira’s web site is a bit dormant, but you’ll get her latest updates via her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/miraslist.  Two other searchable sites for grants and residencies are ResArtis and Trans Artist.


Lastly, if you are a printmaker… And, in my opinion, all illustrators should become familiar with the basics of printmaking. You can search the term “Call for Entries.” Check the links page on McClain’s Printmaking Supply Company web site. I just entered an International Print Exchange at La Calaca PressDeadline extended to Sept. 30. The exchange and exhibition honors Mexican illustrator Jose Guadalupe Posada’s centennial. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of his death, not birth, but this death centennial celebration makes sense as Posada is so closely associated with the Day of the Dead. He created Catrina, Mexico’s most iconic calavera (these skeleton characters are also called calacas.)  I will leave you with my entry in the La Calaca Print Exchange, a silkscreen print of Posada as puppet.

Feliz Cumpleanos Posada, silkscreen on paper © Kevin McCloskey, 2013
Feliz Cumpleanos Posada, silkscreen on paper © Kevin McCloskey, 2013

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