Nuts & Bolts was a great experience, and I recommend it to anyone interested in being a freelance illustrator. Attend next year. It's a little pricey, but I think it's worth it. If your education prepared you well enough for your career, still come because if anything, gaining the networking connections and hearing what professionals in the industry have to say is invaluable.
So yeah, professionals! The Conference was packed with talented speakers. Lectures were delivered by not only the great Charles Hively himself, but also the killer line-up of Aaron Meshon, Martin Wittfooth, Yuko Shimizu, Sheheryar Sardar, Kate Kelly, Paul Hoppe, Matt Rota, Marcos Chin, and workshop leaders. If you do not know these names, google them and their sites will come up.
So I know what you really care about is pictures. I did a lot of sketching while in NY, particularly of people in Times Square and animals in the Museum of Natural History. Those will be up later after I scan everything in.
In the mean time, back to the conference. The attendees were split into groups and each party went to a different artist's studio. I got to go see Martin Wittfooth's, and it kicked ass. Located in Bushwick, Brooklyn a stop away from where I was staying, the studio was covered in giant 10 foot oil paintings for his new series debuting this October. Here's a sneak peak of my favorite one:
Martin had a ton to share on his experience as an illustrator branching out into the fine art world, and also served as total eye-candy while filling our heads with essential information on our business.
Here's a look into the lunch room of the Society of Illustrators:
That painting above the bar is an original Norman Rockwell. Norman, as well as other greats, used to hang out in this old gentleman's club. Revamping it to attract the new illustration youths is an upcoming challenge, so, if you're in the area, please come visit the building. There's a sick Pulp Novel exhibit downstairs with some great damsel in distress and monster art.
I'll let your brains digest all this writing. Here's a parting photo from Bushwick: