//Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 3 – Panels and Talks

Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 3 – Panels and Talks

By |2016-07-07T15:15:18+00:00November 15th, 2012|Categories: Conventions & Shows|Tags: |0 Comments

This post is one of a five part series:
Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 1 – Intro
Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 2 – Workshops
Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 3 – Panels & Talks
Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 4 – Showcase
Lessons from IlluxCon 5: Part 5 – Wrap Up

Winona Nelson spoke of how experiences outside of art and exercise was really important. One experience she decided to give herself was hiking in a hobbit costume.

Lecture: Self-Teaching & Self-Design by Winona Nelson

One of the really great aspects to IlluxCon are the panels and talks that have great educational value.

My favourite lecture was Winona Nelson’s Self-Teaching & Self-Design. Mrs. Nelson spoke of how the brain works, ways to engage it, beneficial methods for cultivating your ideas, the importance of breaks, sleep and positive thinking. Here are some of the lessons I took away from the lecture:

The brain

  • Your brain can be improved by exercising it, just like the rest of your body.
  • Buddhism sees the components of the mind as a skill that can be trained.
  • Mantra: Fake it till you make it. Mantras work through repetition.
  • Physical activity engages your brain and increases communication between the right and left half.
  • Consider meditation.
  • Coconut oil is good for your brain; 1 tsp. a day
  • Listening to new music gives better ideas.


  • Breaks are important. Consider using timers.
  • Short breaks every 45 minutes, long breaks every 3 hours.
  • Do not post prone your breaks. Breaks increase your concentration.


  • Set a positive tone for the day.
  • Set yourself up to win several times a day.
  • Chose small tasks to do often; ie. dishes, short walk, laundry, play with your pets
  • Built a positive momentum.
  • Cultivate your ideas outside your art.
  • Get a hobby besides art.
  • If you are hesitant to begin something, tell yourself to just do it for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, you usually continue.
  • Focus on the positive in others and it will reflect positively on your self image.

If you have a problem that can be fixed, it is no use worrying.
If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, it is no use worrying.”
– Buddhist Proverb

The mind is everything.
What you think, you become.”
– Buddhism

Snippet of Friday’s Program

Panel: Strengthening the Artist’s Role in the Industry

Saturday I was at a panel with Randy Gallegos, Todd Lockwood, Aaron B Miller, Mike Sass and Jim Pavelec. It was a really interesting panel which mainly focused on how artist’s often end up selling themselves short unintentionally. This is especially a problem with young artists, another issue is the rates in the Fantasy Art Industry have not been raised for years and years despite cost of living increases and steeper competition.

Some of the lessons I took away from this panel were:

  • Be careful with selling your copyright, you are potentially harming your future income.
  • Some of an artist’s income rely on print sale, if you sell your copyright you can’t sell prints.
  • Make your own contracts.
  • Always retain rights to make prints, art books and to add pieces to your portfolio.
  • ALWAYS read your contract and argue your rights to prints.
  • Be willing to say no and walk away.
  • Protect your long term career and always consider the long term result of your contract.
  • Pick and chose, negotiate your situation.
  • Practice your skill, skill is important.
  • Don’t be in a rush to start working, poor quality work/student work can harm your long term career.

I hope some of these lessons were helpful to you. My next blog post will be on the IlluxCon showcase.
Stay tuned!

The art of Winona Nelson

My portfolio, badge and program from IlluxCon 5, 2012

About the Author:

Award-winning Illustrator, Artist, and Creator Kiri Østergaard Leonard happily share her experiences making a living as an artist and pursuing a creative life. She grew up in a tiny village in the Kingdom of Denmark, left her country behind to pursue art in the bustle of New York City and now resides in the delightful weirdness of Austin, Texas surrounded by sunshine and felines.

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