Time to Doodle & Sketch : Art Basel from an Illustrator’s POV, by Ashley Lucas

Traveling to Art Basel in Miami had been a distant dream of mine for years, and this past December I finally got the chance to attend. It was such an inspiring experience, I really wanted to share my story with fellow illustrators and try to highlight a few takeaways from the show that might be of interest.

For those that are not familiar with the event, Art Basel is a sort of ‘trade show’ for the art world. It highlights up and coming artists as well as old masters. Over the last few years, many satellite fairs have popped up around the original event in Miami beach. The week in December when it occurs has become a jam packed, tourist and celebrity affair with local hotels and restaurants getting in on all the artful action!

Your Distinct Style is Everything 

A wonderfully fun piece by Peter Anton

A wonderfully fun piece by Peter Anton

While walking briskly up what seemed like hundreds of aisles of artwork, I had to process everything so quickly. After awhile, I noticed that I was being drawn to the same style of artworks over and over again. I also noticed how quick and easy it was to recognize favorite artists of mine such as Picasso, Ron English, Peter Anton and Andy Warhol. Fans of these artists literally recognize their work in a split second, and I believe the same idea is very important regarding your illustration work. The more streamlined and distinct your illustrations become, the more of a fan base you will obtain.

Presentation is Key 

Mr. Brainwash's art has a magical way of engaging visitors within his booth

Mr. Brainwash’s art has a magical way of engaging visitors within his booth

Everything at all of the art fairs was framed and presented so beautifully – of course the pieces were all being sold for a small fortune! Between the champagne in the aisles, the beautifully dressed gallery girls and the colorfully painted booths, visitors to Art Basel were put in a sort of luxury trance. The takeaway for me was to aspire to deliver the best quality possible for my book layouts. And perhaps for my book openings and events too. Why not get creative and make them an exclusive happening?

Be Confident 

Yes, this message actually passed by the beach dozens of times during the first day of Art Basel. I can only wonder who sponsored it?

Yes, this message actually passed by the beach dozens of times during the first day of Art Basel. I can only wonder who sponsored it?

Of course, along with all the awe-inspiring artwork, was work that was almost laughable in my personal opinion. Buckets turned over on the floor, candles melted on tables, and other avant-garde pieces that I just couldn’t get my head around. However, these galleries were still selling the work because they were confident in their presentation and the story behind it. Being confident as an illustrator pays off in more ways than one. I think you’re able to ask more money for your assignments, as well as engage more readers!

Have you visited Art Basel in Miami or another art fair? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts below!

Ashley Lucas {aka Lady Lucas} is an illustrator, craft designer and the self proclaimed queen of cute characters. Her first picture book was published in 2011 and featured a trio of lovable Halloween characters named Boo, Bat and Pumpkin. Her most recent work, The Angry Artist, is a picture book for creatives {no matter what their age might be!}.  She is currently traveling around the US and abroad to pursue her passion for making the world a cuter place. Follow her on Twitter @LadyLucasArt or visit www.ladylucas.com to say hello!

Ashley Lucas

the queen of cute characters

illustrator & owner @ Lady Lucas

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3 Responses to Time to Doodle & Sketch : Art Basel from an Illustrator’s POV, by Ashley Lucas

  1. Great post, Ashley! Delighted to ‘meet’ you… Your characters are soooo cute and your website is AWEsome! Thanks for the inspiration, words of wisdom and encouragement!

  2. There is a lot for writers to gain from this post, too! Thanks, Ashley!

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