The Illustration Conference [ICON] is a grass-roots, professional organization established in 1997 to serve the illustration community and promote the use of illustration in all media, provide a platform for illustrators and image-makers to address issues from a tight knit community and develop new approaches to this historically significant profession. ICON is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization supported by our sponsors and attendees registration fees. Unlike many other conferences, ICON is not supported with membership dues. Since the first conference in Santa Fe, ICON has been dedicated to the advancement of art, design, and communication in the graphic arts fieled and supports the exploration of new concepts, media, technologies and professional opportunities for artist and image creators. ICON is committed to creating an ongoing dialogue that serves the whole industry of the applied graphic arts and the clients that illustrators serve. Each conference brings together a community of illustrators to explore new concepts, media, technologies, and professional issues. Programming topics fall into these three important categories: Inspiration, Industry and Business.
The national Illustration Conference, ICON, is committed to providing a forum for an ongoing dialogue that serves the illustration, design, publishing, advertising, and academic communities. Its purpose is to provide a platform for the most influential illustrators and industry leaders to address, in a timely manner, the most pervasive issues facing the profession. Illustration Conference (ICON) is a 501 C-6 nonprofit organization of illustrators and is an entity in itself. ICON remains the only national conference specifically for illustrators and the graphic arts community providing an unprecedented forum for the creativity, inspiration and drive that captivates the profession.
THE HISTORY OF ICON
Our inaugural conference in October 1999 brought together top illustrators, educators, representatives, and art buyers to explore The Future of Illustration. This event was the first national caucus for illustrators and was an overwhelming success, selling over 500 attendees from around the world. Through discussion and presentations we launched what has become an ongoing networking and information exchange among professional illustrators, clients, students, educators, and colleagues in related fields such as photography and design. Since 1999, we have produced conferences in Santa Fe, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. These Conferences have continued to probe and discuss the issues relevant to the field of illustration and design. They have examined specific topics such as copyright, product development, children's books, promotion and contracts. The Conferences have maintained the standard of convening the industry's best and brightest talent to present and talk about their work, their business, their lives and their passion for illustration. They have also grown to include inspiring, informative and topical main stage sessions and pre-conference tours and workshops. Attendance has grown steadily in North America since the first conference and includes a growing global presence with attendees now coming from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Germany, England, China and Australia.
The Board of Directors consists of illustrators, educators, designers and individuals working in organizations related to the support and advancement of illustration. The Board works on an entirely volunteer basis to plan, organize, and run each conference. It is through the dedication of each successive Board that ICON has grown to be the professional conference it is today. The Board is joined by an equally conscientious group of Advisors who serve as sounding boards throughout the planning process. Members of previous Boards continue their commitment to ICON by serving as Advisors, thus ensuring continuity.
John Hendrix, President ICON7
Troy Doolittle, Vice President of Sustainability/Treasurer
Jaime Zollars, Vice President of Operations
SooJin Buzelli, Secretary
Robert Brinkerhoff, Education Chair
Rachael Cole, Public Relations Chair
Chrystal Falcioni, Advocacy Chair
Thomas James, Sponsorship Chair
Mark Todd, Bookstore Chair
Kyle T. Webster, Web/Technology Chair
Ellen Weinstein, Programming Chair
Mark Heflin, Conference Director
Lauren Dapiaoen, Event Producer
MEET THE BOARD
John Hendrix loves to draw. In fact, he is drawing right now. Born in St. Louis, John has been drawing since shortly after that moment. John’s drawings have won numerous awards, including the Society of Illustrator’s Silver Medal in 2006 and 2008, the 3x3 Gold Medal in sequential illustration and the SILA Silver Best of Show Award. His first picture book “Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek,” was named and ALA Notable book of 2008 and won the Comstock Award for read aloud books. John’s recent book, “John Brown: His Fight for Freedom,” the first he has both written and illustrated, won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal and was named one of the “Best Books of 2009” by Publisher’s Weekly.
In addition to his editorial drawings and picture books, John is teaching Illustration and Communication Design at Washington University in St. Louis.
Vice President of Sustainability and Treasurer
Troy Doolittle is the owner and principal illustrator behind TopDog Illustration. With a solid background in the advertising industry, Troy has extensive experience in technical illustration and informational graphics. This knowledge has given him the opportunity to manage his own business while working with clients like AT&T, Dell, Medtronic, Toyota, Staples Inc., Microsoft, and HP. Over the years his work has also been published in magazines like GQ, Outside, Bicycling, TV Guide and Sunset.
As an avid mountain biker, Troy has also found a unique way to combine his passions and continues to do great work for companies in the bicycle industry like Bell Sports, Easton, Giro, Fox Racing, Pacific Cycle and Wilderness Trail Bikes.
And in a hopeless attempt to fulfill his insatiable need to create, he also designs and builds modern furniture.
Vice President of Operations
Jaime Zollars paints pictures of imaginary people and places far away. She has created illustrations for children's books, magazines, newspapers, and ad campaigns. Her clients include United Airlines, Random House, The American Red Cross, Scholastic, Clarion Books, and L.A. Weekly. She also creates paintings for galleries, including Copro Nason, Gallery Nucleus, and Giant Robot.
Jaime's art has been recognized by a bunch of great publications and societies, including Taschen's Illustration Now, American Illustration, Communication Arts, The Society of Illustrators, 3x3, and Spectrum.
Jaime lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland, and enjoys teaching talented MFA and undergraduate students at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
SooJin is the SVP, Creative Director at Asset International and has been art directing and designing magazines for 15 years. She implemented a new vision for the design of PLANSPONSOR magazine, and translated that success into the art direction of many Asset International's products, including PLANADVISER and Global Custodian magazines and the newest Asset International brands, aiCIO and PLANSPONSOR Europe.
SooJin's art-directed pieces have been recognized by the Society of Publication Designs, Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Print, 3x3,and Spectrum. SooJin holds an Illustration BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.
Robert Brinkerhoff is Professor and Head of the Illustration Department at Rhode Island School of Design. Since his arrival at RISD in 1996, his teaching has focused on illustration concepts classes and the synthesis of illustration and design. Brinkerhoff's clients have included corporations, institutions of higher learning including The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University and Brandeis University, and regional and national magazines.
His illustrations have been included in competitions and publications, including Print and How, the University and College Designer's Association and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has been awarded artist residencies in both the United States and the Republic of Ireland. From 2007-2009 he served as Chief Critic for RISD's European Honors Program in Rome.
Public Relations Chair
Rachael Cole is the art director at Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, where she works on picture books and novel jackets with illustrators such as Barry Blitt, Ed Koren, Christoph Niemann, John Hendrix, Sophie Blackall, and Chris Silas Neal.
Rachael has taught courses in children's picture book illustration in the undergraduate and continuing education departments of the School of Visual Arts (SVA), and has been a thesis advisor for the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at SVA. She was an American Illustration jury member, a judge for the annual Sidewalk Arts Festival at the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as been a guest speaker at ICON 6, SCBWI, and the Children's Book Council.
Her illustration work has appeared in publications like the New York Times, the Progressive, and New York Press. Her brushy, graphic work has been selected twice for the American Illustration website, and will appear in the upcoming 3x3 Illustration Annual. Rachael also illustrated and produced a line of screen-printed cushions called Village Pillows.
Chrystal established Magnet Reps in 1999 as an illustration agency representing and managing a diverse international group of stylistically unique illustrators. Prior to launching the agency, Falcioni worked as an award-winning art director in magazine publishing, in-house corporate art departments and the fashion industry.
While judging the American Illustration 18 competition, she was inspired by the brilliance and innovation she saw in the entries. She made a life-changing career move soon after, starting the agency and leaving art direction behind.
While it goes without saying that Magnet Reps illustrators are talented, Chrystal also describes them as passionate, dedicated and inspired professionals who work hard for their success and deserve their accomplishments. The illustrators on her roster inspire her, each other, their clients and many others with their vision and artistry.
Thomas James is an Illustrator, Author, and Editor of Escape from Illustration Island, the popular website and podcast devoted to sharing resources and inspiration with Illustrators and other creative professionals. His smart visual concepts appear in magazines, newspapers, books, album covers, and apparel, some of which have been recognized by American Illustration.
Thomas has given lectures and workshops for the Graphic Artists Guild and the Stumptown Comics Fest, has written for Fuel Your Illustration, Design TAXI, and Vector Tuts +, and has been featured on Illustration podcasts and blogs such as Drawn 2 Success, Big Illustration Party Time, Chris Oatley’s Artcast, Art & Story, Zero 2 Illo, Workbook, Artsy Shark, and Ninja Mountain.
When he's not obsessing over Illustration, he enjoys life in Portland, Oregon with his beautiful wife, his twin girls, his best friend down the street, and coffee.
Like many kids raised in the 70's, Mark was influenced at an early age by Star Wars and comic books. Unlike many kids, he grew up just a few miles from the Vegas strip, it's neon and glitz looming over the city.
He graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and currently lives and works in the Los Angeles area with his wife, artist Esther Pearl Watson, their daughter Lili
Kyle T. Webster
Kyle draws, designs, and makes iPhone apps. His editorial clients include TIME, The New Yorker, The New York Times,The Atlantic, and most other major publications. He has created illustrations for brands like Nike, Hanes, Krispy Kreme, and NPR. His first iPhone game, White Lines, was a top 50 game in the iTunes store and his second game, Hot Plates, was featured by Apple three times in the Family Games category. He is the creator of the blog, 'The Daily Figure,' and the beloved/loathed viral video, 'Original Design Gangsta.' He is also an adjunct instructor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Kyle lives in North Carolina with his wife, Sonja, and two children, Wolfgang and Hermione. Ask him to show you a card trick.
Ellen Weinstein was born and lives in New York City. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute and The High Scholl of Art and Design. She is a regular contributor to Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications.
Ellen has created images for many design firms, book publishers and cultural institutions. Recent projects include a series of programs and posters for The Nashville Symphony, an ad campaign for Georges DuBoeuf wine, and books for Simon & Schuster and Workman Press.
Her work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, Print’s Regional Design annual and 3X3 Professional Show.
She also shows her work in various galleries in the U.S. and Italy. Illustration anthologies include: Curvy, Illustration Today, Japan, New York Based Creatives (from Taiwan) and Drawing Inspiration: Visual Artists at Work by Michael Fleishman. Ellen is an adjunct instructor at RISD.
Mark is the Director of American Illustration and American Photography (AI-AP), the leading juried annuals of contemporary commercial and fine art illustration and photography and is introducing Latin American Fotographia and Ilustracion competitions in 2012. Founded in 1982, the AI-AP annuals are the premier showcase for illustration work. Under Mark’s direction, the books have been recognized by the Art Directors Club, British Design and Art Direction, One Show, AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers, Print Magazine, Communication Arts and I.D. Magazine. He is also the managing editor of DART: Design Arts Daily and Pro Photo Daily, online newsletters for, and about, the creative community. Mark revived the Graphic Arts Weekend, a 3-day conference comprised of artist and art department studio tours, speakers, panels and parties. Other projects include running his own imprint called Evan Publishing.
Mark has been a volunteer since 2005 for God’s Love We Deliver, an organization that delivers food to those living with HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses. Every Tuesday morning he joins 15 others to prepare over 1,500 meals.
Melanie is an award-winning illustrator with a sketchbook never far from her side.
Melanie loves to draw and translates this love to her graduate and undergraduate students both in the US and abroad. She can be found during the school year at FIT, where she is a full time professor and the chair of the MA in Illustration program. Her visual journals have been the subject of articles published out of London, UK, as well as Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and her documentary work is part of the Air Force Art Collection, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in many solo and group exhibitions, including a one-woman show at The Society of Illustrators in New York City.
As a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic, she conducted an intensive, two-week figure drawing workshop and lectured on The Evolution of the Illustrated Poster and then, took to the sugar cane fields with her sketchbook and supplies, not only illustrating her own reportage, but giving art lessons to the children in the local bateys. With a close eye on the bulls nearby, she filled her books with work that she is now sharing with both her graduate and undergraduate students at FIT.