Writers Track Slush and Workshop Submissions!

Writers Track Slush and Workshop Submissions!

The Writers Track has opened submissions for our annual Friday Night Workshop and the JordanCon’s Got Slush panel. Details for each below!

Friday Night Workshop (Virtual)

Because we are still social distancing, we are taking this year’s Friday Night workshop 100% online. We will use Zoom and make use of Breakout Rooms to give each critique group the ability to do their thing. We are not restricting who can attend the workshop, but we do have limited space (presently at 20 attendees but might expand). We are doing sign-ups first come, first serve. And be sure your work is ready to go when you submit, because resubmitting/revisions sends you to the back of the line. The form will be open until July 1 or it fills up. 1000 word max on submitted pieces, please.

  1. Go here to submit your work. READ ALL THE RULES CAREFULLY! (ahem)
  2. On July 11, you will be sent a zoom link for the workshop as well as PDFs of the submitted work for your group. Advanced reading is not required, but always encouraged.
  3. At 8:15 pm EST on July 16, the zoom will open. A Writers Track facilitator will be the host and will assign groups to their designated breakrooms. Please sign on promptly.
  4. Each attendee will get “the spotlight” for roughly 30 minutes, where they will read their work aloud as everyone follows along, and then receive professional and peer critique.
  5. Once all the attendees (up to four max in a group) have gone, the workshop is over and you can sign off. YAY!

JordanCon’s Got Slush! (In person)

Saturday July 17th, at 11:30 am (subject to change, check the final schedule!), we will have the return of a special panel where you can have the opening pages of your novel read anonymously, then get immediate feedback from publishing professionals on their impression of your opening. Please only one submission per attendee, and only the first 600 words. Submissions will be read by a moderator while the panelists follow along on their own printed copies. Please do not include your name on the submission document, but do include the title. Please also include the genre and the length of the full work. Submissions should be in .pdf, .docx, or .rtf format.

Again, this doesn’t have to be a finished work, so if it isn’t, estimate what the full word count would be if it were to be finished.

Deadline to submit is July 1. All selections for the panel will be randomly selected from the submissions. Please have submissions double-spaced and in an easy-to-read font with ample margins for potential jotted down notes.

Submit here.

What We Know About the Show So Far (with GIFs!)

SURPRISE CONTENT DROP, Y’ALL!!

It’s me, your only favorite World of the Wheel Track Manager: James Starke. What, you’ve never heard of me? Well, allow me to give you an ACTUAL VERIFIED PICTURE:

Grand Entrance GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

It me.

 

When we were told that there was going to be content dropping this weekend, I knew that I wanted to talk about the upcoming television show, because I’m so. freaking. excited. and I know that y’all are, too! However, I didn’t want to give you just a written summary of everything that’s already been announced, because that’s already been done. No, I want to touch on the major developments and express myself in the only way that I know how:

Can You Hear These GIFs? Why Silent Images Appear to Make Sound

 

ALL RIGHTY, KIDS. Buckle up, ’cause this is going to be a wild ride. I’m going to be doing this somewhat chronologically, starting with…

 

 

April 2017: Rafe Judkins is Announced as Showrunner

Guardians Of The Galaxy - Who GIF by MikeyMo | Gfycat

#SorryNotSorry

 

LOOK. I have come to love Rafe Judkins, but at the time, I had no idea who he was. In the announcement article, I found that he’d written for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (good show) and Chuck (very good show), but I also found out that he was a contestant on Survivor: Guatemala in 2005, lasting 38 days and placing 3rd, which is super-impressive. Also, it gives me a reason to post this GIF.

via Gfycat

Rafe on Survivor: Guatemala. (I’m sorry if you’re reading this and it brings up painful memories.)

 

 

 

 

July/August 2018: First Episode Titles & Snippets from the Script

When Rafe posted these to his Twitter using the short-lived #WheelofTimeMonday hashtag, it had been FIFTEEN MONTHS of knowing that the show existed without much actual news. The entire fandom was like, “Okay, it’s going to happen. Maybe. They announced a showrunner, which is good. But… Is it actually happening?” And then BOOM: EPISODE TITLES AND SNIPPETS FROM THE ACTUAL SCRIPT.

THE SCRIPT!!!

 

The first episode is going to be titled Leavetaking,” and the second Shadow’s Waiting.” Reader, this was a magical time in the fandom. My friends and I immediately started a group chat that had hundreds of messages in the first few weeks. We speculated so much on what these titles meant. Did that mean that they were leaving Emond’s Field in the very first episode, or was it going to be Moiraine leaving The White Tower on her quest to find a baby Rand al’Thor? If the second episode is “Shadow’s Waiting,” that immediately makes me think of Shadar Logoth, but how are they going to do that in episode two?? What about Baerlon? Min? SO MUCH SPECULATION, Y’ALL. (Seriously, people latched onto the idea that if they were going from Emond’s Field to Shayol Ghul, and they were going to remove Min from the show entirely, despite the fact that she’s, you know, a main character. Ye of little faith!)

And then he released a screenshot of the script, showing our beloved Tam al’Thor walking in the Westwood?! *swoon* That made it so real, y’all. I was getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of this television show, and it was amazing. The following week, Rafe followed this up with casting direction in the script, describing the cast as “a beautiful mix of white, brown, black, and everything in between.”

Swoon GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Okay, I’m starting to love Rafe a little bit lot.

 

 

 

 

September 2018: Q&A with Rafe Judkins

Rafe after the Q&A.

 

I don’t know what Rafe was thinking when he decided to do this, but I can nearly guarantee you that he didn’t expect to answer over 190 questions in two and a half hours. I put together an article with some of the key takeaways at TarValon.Net (which you can read here), but more than anything else that was revealed that day, I learned that Rafe Judkins had a love and passion for this show that I could never have imagined. Honestly, this was the day that I knew that The Wheel of Time television series was in good hands. (Also, in response to my question to him, he said there would be “pillow friends out the wazoo”, and that makes me so happy.)

Snl Adele GIF by Saturday Night Live - Find & Share on GIPHY

Please call me.

 

 

 

 

October 2018: Announcement that Amazon is Producing the Show

Oh No What GIF by Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

The entire fandom on October 2, 2018.

 

Since it was announced that The Wheel of Time TV Show was actually happening, people were wondering how it was going to be distributed. HBO was just finishing up Game of Thrones, so we didn’t think they were too likely. Showtime and Stars were both in the running, as they were well-known premium television networks that probably wanted to get into the epic fantasy game. Netflix was also a huge contender, because they were buying titles left and right. Hulu was in the game, too, but most people thought that if it were going to go to a streaming platform, it would be Netflix.

The announcement that Amazon would be producing the series came as a shock, because nearly everyone had ruled them out for one very legitimate reason: they had just spent $250,000,000 for just the rights to produce a series set in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. (They’ve since spent an additional one billion dollars to produce the first two seasons, making it the most expensive thing on television ever.) Most people were really, really happy that a company as big as Amazon picked up the series, because that meant that a major studio with a whole bunch of money was going to be involved, and that’s something to be excited about!

The article also mentions that Moiraine is going to be the main character of the show, at least for the first season. It describes the show as “set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists, but only women can use it. The story follows Moiraine, a member of the shadowy and influential all-female organization called the ‘Aes Sedai’ as she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women. Moiraine believes one of them might be the reincarnation of an incredibly powerful individual, whom prophecies say will either save humanity or destroy it. The series draws on numerous elements of European and Asian culture and philosophy, most notably the cyclical nature of time found in Buddhism and Hinduism.”

This upset some people, because obviously the story is about Rand, right? (And Mat and Perrin and Egwene and Nynaeve, but… Rand’s the main character.) So… how could the story follow Moiraine? But honestly, this makes so much sense. From the very first chapter of The Eye of the World, you know that Rand is the main character. If the show makes Moiraine the lead, then that’s going to make it more of a mystery as to who the actual Dragon Reborn is. Yes, it’ll be revealed early on in the show, but having Moiraine as the lead allows for so much more worldbuilding than if you just focus on Rand. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Emma Stone Flirting GIF by reactionseditor - Find & Share on GIPHY

Moiraine being told she’s the main character.

 

 

 

 

February/March 2019: More Episode Titles

Happy Turned Confused GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Wait, the episodes are titled what?

 

Rafe revealed that the third episode was titled “A Place of Safety,” and episode four was titled “The Dragon Reborn.” Reader, this threw the entire fandom for a loop. I cannot emphasize enough how confused everyone was. Prior to this, we knew two episode titles: “Leavetaking” (they’re leaving Emond’s Field, got it) and “Shadow’s Waiting” (Shayol Ghul, maybe a little earlier than anticipated, but that still tracks for episode two).

Maths GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Me, trying to figure out what the episode titles mean.

 

But… “A Place of Safety” makes me think of Caemlyn when they’re all reunited, which is two-thirds of the way through The Eye of the World. At this point, it becomes very, very clear that the series is not going to do one book per season. Everyone knows that there are going to be changes when something is adapted from page to screen, but this was confirmation of it. It makes total sense, but it wasn’t something that the fandom had really considered at that point. This was driven home with the announcement of the title of the fourth episode: “The Dragon Reborn”, which more than likely refers to either the events at the end of The Eye of the World or Siuan and Moiraine confronting Rand about his destiny in The Great Hunt.

Personally, I think that the second is more likely, which would mean that the show would be skipping the events at the end of The Eye of the World. If you think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense – there’s a lot that would need to be covered to even get to The Eye of the World (the place), and the only thing you get out of it is a battle with two of the Forsaken and (SPOILERS) the revelation that Rand is The Dragon Reborn. You could easily cut the Forsaken out and let them debut later on in the series, causing a lot more tension, because the stakes would be higher. Also, Rand being told he’s The Dragon Reborn by Siuan and Moiraine is an absolutely amazing moment in the series that loses none of its impact just because we already know it as readers.

So Exciting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Sorry, y’all. I’m getting excited about the show all over again remembering these moments. SO EXCITED.

 

 

 

 

June 2019: Rosamund Pike as Moiraine

Logo Tv Omg GIF by RuPaul's Drag Race

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ROSAMUND PIKE????? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????

 

This is the one that got me, y’all. I thought that I was already all in, but I was actually still lingering on the edge, a little trepidatious about what was down the rabbit-hole, but this… LOOK AT THE PICTURE THEY USED TO ANNOUNCE HER CASTING. I have two words for you: POWER. POSE.

Moiraine is my favorite character (with Nynaeve as a very close second), so starting with this was absolutely phenomenal. Some people did not know who Rosamund Pike was, but I had seen her in Gone Girl and knew that she had the intensity required to play Moiraine. I also knew her from Doom, where she played a geneticist on Mars, and Wrath of the Titans, where she played Queen Andromeda. Neither of those movies takes themselves very seriously, and Rosamund absolutely shines in both of them. I was so excited by this casting. It could not be put into words.

GIF rosamund pike gone girl - animated GIF on GIFER

Rosamund, reading this, basking in the adoration.

 

 

 

 

August 2019: The Emond’s Field Five Casting

Latest Seftaliliicetea GIFs | Gfycat

Amazon deciding which casting to release next.

 

With the casting of Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, Amazon had taken over the series’s social media presence. Everyone was wondering what they would announce next, and they did an excellent job of teasing people in the days leading up to the announcement. People guessed that it would be another casting announcement, but no one guessed that it would be all. five. Emond’s. Fielders. What made it even more amazing was how Rafe gave each of the announcements personalized messages, and they’re just all so incredibly sweet.

  • Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor: “[The Casting Director] searched the entire world, watched thousands of tapes, I myself watched hundreds of hours of video and spent days and days in the room with people. And we found him. Rand Al’Thor.”
  • Marcus Rudda as Perrin Aybara: “This man walked into the room, read a scene that made every single person watching cry, and walked out. We all looked at each other and said “He is Perrin.” Glad you’re all getting to meet him now too :)”
  • Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara: “We had the pick of the world on these cast members. Sent about two dozen Nynaeve tapes to the writers’ room to see who everyone liked and every. single. person. had one response — “Zoe”. I am already stanning her if that’s how you use that word. #twitterafficianado
  • Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon: “Barney simply is Mat. There is nothing more to say here. You will fall over dead when you see him.”
  • Madeleine Madden as Egwene Al’Vere: “I’m glad you all finally get to meet Egwene. She is the character in the books I often identify with most and Maddy makes her even more than the woman I admired reading for all those years. These five are the most incredible talents and I am honored to be able to work with them.”

New party member! Tags: funny cute comedy omg adorable humour schitts creek oh my god cbc canadian schittscreek cutest al… | Schitts creek, Creek, Pretty hairstyles

Rafe and the cast really are adorable. (If you want to see more photos of the cast hanging out and being adorable, check out Madeleine Madden’s Instagram!)

 

 

 

 

October 2019: Table Read of Episode 1

Patrick Stewart Acting - Reaction GIFs

The amount of talent at that table was astounding.

 

After the casting announcement of Moiraine, Rand, Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat, and Egwene, no one really knew what to expect. The Wheel of Time has 2,782 named characters, and even though there’s no way that even 5% of those will make their way into the television show, casting announcements could have lasted a long time.

No one was expecting a table read. The casting had just been announced, and we weren’t sure how far into development they were. It was a shock to see all of them in the same room together doing a table read from the first episode. It was the first time that we heard some of them in character, and there was just so much joy at the table. It was really, really amazing to see. The video ended with a simple message: “THE WHEEL OF TIME. NOW IN PRODUCTION.”

Chills GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

So good.

 

 

 

 

January/February 2020: Rand on a Mountain & The Winespring Inn

Freezing Cold Weather GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants - Find & Share on GIPHY

Josha Stradowski on the mountains of Slovenia.

 

The Eye of the World was published on January 15, 1990. It’s literally older than I am. (No, I will not apologize for being young and beautiful, thank you very much.) To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Eye of the World, Rafe shared the first photo of the set. The picture was taken in-between shots on a mountain in Slovenia, with Josha Stradowski (Rand) getting his hair touched up while wearing a coat (because they’re high up in the mountains of central Europe, where it is COLD AF). There’s also a mountain guide there to make sure that, you know, no one falls and plummets to their deaths.

Then, on February 19, Rafe shared a picture from the first day on set in September 2019. It’s a sprawling overhead shot showing Emond’s Field, and it looks so cool. Foggy as San Francisco in the summer, but cool!

Fog Rolling Over The Golden Gate Bridge GIF - California Sanfran Sanfrancisco - Discover & Share GIFs

San Francisco Emond’s Field

 

 

 

 

November 2019 to August 2020: More Casting Announcements

Youve Mistaken Me For Montgomery Gives A Fuck GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

The entire fandom asking Amazon for more casting news.

 

While all of the above is going on, Amazon is also releasing even more casting announcements (because apparently they love us?? Aw, shucks!!). Listed (roughly) in the order they were announced:

Out Of Breath GIFs | Tenor

Me, exhausted after typing all that out.

 

All of these announcements are absolutely amazing, and I cannot wait to see what other talent is involved in this show!!

 

 

 

September 2020 – Today: Endless Teasing

comedy central flirt GIF by The Jim Jefferies Show

Amazon logging into Twitter every week.

 

There are a lot of things in life that I love: my cats, my fiancé, reading Sam/Frodo fanfiction, watching The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions on 4K, and reading basically any Wonder Woman comic. All of those things bring me an incredible amount of joy, and I know that they’re there for me when I need them. (Well, except for my cats – sometimes they don’t want to be near me AND THAT’S OKAY EVEN THOUGH IT HURTS MY FEELINGS.)

Gif Gif animado gato lixando a unha | Gif Video - Os melhores gifs animados para o Orkut, Tumblr, Msn, Facebook, Blogs e Fóruns

My cat reading this.

 

Things I do not like include: being asked to work on the weekends, figuring out how to use a shower that isn’t mine, large birds, and being teased. I hate being teased. If a friend comes up to me and says, “Guess what?” and then actually makes me guess? Friendship over. We’re done. If you know that my preferred name is “James” and you call me “Jim” or “Jimmy”? You’re dead to me.

GIF by Zack Kantor - Find & Share on GIPHY

Don’t call me Jimmy. *stern face*

 

Yet, somehow, Amazon has figured out a way to tease me that I love: releasing clips of a TV series that I am super-duper excited about! Don’t get me wrong, I wish there were more, but HOO BOY could I talk about these clips for hours if someone would let me. (Oh, wait, someone is!)

Let’s go through them one-by-one (click on the headers for links to the announcements):

 

September 9, 2020 – The Winespring Inn

Receptionists GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Marin al’Vere at the front desk of The Winespring Inn.

 

This is the first video we’ve seen of the set, and it was MASTERFULLY done. It’s an 11-second clip that starts on a copy of The Eye of the World describing The Winespring Inn. The book is slowly lowered, and… there it is. The Winespring Inn, red roof and all. As I’m writing this, I’ve watched it at least ten times, and the birds’ sounds in the background of the video are just really, really relaxing.

 

October 28, 2020 – First Audio

Baywatch Dog in action! - GIF on Imgur

Perrin jumping into the river.

 

GOOSEBUMPS, Y’ALL. In this 16-second clip, you hear the screaming, the sounds of battle, and then a voice saying, “You ready?” (NO I AM NOT, VOICE). Another voice responds, “No” (WHAT DID I TELL YOU?), and the response is, “Me either.” (THANK YOU FOR LISTENING) followed by the sounds of splashing. The consensus is that this is Egwene and Perrin jumping into the River Arinelle after Shadar Logoth, and hearing those voices is AMAZING.

 

December 2, 2020 – The Heron-Marked Sword

Don’t sue us for making a gif of this clip, Amazon, but it’s JUST SO COOL.

 

This one is different from the previous clips, and it sets the tone for the next few. In this, we get to see the description of the sword in the books, pencil sketches, a 3D design, construction, and then a picture of it actually on set, with the sounds of battle in the background (probably Winternight). This kind of behind-the-scenes stuff is what I live for with television and movies. I love seeing concept art, sketches, and just the amount of work that goes into what you actually see on screen, because it’s a lot.

 

December 23, 2020 – Thom’s… Guitar?

El Dorado Playing Guitar GIF - ElDorado PlayingGuitar Disney - Discover & Share GIFs

Thom in a battle.

 

Okay, this one definitely deviates from the books, but pretty much everyone agrees that it’s a solid change that makes sense when you’re adapting to television. Thom’s flute is obviously a key part to the story, but it’s not as easy to get an actor to fake playing a flute while also speaking in chant – it’s much easier to fake playing a guitar, and it leaves your mouth visible. This clip shows a line of direction from the script stating that Thom has a guitar, pencil sketches, 3D designs, construction, and then then a picture of it on set, with Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin saying in a voiceover, “Donation for a Gleeman?” CHILLS.

 

January 15, 2021 – Concept Art

Teh lurd of teh rings its beautiful GIF on GIFER - by Kagamand

Me, looking at the concept art… It’s so beautiful.

 

Okay, like I said earlier, I really, really love concept art. I own so many art books from movies that I just like to open and look at to relax. I also really, really love Rafe Judkins. So… this video just combines two of my favorite things. The video opens with Rafe talking about the themes of The Eye of the World while showing five different pieces of concept art: two men at a bridge, a village festival, a tinker encampment, riders on horseback crossing a stream, and a lone rider in a shadowy city. Some of these are pretty straightforward as to what they’re depicting, but others have us guessing. Regardless, they’re all absolutely stunning, and I really hope that the show comes out with an art book featuring concept art!

 

February 17, 2021 – The Ruby-hilted Dagger

The Snark Theater — Doctor Who S9 — Episode 5

Mat, playing with his dagger, wondering why Rand is looking at him oddly.

 

Okay, so, DON’T HATE ME, but I’m just not a fan of Mat in the early books. His entire emo journey with the dagger and hating all of his friends really soured how I viewed his character. In the later books, he becomes a really awesome character, but early on? Ugh. I had to force myself to read them.

Regardless, the ruby-hilted dagger is a prevalent artifact in the series from beginning to end, and a lot of people really love Mat, so this was a fantastic reveal from Amazon. In the video, you see a line from the script describing the dagger, and then the video moves to a dark hallway and a man’s hand opening a gold box, removing a dagger. A voice (probably Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon) says: “Alright, let’s make a deal.” Like I said, I don’t particularly care for Mat in the early books, but hearing him say that is just so in-character, and it makes me so, so excited to watch this scene.

 

March 17, 2021 – Moiraine

Brooklyn 99 Brasil

Me, seeing the clip.

 

Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred by Corey Lansdell

 

Honestly, it’s been a month since this clip was released and I’m still recovering. I’ve mentioned it before, but Moiraine is my absolute favorite character. I was so excited when Rosamund Pike was announced as Moiraine. An amazing artist, Corey Lansdell, created concept art with Rosamund as Moiraine in the weeks after the announcement and it is STUNNING.

It’s only a five-second clip (because, again, Amazon loves to tease us), but in it you hear a woman’s voice say, “Do not underestimate the women in this tower.” Then, Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred appears with her eyes closed. She opens them, and a blinding light covers the screen. In typing this section, I’ve watched it at least 50 times, and it never. gets. old.

If you’re confused as to when Moiraine would say “Do not underestimate the women in this tower” during the show, you’re definitely not alone. However, Rafe confirmed in a Q&A immediately following the teaser release that Rosamund Pike recorded this audio specifically for the teaser and the exact audio won’t be in the show. Honestly? That’s even more cool. I love that Rosamund Pike is so on board with the show and her character that she came back to record something specifically for a 5-second clip. And honestly, if this is what channeling is going to look like in the show, I am so down.

 

 

 

April 2021 – Wait, That’s It?

Theres Gotta Be More GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Please, Amazon, may I have some more??

 

Well, it looks like that’s it. Four thousand words, 34 GIFs, and a whole bunch of excitement and speculation. I guess that’s going to have to tide me over until JordanCon!!

See you in July!!

 

Artist Interview with Charles Urbach

Artist Interview with Charles Urbach

One of my favorite parts of JordanCon is strolling through the dealers hall and art show. You can feel the creativity in the air, and there are so many talented and inspiring creators to meet. 

For 20+ years Charles Urbach’s colored pencil work has appeared on book covers, RPGs, board games, and collectible card games, including: Magic: The Gathering, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and A Game of Thrones. He is a 2018 Chesley Award winner and instructor at events around the world. 

In addition to being a prolific artist, world-builder, and storyteller, Charles is one of the most down-to-earth, approachable, and encouraging professionals I’ve ever encountered. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview him about his career and to share this blog with my #jordanconfam. 

For more beautiful art, be sure to check out Charles’ Etsy shop and follow him on Facebook….  

Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CharlesUrbachArt

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/CharlesUrbachArt

Without further ado, here’s the interview…

 

What’s the best part of being an award winning Sci-fi and Fantasy artist?

Experience, and the freedom that comes with it. 30 years of working professionally as an artist teaches you how to face and overcome a lot of challenges. In that time, if you’re learning and growing, working humbly, diligently, and mindfully, you build the confidence and wisdom to make choices and set your own goals and boundaries. Like any career pursued with passion and skill, the hardships, choices, victories, losses, and sacrifices you face inform the person you become.

 

What originally inspired you to become an artist?

I encountered fantasy and science fiction on television and in books in the 1970s, at a very young age. My family enjoyed genre entertainment and was successful in the music industry. This fostered an appreciation for imaginative storytelling and understanding of a life in creative expression. I was encouraged to learn and create. Even before I could read the Lord of the Rings, the covers of the books drew me into an imaginary world. I barely understood what it was about, but I made up my own stories based on those covers. I would do that with all the visual worlds I saw in books, film, and TV – even after I could read and understand them better. I loved extrapolating beyond the confines of the stories presented. In the early 80’s I encountered the famous “red box” edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and Larry Elmore’s cover art for that was particularly inspirational. Seeing his work, and that of other illustrators in publishing and gaming, gave my interest in world-building a direction. Their work showed me there was a career in drawing the things I loved. Since then, I’ve never wanted to do anything but write and draw.

 

What of your original inspiration and motivation for becoming an artist have you held onto throughout your career?

The sense of wonder, unlimited potential, and world-building without boundaries. As a creative professional, more than any other career, the opportunities to learn, explore, and express ideas are endless.

 

Most rewarding moment of your art career so far?

Seeing the successes of artists I’ve mentored. Teaching other artists and helping them succeed based on hard work, critical thinking, perseverance, humility, and ethical behavior has been a part of my work from the beginning. I’ve been in the field long enough now to see them achieve success and pass those values onto other artists.

 

What’s your favorite thing to draw?

It’s not specific subject matter, but any project where I’m allowed creative freedom. I love exploring all kinds of genres, worlds, and ideas. The joy comes from the freedom to find what I connect with in a project and explore it.

 

The pandemic has presented many dilemmas and setbacks for artists this year, especially those who use events like conventions to network and sell their work. What have you done to stay resilient and pivot during this challenging time?

There were two principles I followed through 2020.

From my first job in art as a graphic designer, I’ve emphasized diversity in my education, skill set, and work ethic. I’ve always tried to adapt my work and methods to the circumstances at hand. Challenge is the norm in an art career and learning to face and adapt to adversity is critical for success. It’s trendy now for artists to specialize and follow what influencers and self-appointed teachers tell them – and there can be short-term advantages to that – but my approach has always been to build a slower but more enduring model by diversifying. My personality is inclined toward that, but more importantly, I’ve seen the benefits from it. All along, I’ve worked hard to build as many diverse relationships and skills as possible – many outside what people would consider the community and culture of art. Covid presented unparalleled difficulties, but I was able to source the prior relationships and skill sets I’d developed, as well as reach out to the fans and supporters who have always been the base of what I do. That diverse support structure was enough to get by and prepare for what would come after.

The second principle I embraced was a commitment to readiness for the post-Covid world. Even with limited resources, I put as much effort as I could into building relationships, finding new ways to market my work, and making new art ready for the opportunities that would inevitably return. I tried to look past the immediate difficulties and focus tangibly on the future. It wasn’t always easy to do that, but even a small effort kept the gears moving forward.

 

One of my favorite quotes is, “It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” 2020 was very dark indeed, but I tried to live and work with a spark of light in my heart and mind.

 

If you could give aspiring artists one piece of advice, what would it be?

Think for yourself: Think critically, independently, and creatively about every facet of your artistic journey. Creativity doesn’t end at the edge of your sketch pad. Ask challenging questions of yourself and others and measure the answers against common sense and what you know to be true. Look for patterns and power structures in the individuals and institutions you encounter and always search for the “why” behind what you find. Apply the same culture and standards of critique to the people and institutions who would impose critique on you. Embrace new ideas and learning, but don’t believe and internalize the negative reinforcement you encounter. Learn from and understand those challenges for what they are and what they say about the world of art, but don’t let that or any group define you.

 

Favorite Pokémon? Why?

Baby Yoda. What do you mean he’s not a Pokemon? He’s got macarons and Jedi powers – kinda the best Pokemon ever. Grogu-mon I choose you!

 

Charles Urbach Artist

Charles Urbach, colored pencil artist

Find Charles online here:

 

 

#IsItAprilYet?

#IsItAprilYet?

My friends,
JordanCon is happy to say it is indeed April! It has been over a year since we could gather with our con family and we’re all feeling it. The Programming team has a gift for you. We have created some content to hold you over until JordanCon meets on July 16-18, 2021. Keep an eye on our social media and the JordanCon website for updates. Some great content will be dropping for you throughout our originally scheduled weekend of April 23-25. We miss you too and can’t wait until we can all gather together again.  For now, enjoy these pieces of JordanCon candy to hold you over.
XOXO
The Programming Team
JordanCon’s Anti-Harassment Policy

JordanCon’s Anti-Harassment Policy

A reminder about one of our most important policies, the JordanCon Anti-Harassment Policy:

Our Con is our family. We believe in looking out for and protecting every person who is part of our event and community.

JordanCon has a longstanding anti-harassment policy in place to help ensure a safe and worry-free environment for all participants.

We take this policy seriously, and encourage anyone who has experienced or witnessed harassment to report it immediately to staff.  All JordanCon staff attend mandatory training each year and will immediately escalate all reported incidents of harassment to the appropriate convention officer.

Please don’t be afraid to speak up, no matter who it is. Our anti-harassment policy applies equally to all attendees, including guests, volunteers, artists, panelists, media, vendors and staff. No exceptions.

You can read JordanCon’s Anti-Harassment policy on our website. Rest assured, JordanCon family, we ALWAYS have your back, and we’re working hard to make sure our policies and our actions reflect that.

For additional questions, please reach out to us at JordanCon@JordanCon.org

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!