In the years when I dreamed of being an illustrator, I was somewhat aware of the competition that would be faced to enter and remain in the field. In those years, and probably up until the mid 90's, that competition was largely other American illustrators, with a few Brits thrown in, and the occasional European. For most intents and purposes, Canada doesn't exist for most Americans, so I didn't consider Canada very much (sorry), despite there being excellent illustrators there, too.
That's a lot of people as it is. But in the mid-90's, as the world shrunk to be small enough to fit in Cat-5 cabling, suddenly people from, well, just about everywhere started to appear. Really good artists: from Japan (where I expected them), Korea (which hadn't been on my radar until I worked for Nexon for a little while), Singapore, China, and less-noticed European countries like Hungary and so on.
Great--as if I didn't have enough competition to worry about! I think I was in denial about it for awhile, but I've learned that what it really means is that I'll have to work twice as hard now, at least, to stay afloat. So, if it forces me to be a better artist while introducing me to fantastic illustration, then good.
So a few months back I was asked to supply some text and images for the Chinese-produced "Fantasy Art Magazine," which I'd heard of, but had never seen in person. When I visited China in 2005, I couldn't even imagine how or where to look for it, or how to ask for it. I did so, and Vol. 33 features a nice 6-page spread on yours truly. The other artists featured are from Canada (see?), S. Korea, Japan, and UK. So I'm representin' the stars and stripes this time (I don't know if Alex Schomburg can do so properly, since he's dead).
Click images to see big versions, if you want to practice reading in Mandarin
So, practice reading your hanzi and we'll see you next week!