This past Sunday, nine SONSI members (including two brand-new members) and two guests gathered at the Harbourfront Community Centre in downtown Toronto for our 2011 Presentation Day.

First up, SONSI Treasurer and Membership Coordinator and Photoshop guru Jeremy Loranger showed us some extremely useful Photoshop tips regarding masks, blending, custom brushes, and much more. Now I know how to make a texture brush using a photograph as the basis! It is always a privilege to see how someone else makes use of the software.
Next up, Margaret McGuffin from Access Copyright explained what Access Copyright is and does, how it collects and distributes payments, and the benefits to becoming affiliated with Access Copyright. Turns out that visual artists comprise only 14% of all affiliates, therefore we’re only getting 14% of the funds distributed by Access Copyright. Join up, illustrators! Margaret also spoke a bit about an important copyright case that will be before the Supreme Court in December, and about the Harper Government’s copyright bill C-11, both of which could impact the rights of creators such as ourselves. SONSI members can contact me for a copy of Margaret’s presentation if they’d like to see it.
Third on the agenda, SONSI member Glendon Mellow talked about blogging, tweeting, RSS feeds, reverse image searches, and gave us some great reasons to use social media for promoting our work. Presenting one’s work online is topic to which Glendon has given much thought; he generously shared his conclusions and provided links to tips from others. I really like the quote he emphasized: “The big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.” – Cory Doctorow after Tim O’Reilly. Glendon posted the bones of his presentation on his blog for all to see, so be sure to check it out if you missed Presentation Day.
Lastly, I gave a presentation about contracts and what information illustrators should be sure to include, as well as a few tips based on my experiences.
I’d like to thank all of the presenters for their time and willingness to share their knowledge, and to Jeremy for his technical expertise during the presentation and for the use of his laptop. On behalf of all of the attendees, I’d like to express our deep gratitude to SONSI Vice-President and Secretary Elizabeth Pratt for organizing the refreshments and for having endured a grueling 3-hour (one-way) trip to downtown Toronto to deliver them. The TTC and the organizers of the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon deserve a scolding for not having posted a complete list of road closures, for not creating adequate detours, and for not warning streetcar travelers of altered routes and delays. Despite our late start, we still had a great day.

The audience's rapt attention is testament to Glendon's enthusiasm and thoughtfulness concerning social media