Perspective With No Vanishing Point.
A client was moving their offices and unearthed some 15 year old illustrations of mine that were most likely tucked away, in the back corner of a storage closet. Four of the pieces were my very first assignments for that agency. That work lead to a lasting relationship that I have valued since. I had stamped my studio address on the back of the art to ensure their safe return. Having no decent copies of the work prompted an encounter with my scanner to preserve them in the archives. In doing so, I thought to myself, “WOW, 30 years of illustrating has gone by like a flash."
Looking at my early work takes me back, remembering my starry-eyed outlook on the future while working late into many nights. The flashback also got me thinking about all the experience and insight that I could share with Art Buyers and Art Directors as well as fellow Illustrators. So many things have changed about how illustration is created and shared, but the core elements of making imagery seem much the same. I sense that those on the hiring end might like to know what I see as those core elements that may prompt a first illustration assignment or improve future assignment outcomes.
If my years in the trenches can help someone step over the threshold to commissioning work, then sharing is what I should do. I’ve loved illustrating my entire career and plan to do so as long as I'm able. I enjoy the creative process and working with creative people to solve visual problems. If you hang with me, over the next several installments, I’ll be contributing some quick reads that will weave together a thought process of better hiring practices, working experiences, and long-term relationships that could take the stress and worry out of buying, directing, and approving art.
This is my disclaimer. All illustrators work differently. I certainly don’t profess to be the standard-barer of process and working relationships, but as you read on, you may recognize common situations, obstacles, and complaints. The illustration business has had it’s ups and downs from the Golden Era of the 20’s and 30’s to the 60’s confident brush styles, to the 80’s air-brush takeover, the 90’s computer revolution, and now the resurgence of hand-crafted art styles in the 2000’s. Once we all got over the “stock” craze, Photoshop effects, and boundless criteria based search engines, it circled right back to where it all started by asking artists to fill the space with meaningful imagery. Interest in art for advertising and promotion lives on, ever-changing and framing who we are as a civilization. It’s frivolously important!
The first issue will discuss when to use illustration. It may seem obvious, but I might get you rethinking about why and when to make a commitment for that next assignment.