With times being so hard for illustrators right now, I’m always impressed and encouraged to see fellow commercial artists come with with new ideas to keep themselves busy and keep revenue flowing. Like illustrator friends here in BC, Doug Jones and Fiona Richards, who started a smart little side business called Cartolina, selling stationery featuring “centuries old block prints and antique cartouches, combined with twentieth century lead type, contemporary colours and our own original illustrations.”
And it’s not just paper cards; they also have an accompanying iPhone app which is really quite delightful and brings a whole new spin on doing e-cards:
This app is all about sending brief but beautiful emails and texts using one of our customizable Cartograms. Choose from a selection of beautiful designs, customize your message and pretty up someone’s inbox! Includes an integrated calendar which sends you automatic reminders.
I attempted getting into the stationery business years ago, and it was harsh. It’s hard work to carve out a spot for yourself in an industry dominated by two or three giant aggressive companies, so I’m glad to see Fiona and Doug making a go of it and being successful.
If you haven’t been reading Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart – go check it out. The weekly webcomic is about a guy investigating the death of his grandfather and gets sucked into a surreal underworld. It’s over 100 strips deep and it just won the Eisner Award for Best digital comic. I ate the whole thing in one sitting and loved it.
ICameron says the comic is “a series of personal exercises for me, one of which is to allow myself to be comfortable with less-than-perfect artwork, as long as the storytelling is clear.”
I’ve been talking to a lot of illustrators lately, and everywhere it’s the same story: times are tough. Extremely tough.
I’m curious to know how other illustrators out there are doing, so I created two quick little (informal and rather unscientific) polls. The first asks how your assignments are doing this year; the second asks how well those assignments are generally paying.
I hope you’ll take a second to, uh, “vote.” Comments are also enabled on both polls at Illustrators: How many jobs are you getting this year? and Illustrators: How well are your jobs PAYING this year? if you’d like to add more information. And if you have ideas on how to make your illustration business profitable during These Hard Economic Times (drink!), please feel free to share them.
Drawn! is number one. Second place is Today’s Inspiration, by Leif Peng, who is also one of Drawn’s contributors. The list goes on to cite many of our colleagues with whom we have been trading links for several years. Digger’s list is a nice, easily bookmarkable resource for enthusiasts, professionals, and art directors.
Will Schofield shares another slew of fantastic Japanese illustrations from books he’s collected. The above is a children’s book cover by Seiichi Horiuchi from 1972.
Susumu Eguchi Illustration, Poster for a children’s science exhibition in the Tobu department store, 69-70
Book spreads, artist unknown, ca. 1964
(please leave a comment if you know who this is)
Haruyo Kawashima, illus. for Kansatsu ehon kindabukku, vol. 6, no. 7, 1933 (detail)
See the rest at Will’s blog.
OK, I’m back home now from 12 days of ICON followed by San Diego Comic-Con. At both events there was a lot of talk about how 2-D illustration is (once again) “dead”. Previously killed by photography, illustration is now suffering death-by-animation. Or rebirth, as many point out. Naturally, the debate was instigated by Adobe, purveyor of motion-graphics software, and publishers such as WIRED and the NY Times, who are increasingly moving to online and iPad delivery. Graphic media writer Michael Dooley in Print Magazine’s online presence has assembled comments from ICON attendees about it. By the way, the RSS feed on Imprint’s column for illustration is worth subscribing to.
Of course, just as the illustration community is discussing the impending motion-graphics turn as the event of the immediate future, those who have been immersed in it are already sticking it in the museum. You animators might like to submit your work to this exhibition being curated by the Guggenheim:
Developed by YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum in collaboration with HP, YouTube Play hopes to attract innovative, original, and surprising videos from around the world, regardless of genre, technique, background, or budget. …Now through July 31, 2010, participants are invited to submit new or existing videos created within the last two years at youtube.com/play. Submissions may include any form of creative video, including animation, motion graphics, narrative, non-narrative, or documentary work, music videos, and entirely new art forms.
Meanwhile, more illustrators are transitioning into gallery venues with their still images. The photo here is of the exhibition opening at Nucleus Gallery, showing works by attendees at ICON. Is this where illustration art will increasingly go if motion graphics is the medium of the future?
I’m at ICON in LA, and if you’re in the area you really ought to try and get in to one of the events.
At the book table, I was really excited to find this textbook for drawing by Michael Fleishman. As someone who has taught drawing in the past and may do so again in the future, I have to say there are very few textbooks I would recommend. Instructional books have never been terribly exciting – you best learn to draw by drawing, in my opinion, and the old classics like The Natural Way to Draw and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain are still good. But kinda boring.
Fleishman’s book is for illustrators, for a start. Secondly, it isn’t one person’s magic-bullet how-to book. It’s more a compendium of advice from dozens of contemporary illustrators, using their words. Third, there are billions of images in all styles – from the high realism of the cover image (by David Bowers) to the best crudest sketch to the most wacked out stuff. Fourth, although it features work and words from some of the current hottest illustrators, it isn’t limited to them. There’s input here from every kind of illustrator, many of them instructors. While the general flavor is “American” looking, it includes artists from all over the world. Finally, this is the ultimate how-to book for people who hate reading, typeset with lots of headings with text broken up in swallowable amounts, that you can open it at random, scan, and get something out of.
Although it offers the most to those who know the least, I also found it interesting to read what people I know are saying about their own work. Perhaps the most fabulous aspect of the book is that it imparts not just great tips and approaches to drawing, but it communicates a way of life. It has things to say about Fulfillment. For people like us who live and breathe the making of images, and want to learn more or initiate someone else into this life, this is the illustrator’s guide to the galaxy.
There was a request for me to post some shots of the page layouts, so with Michael Fleishman’s input I selected the following:
As you can see, there’s a great balance of images and text, and a variety of images. I especially like the headphone girls there by Yuko Shimizu. And each chapter ends with a summary and ideas for exercises.
What started off as a fun drawing challenge between artists Stacy Curtis and Guy Francis has now become a very popular creative blog where other illustrators are now encouraged to take part in the Dueling Banjo Pigs Project. Artists like Ted Dawson, Dan Thompson, Rick Kirkman, Mike Lester, Mike Lynch, and Paula J. Becker have all contributed delightful piggy illustrations.
So get in on the piggy banjo act and send in your drawing, too! Sqeeeeeee!!
I have a real soft spot for old printing and type specimen books, so I adore the beautiful scans over at BibliOdyssey of a German printer’s book called Schrift- und Polytypen-Proben (Fonts and examples of different type).
Follow the trail of links and you’ll discover a treasure of type, engravings, and flourishes to inspire your next ornamental illustration project.
Scampd is a new blog/showcase devoted to celebrating contemporary advertising illustration. From the site:
For a time, we silently bore witness as advertising award shows and design annuals killed off their once glorious illustration categories. But enough is enough, and we have decided to do something about it.
Illustrators, art directors, and agencies are invited to submit their work to be featured.