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Thread: Is there an Illustration industry??

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    Is there an Illustration industry??

    I'm studying Illustration for my Graphic Design course, and if anybody could answer some questions you'd truly be helping me out!

    1) Currently I view the Illustration industry as a vast, deep ocean that youíre bound to be completely lost in unless you have the biggest, shiniest boat. And you only get the big, shiny boat if your Aunt, twice removed on you motherís side, knows someone, or of course if youíve gotten lucky and won the lottery.Do you think this is unecessarily negative?

    2) I see ALOT of same-old same-old illustration, especially with pen and ink illustration. There is definately a current fashion, even to illustration, that people never realise until years later. Do you think it's better to stick to a trend in order to get work, or should you stick to your true identity as an artist and do exactly the kind of work you want?

    3) I also feel that Illustration is underappreciated by general society, even more so than Graphic Design. Illustration is never categorised as itís own thing, itís simply under the wing of Graphic Design, or under the wing of fine art. Therefore, there is no illustration industry, it is just viewed as part of a bigger entity. Do you agree with this statement?


    Thankyou for your time,

    Louisa Brooks
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    1) Yes, it is far too negative. It doesn't really matter if you know someone who know's someone, or if your super rich. If your work is awful people won't want it so you won't get hired. While someone who is good at illustration is eventually going to get noticed and given work.

    2) Depends on how much you need the money. If you stick to a trend I think there is more of a chance that you will be hired sooner than if you do your own thing but nobody is really interested. There is a possibility that you could be hugely successful as a fine artist straight away, but it is a lot more risky than doing what you know is going to sell.

    3) I disagree with this. If you wanted an illustration you would most likely go to an illustrator rather than a graphic designer or fine artist ( not that you can't have elements of graphic design or fine art in an illustration) and therefore they sell something different so in my opinion they would be in a different industry.

    Hope that makes sense
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    [QUOTE=xLouisax;2732132]I'm studying Illustration for my Graphic Design course, and if anybody could answer some questions you'd truly be helping me out!

    1) Currently I view the Illustration industry as a vast, deep ocean that youíre bound to be completely lost in unless you have the biggest, shiniest boat. And you only get the big, shiny boat if your Aunt, twice removed on you motherís side, knows someone, or of course if youíve gotten lucky and won the lottery.Do you think this is unnecessarily negative?

    This is false; if you have good work you will get hired. This is also a very amateur attitude that does more harm to your career than good.



    2) I see ALOT of same-old same-old illustration, especially with pen and ink illustration. There is definately a current fashion, even to illustration, that people never realise until years later. Do you think it's better to stick to a trend in order to get work, or should you stick to your true identity as an artist and do exactly the kind of work you want?

    Illustration, unlike gallery art is not for your own self aggrandizement, you must use it in service of someone else's idea, that is why it is illustrative. There is no trend other than what the viewers respond to; and publishers hire. When you look back over its history you see this. Artists have always pushed styles but they were good at what they did, I recommend 'The Illustrator in America' as an example of the history of illustration

    3) I also feel that Illustration is under appreciated by general society, even more so than Graphic Design. Illustration is never categorized as itís own thing, itís simply under the wing of Graphic Design, or under the wing of fine art. Therefore, there is no illustration industry, it is just viewed as part of a bigger entity. Do you agree with this statement?

    Actually that is wrong, any good illustrator is a good graphic designer. Any good illustrator is also a good artist. Gallery art with its grant writing, begging for money or painting the same motif again and again, can't claim any high ground against illustration. Graphic design is a subset of illustration, because it focuses on the abstarct part of the process. The only reason it isn't in schools is because most of the people teaching illustration never actually did it for a living. Far easier to be a graphic designer and not have to learn to draw and paint representationally. There are exceptions, but they aren't the majority. Check your facts, more people will go see a Norman Rockwell show than go to a modern art exhibit.

    I would worry about getting accomplished and forget about style and trends.
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    Thankyou so much for your reply, it does make sense
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    Thankyou for your insight, and for the kick up the arse you gave me for being so negative! ^_^
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    Please don't take this wrong, but I find it strange that the first two questions are so obviously biased and false, and from the way they're worded, they appear to be a personal belief of yours to some degree, that they make the statement you made in #3 almost comical/surreal. Did you even do any research before posting this, or are you looking for some kind of confirmation?

    ...and...for the record, just so you understand where I'm coming from; professional graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, writer, and exhibiting sculptor, painter, printmaker, textile artist, set designer, former design/production/illustration teacher, and President/CEO of four design studios/advertising agencies for nearly 45 years.

    ...and...(2), ILLUSTRATION is older than fine art, is a totally separate and self-supporting field in the modern world, and IS tightly tied to the advertising/graphic design fields because it is the visual arm of those fields by its very nature.
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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    I disagree with dpaint that a graphic designer is an underqualified illustrator. I also disagree that a good illustrator is by definition a good graphic designer.
    As a GD I find this asssessment trivialises the field, and the claim that its 'easy' to be GD
    is quite insulting actually.

    Typography, page layout, web design, flash animation, photography, digital pre-press, brand marketing, packaging design, signage etc...

    Few of these things are in the realm of the illustrator. Being able to draw an abstract representation of the subject matter in an article does not qualify you to do 90% of Graphic Design. Illustration ability is merely an asset to the GD, it allows the GD to employ his own artwork in his (or her) designs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExiledRed View Post

    Typography, page layout, web design, flash animation, photography, digital pre-press, brand marketing, packaging design, signage etc...

    Few of these things are in the realm of the illustrator. Being able to draw an abstract representation of the subject matter in an article does not qualify you to do 90% of Graphic Design. Illustration ability is merely an asset to the GD, it allows the GD to employ his own artwork in his (or her) designs.
    Yeah thats not insulting. What you are talking about is craft, not art. Are you really going to compare paste up and picking fonts to JC Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell, Bernie Fuchs Mark English or Sterling Hundley? Give me a break.
    We disagree And you are right my opinion of GD as a skill is lower than good illustration. The golden age of illustration happened because people knew their place and stayed out of the illustrators way. Read any of the biographies of the illustrators and their editors of the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Yeah thats not insulting. What you are talking about is craft, not art. Are you really going to compare paste up and picking fonts to JC Leyendecker, Dean Cornwell, Bernie Fuchs Mark English or Sterling Hundley? Give me a break.
    We disagree And you are right my opinion of GD as a skill is lower than good illustration. The golden age of illustration happened because people knew their place and stayed out of the illustrators way. Read any of the biographies of the illustrators and their editors of the time.
    I'm not sure if its the internet, but you do really come across as aggressive and condescending. Im not making any distinctions between craft and art, merely asserting that a good illustrator isn't a good GD by definition. I'm also not making comparisons between the work of successful Illustrators and that of graphic designers, the comparison is meaningless.

    I dont rank one skillset over the other, there's no competition here for which is 'higher'. Again, trivialising the field to just 'paste up' and picking fonts' is not only insulting, its ignorant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xLouisax View Post
    1) Currently I view the Illustration industry as a vast, deep ocean that youíre bound to be completely lost in unless you have the biggest, shiniest boat. And you only get the big, shiny boat if your Aunt, twice removed on you motherís side, knows someone, or of course if youíve gotten lucky and won the lottery.Do you think this is unecessarily negative?
    Yes, it is negative. The illustration field is so large and varied that many people can find their own comfortable niche in it without getting "lucky". It helps if you're creative (and persistent) about how you market yourself. If you're a graphic designer as well, that should open even more doors.

    It may sometimes seem as though only the stars can make it when just a few trendy/famous illustrators get more than the usual amount of hype (appearing in all the illustration annuals, etc.) However, just because a few names are especially prominent doesn't mean there aren't thousands of other less-prominent illustrators making a good living.

    2) I see ALOT of same-old same-old illustration, especially with pen and ink illustration. There is definately a current fashion, even to illustration, that people never realise until years later. Do you think it's better to stick to a trend in order to get work, or should you stick to your true identity as an artist and do exactly the kind of work you want?
    There are trends, as with everything else in life, but there's also a lot more variation than you think. If you only look at illustration annuals and contests, they tend to have a narrow stylistic focus based on what the judging committee likes, which can give a very skewed view of the illustration field. In reality the field is broad enough to accommodate many, many styles at a time. Look around. You'd be surprised.

    I'd never recommend trying to force yourself into a style that doesn't suit you... It's good to be aware of general trends in design, and it definitely helps if you're flexible enough to be able to use them when necessary. But if you're always limited to aping a current popular style, you'll never develop your own presence.

    Find a balance. Develop your own look, but stay open to trends; and seek markets and clients that are most appropriate for the kind of work you like to do.

    3) I also feel that Illustration is underappreciated by general society, even more so than Graphic Design. Illustration is never categorised as itís own thing, itís simply under the wing of Graphic Design, or under the wing of fine art. Therefore, there is no illustration industry, it is just viewed as part of a bigger entity. Do you agree with this statement?
    What....... Where are you getting this from? Of course there's an illustration industry. Most of the top art schools have an illustration department. I graduated with a BFA in illustration from Parsons. Graphic design was a whole different department on another floor. Fine art was in a completely different building on the other side of town. There was no overlap. Last I checked RISD, Pratt, and SVA also had illustration departments, separate and distinct from the graphic design and fine art departments.

    Children's book illustrators, editorial illustrators, storyboard artists, concept artists, fashion illustrators, illustrators who do book covers, illustrators who do images for advertising, cartoonists and animators, greeting card and licensing artists, etc, etc... these are all illustrators. They are not "graphic designers" or "fine artists", and I've never seen them classified as such. And many of them get a helluva lot more popular acclaim than a lot of graphic designers or fine artists.

    And if there's no such thing as an illustration industry, explain the legions of Illustration black books, annuals, and contests, explain the Society of Illustrators, and explain why organizations such as the Graphic Artists Guild classify illustration as a distinct category?

    If anything, it's graphic designers who get a bum deal - most people don't know they exist, they're just an invisible presence behind the design. And it doesn't help that a lot of people think graphic design is way easier than it actually is...

    Of course you can combine illustration and graphic design, if you want. If you're an illustrator, it's a good idea to know at least some fundamental graphic design skills, as that can broaden the range of jobs you get.
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    I'll be honest in admitting that my questionnaire is very negative, and it was like that because I thought it would recieve a range of responses.

    I personally believe, deep in my heart that as long as you are truly a hard-working talented artist you can indeed make a living, one day.

    But I find it difficult to understand when some people are extremely deluded about the industry, and that students for example have this idea that they'll graduate and automatically get a sweet job and it will be smooth sailing from there. You have to be honest, this example isn't very realistic?

    Maybe that's why I've used negativity in the past as a motivator to work harder?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExiledRed View Post
    Typography, page layout, web design, flash animation, photography, digital pre-press, brand marketing, packaging design, signage etc...
    mmmwell, Flash animation that involves flying type is in the realm of the graphic designer, but Flash animation that involves cartoon characters running around is squarely in the realm of the illustrator.

    Though I do agree with you that graphic designers get a lot less credit than they deserve. GOOD design actually takes a lot of thought, and awareness of aesthetics, design history, trends, semiotics, marketing, etc. I do illustration primarily, but I also do graphic design on the side, so I know how difficult it can be to come up with a really classy-looking design that works with the media it's intended for (in web design especially. Ugh.)

    I've also worked with designers who have focused purely on graphic design all their lives, and I know I can't design as well as they can. There's definite skill involved. The best designers manage to get that extra level of elegance in their designs that I can never quite seem to catch...
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    Quote Originally Posted by xLouisax View Post
    I'm studying Illustration for my Graphic Design course, and if anybody could answer some questions you'd truly be helping me out!

    1) Currently I view the Illustration industry as a vast, deep ocean that you’re bound to be completely lost in unless you have the biggest, shiniest boat. And you only get the big, shiny boat if your Aunt, twice removed on you mother’s side, knows someone, or of course if you’ve gotten lucky and won the lottery.Do you think this is unecessarily negative?
    No, you're exactly right. The world is massively unfair, there's nothing you can do about it, and nothing is your fault. Quit now.

    Quote Originally Posted by xLouisax View Post
    2) I see ALOT of same-old same-old illustration, especially with pen and ink illustration. There is definately a current fashion, even to illustration, that people never realise until years later. Do you think it's better to stick to a trend in order to get work, or should you stick to your true identity as an artist and do exactly the kind of work you want?
    Again, bingo. Everything sucks, there's no originality anyway, so why even bother? The best you can do is find something successful, rip it off, milk it for all it's worth until it inevitably collapses, then move on the the next big thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by xLouisax View Post
    3) I also feel that Illustration is underappreciated by general society, even more so than Graphic Design. Illustration is never categorised as it’s own thing, it’s simply under the wing of Graphic Design, or under the wing of fine art. Therefore, there is no illustration industry, it is just viewed as part of a bigger entity. Do you agree with this statement?
    You've completely convinced me, screw this illustration stuff, I'm going to air conditioner repair school.



    ***

    SERIOUSLY, if the above is what you've gotten out of your school's program, either they've done a lousy job of teaching, or you've done a lousy job of learning.
    Last edited by Elwell; May 6th, 2010 at 02:48 PM.

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