#Illustration Explorer | Preface
Let me be direct!
It’s funny how things go. I grew up drawing, painting, writing fiction and illustrating them, and I’ve spent much of my adult life promoting myself as an illustrator. At the same time, I produced digital graphics and thoroughly enjoyed photography but because I didn’t promote myself as strongly in the latter two disciplines, especially photography, many people had no idea that I was quite capable of these other visual arts.
When I started doing photography almost exclusively, that’s when people started to notice that I didn’t just draw and paint. I even experienced certain sarcastic so-and-so’s, who thought they knew me, getting their digs in; “Oh, he thinks he a photographer now!” Now? Seriously, I’ve been doing it for many years. Just because I didn’t invite you along for the ride of my life so that you could see all what I’ve been up to, doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly taken on something new.
The only now in this is that my photography has become so dominant in my repertoire over more recent years that I am coming across people who have no idea that I am originally an illustrator. Even some that I’ve previously told that I’m an illustrator completely forget what I’ve told them because they still haven’t seen that body of work from me.
It’s unfortunately true that for a lot of people, “Seeing is believing.”
Well, I’m still not giving up my photography but truthfully, it’s high time that I breathe new life into my illustrative roots. So, here I go.
This blog series is about facts about illustration. I won’t explore every type, style and movement of illustration that there has ever been, there’s just way too many. I’ll focus on those that are largely still practiced, and that I personally enjoy creating. Of course, I am illustrating this series.
From the outset, the first group of topics to be covered will be:
- Preface (you’re already there)
- Part 1 What is Illustration (and the difference between it and fine art)?
- Part 2 Opening to an Overview of Technical Illustration
- Part 3 The Conclusion to an Overview of Technical Illustration
- Part 4 Figurative Illustration
- Part 5 Dry Media for Figurative Illustration
- Part 6 Figurative Illustration — What Kind of Drawing?
Now, if you’re a professional or amateur career artist, the topics I address may be a little humdrum for you. I’m very excited that you might tune in but I’m not concerned if you don’t stick around long. Here’s why . . .
This series also serves to give me the chance to spit on my favourite myth. The myth of the starving artist.. I really enjoy showing people that the label “artist”, whether commercial or fine, is not synonymous with “deadbeat”.
So, if you are not an artist but have kids who are, and are worried about their futures, this series is written especially with you in mind. It’s a chance for you to learn about the worldwide commercial arts industry, and how to help your child embark on a successful art career path.
There still are a lot of parents who don’t know the potential of their children as artists, and only fully believe the constantly perpetuated typecasts. In this series, I will certainly shed very bright light on the low points of being an illustrator. I will also, nevertheless, put my foot straight up anyone’s baseless negative assumptions.
Similarly, this series is for those of you who possess a profound natural talent for visual art from the cradle but, at some point in your lives, you resisted the need to nurture your talent out of some notion that it wasn’t going to get you anywhere pragmatic. I hope that this series inspires you to get back to one of your greatest forms of personal expression and liberty. I hope that it motivates you to try to market some of your creations as a commercial artist, a fine artist or both.
Finally, if you’re interested in becoming a collector of fine art, and don’t yet understand or are even aware of the differences and similarities between fine art and commercial art, then I hope this series will heighten your awareness in terms of aesthetics.
You’ve got only one life to live. Experience and absorb as much of it as you can, and enjoy it!
I am awaiting the next article with great interest. I am amazed by your photo, to realise it is ‘created’ by software under your direction I presume….want to learn/know more.
This is an old piece created with Beta test software of Terragen. Even at that stage, the software was remarkable for producing realistic low cost landscapes. Planetside — the creators, did a profound job. Since breaking into the mainstream, they’ve created Terragen 4, and they have stiff competition with software like Autodesk Maya by Alias Systems Corporation.
Should be an interesting series.
I hope to show realities and possibilities in artistic expression and business, especially to those who aren’t well acquainted with what goes into an illustration but think they know. Hopefully, I can give them enough of a taste to make they understand what it is like to do this kind of work.
The photo looks really convincing. We will all be replaced soon.
I’m so glad you said that because I intend to show that while technology has modernized aspects of illustration beautifully, it has also already caused big problems for the industry (I think so anyway, and you’ll see what I mean in subsequent posts). You’re so right that where aspects of illustration may be going technologically, could spell more disaster for a number of visual artists and perhaps non-artists as well. It’s going to be a delicate balance walking into the future.
Looking forward to reading the series.
Thank you, Steven. There will be lots to cover in the coming months.