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Old 12-31-2003, 09:26 PM
ceEllicott ceEllicott is offline
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great thread

I"ve enjoyed this thread.

Not sure if anyone really mentioned this one point though, so I'll say it...

for me, a BIG difference between illustrator and fine artist is DEADLINES.

I still get comments all the time that my art "looks like illustrations" -- ?? -- but after a few years of seeking and accepting jobs to illustrate, I finally gave up and went over to fine art/portraits/LEprints because the deadlines and constant client intervention sapped me. Well, those combined with over-abundance of competition/need to constantly market myself.

For someone with a lot of time and too much energy, illustration would be great. But if you (like me) already have a full plate and art is down on the list, you might have trouble making time for it all. Plus, the constant marketing doesn't exactly encourage the creative juices to flow....


I admire those of you who can do it!



cheryl
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Old 01-17-2004, 06:57 PM
donna726 donna726 is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Before the 20th century, narrative, storytelling, creating ambience is in almost all great art. Sistine Chapel, Vermeer's paintings, Degas' paintings of dancers, etc. etc.
There wasn't even an distinction between fine art and illustration back then. The only difference between fine art and illustration should be in the purpose of its creation.

That said, if you look at art school cirriculums, there is usually more emphasis on draughtmenship and visual storytelling in the illustration dept. than in fine art dept. So if I were to go to school now want to be an artist who tells story with my art, I would be better off being in an illustration program.
...how I regretted it...





Quote:
Originally Posted by ironhawk

I think the big difference between fine art and illustration is the narration an illustrator builds into his work. I didn't quite get that, until recently, but I understand it pretty readily, now.

Illustrators do more than simply make a painting to show off technique, or make a painting that will match the couch and drapes..... unless, of course, you're a gallery illustrator, in which case, you tread the fine line between fine art and illustration, which is an interesting area of work.

What illustrators work toward is conveying a message, an emotion, or simply, creating a ambience. It's more than painting or drawing, simply for the sake of enjoyment or relieving demons.
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:16 PM
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Allen Carter Allen Carter is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Hi AMO,

The main thing is to get someone to hire you. I have seen people who could not draw who were illustrators. They were good cheerleaders and could sell. You can draw stick figures with a crayon and get a job. I know people who do photo realism that can’t find work because they don’t use computers. Here in the west I know people who will not hire you if you use the word “portfolio”. Here it is “your book” and they will buy your style so don’t show them that you are diverse. That is to say that, If you do children’s illustrations a drawing of an oil well or a building will confuse them. If you want to show the oil well, hand them another book with oil wells. Don’t show anything that you do not want to spend 8 hours a day doing.
I started out working at a print shop while going to school. At that time an artist had to know how to print his work or it didn’t come out right. Printers are generally not artists. It is great when they are but most of them know as much about art as a Xerox. It doesn’t hurt to learn all you can and be your own personal best. Remember to keep your sense of humor. I once did a $600.00 sign that said free doughnuts. I also did a last minute “ quick and dirty” piece of artwork that got ripped of by a competitor who couldn’t do it justice because they didn’t know how it was done.

Allen
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Old 02-03-2004, 07:39 PM
prairie painter prairie painter is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Quote:
I once did a $600.00 sign that said free doughnuts.
LOL!!!!! I'll never be able to understand businesses, unless that was for Krispy Kream, I suspect they make quite a bit when they are handing out their free donuts.
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Old 02-03-2004, 08:58 PM
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

As my career is taking a turn from canvas paintings of subjects that I love to do for myself, to the larger scale mural paintings, I feel that I am becoming more an illustrator, than a fine artist. Though I still keep the first label. I don't think that you become an illustrator just because you are commissioned to paint a piece for a client. I have done paintings that require that I take my time, and let the creative energy take over and do it's thing. So that would make me a fine artist. A title that I have had for years.

I do believe that if you are trying to communicate a specific idea for a company, then you are more apt to be labled as an illustrator or graphic artist. I have made a point to cross over and become an illustrator/fine artist, because of the harsh competition out there. It can be hard for the would be illustrator to get in the door of some of the bigger companies that use illustrators. Recently I have been getting more clients calling me, than the reverse, that has been the pattern for the past few years. Why? It's not because I intended to be an illustrator, it's more because I got out there and made myself known. I have a portfolio, or the book, as has been mentioned by others, but I don't send one out to everyone that I want to get as a client, I basically play hard to get. They usually have to ask me if I have a portfolio, and may they view it. And trust me, it has everything from digital art, to some of my largest murals to date.

I guess it comes down to this: find out what you are good at. Tighten up those skills, and take all the small jobs that come along. They will help you find your style and keep it consistant. Then as your work gets known, you can build up the client's confidence in you, by showing other work that you have done for your previous clients. And the most important thing to remember is to be confident in yourself. If someone asks you, can you do this, or that, for us, then tell them you can. Not maybe, or I can try. That doesn't cut it. I think I have gotten more jobs just by jumping in with both feet.

I know with the way things are going for me now, I may be booked, six months at a time painting murals. It's funny how everything works out. I could've been another Thomas Kincade. Instead, I am my own, in style and in diversity. I like that.

Oh, and if you think that the route I took is the fastest way to go, forget it. It took some time for me to get where I am at. But patience is a virtue. I now name my own price, and I am working my way up. As a fine artist, I have the creative side still coming out. As an Illustrator, I get jobs as large as a 30' x 40' wall of the Last Supper.

I illustrate, therefore I am.

I paint, therefore I must be.


Terry
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:32 PM
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Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Hi all, this has been an interesting read! I was curious as to how others have made out going from illustrator to fine artist, or the other way around. I started out as an illustrator in training, got side-tracked into other work, took up fine art to destress, and now I am wondering why my paintings have the look of illustration to them. Talk about coming full circle.

I usually hang out in the pastel forum, but lately have been doing some sketching that seems more illustration, so I'm peeking in here to see what's going on in the commercial world of art.

For example, I did an oil pastel sketch of a chicken that I wanted to do a study of before a larger painting - ta da! illustration - or not?
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:12 PM
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zynnya zynnya is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

That's a cute chook, but it's not doing much, so if it was an illustration, would it be illustrating "Once there was a chook"?
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:04 PM
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Kathryn Wilson Kathryn Wilson is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zynnya
That's a cute chook, but it's not doing much, so if it was an illustration, would it be illustrating "Once there was a chook"?

Hi Zynnya: Thanks for taking the time to comment - I hadn't thought about action, although she will be going into a larger painting with her chicks behind a chicken-wire fence. She does look mad tho'.
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Old 04-06-2004, 06:16 PM
jb_art jb_art is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Someone above asked for recommendation for book on illustration techniques... unfortunately this book was published in 80's but it is very comprehensive overview of methods given in direct and practical format with excellent examples... you may be able to find it used through AMAZON or POWELLS online.
Title: Graphic Techniques for Designers and Illustrators
Author: Gunter Hugo Magnus
Pub: Barron
Date of Pub: 1980
ISBN#: 0-8120-5466-0
Lib of congress catalog card #: 86-3449

Another wonderful resource was publication called "Step by Step Graphics" also active in the 80s... I have archive of several years that I treasure... you may be able to locate in reference library or someone's personal archive... keep an eye out for them .. they are high quality professional how to resource with varied subject content month to month.

Hope this is helpful.

***

BTW - flag displayed should be USA.. fixed profile but it didn't update here.

Last edited by jb_art : 04-06-2004 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:20 PM
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artgurly artgurly is offline
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Cool Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

HI I have been following this interesting discussion and would like to add that all art may not be Illustration or Illustrative, but IMHO --all Illustration though it may be craft, is most definately art.
My work whether black and white line drawings, or fine art paintings, has always had a narrative quality and a familiar illustrative sensability, even as fine art. Because of this-- I find that my audience for these paintings tends to be young, or youthful souls of every age. I tend not to attract those interested in beach scenes, horses, or lush landscapes.

I am self-taught, but have drawn everyday of my life since I can remember.
I agree, a strong portfolio works wonders. But so does finding your niche, and knowing the right people. I have been very fortunate to have had a wonderful response to my work and have sold paintings frequently but would like to get into licensing stock illustration or illustrating cards and children's books. These seem harder to get into for me than the gallery or art show.

I had a wonderful review of my portfolio at the SCBWI Conference. I hope to attend more conferences and such to learn more about the children's book industry. Does anyone know of something similar for greeting cards??

Thanks and Good Luck!
Madison

www.madisonweiss.com and www.rhinocartoonz.com

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Old 05-09-2004, 11:22 AM
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PictureBookPJ PictureBookPJ is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Honestly, I believe that becoming an illustrator takes a unique kind of skill. A skill that determines how creative minded you really are.

To further explain this skill, I will give you an example of what I mean.

Ex. Almost anyone can learn to become a 'fine' artist right? All a person needs to do is to study the technical compostition of the objects of reference and be able to reproduce them correctly on their canvas. Having said that, not everyone has the ability to become a talented 'fine' artist.

In the case of an illustrator, it is the same. Anyone can learn how to technically draw pictures of what the text dictates. But... not everyone has the ability to become a talented illustrator.

If this true, what is the missing shared key element that determines whether or not a person has a true artistic talent?

I believe that any kind of true TALENT means to have the ability to visualize things in a way that is truly unique. It is to be able to go beyond the boundries of technicalities and produce something that truly says more than what is really there. To be able to create something that is able to be expressed to others in a way that words or objects never could alone. (this applies not only to art/illustration, but also to art forms like music, theatre, and dance etc.)

So... what does it take to be an illustrator?

The difference between those who make it and those who do not, is that hose who make it have that natural key ingredient. TALENT. Those who don't have it...well, they probably will not be able to stand out enough to make it as a professional illustrator.

-Just my Thoughts-
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Old 05-14-2004, 12:21 AM
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texasboy texasboy is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

A number of years ago, I was hired by a few different companies is different parts of America to design and illustrate different things for different clients with different kinds of printing and packaging. By that I am refering to: T-shirt art (flown down to St. Thomas to design for a few years), back in the states: printshops and advertising agencies for designing and illustrating:logos, brochures, package and/or point-of-purchase designs, magazine layouts, cover and spot illustrations, billboard designs, and airbrushed illustrations and photo touchup. I forgot about pencil, pen and ink illustrations. All of this before Photoshop and PC's. I got side-tracked with computers and colleges, universities, and businesses utilizing the 3D market. After a BA in graphic design and 12 years of experience, 3 years of graduate work with a 3.5 gpa and a dozen repeated requests by instructors to demonstrate to students how to do different things with 2D and 3D software to classes I got expelled from a San Francisco art school because I showed some other people's work to show some other students what some other artists had been doing. I never took credit or used the work as my own, but was nailed by a jerk that was appointed as dean of the department. After 2 years of anger I came to realize that I did not want to sit in front of a computer cranking out my art using a device that I had to constantly upgrade the software and hardware with. I'm happy painting with real brushes and paint even though I have a $100,000 student debt. If you want to paint, then paint. The difference between an illustrator and any other drawing, painting, or scuptor artist is that you are telling a story or stressing a point about a particular thing or things in 2D or 3D space. Money is an entirely different conversation or topic.
Hugs and kisses,
Texas boy that is trying to get out of the bay area as soon as possible.
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:49 AM
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zynnya zynnya is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

- would love to see some of your work, texasboy
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Old 05-14-2004, 03:40 PM
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texasboy texasboy is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

I'm getting some landscape paintings completed. As soon as I figure out how to download my camera into my computer (new to XP) I'll get pix on the web. My wife did not like the smell of oils so I'm getting used to acrylics with brushes. Previously I only used acrylics with airbrushing.
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Old 05-26-2004, 02:54 AM
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SWarren SWarren is offline
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Re: Question: What does it take to become an illustrator?

Hi all,

I am a professional illustrator. I haven't posted in this forum for a long while, but I thought I might have some thoughts to offer. I have even asked myself this question periodicaly, for a reality check. The two thoughts that keep coming to mind are DISCIPLINE and PERSERVERANCE(sp?).

For the first, even if I don't feel like I can emotionally get into an assignment, or the client isn't exactly someone I would have over for dinner--I remind myself that I am fortunate that they selected my artstyle instead of another artist's and I made them a promise (in the form of a legal contract) to create the best illustration I can offer. I put my business hat on, remember my "customer sevice" policies--and deliver the best product I can create, because this will always be my reputation. If there is no assignment on my plate--then I start creating new work for my portfolio (Occasionally, I go shopping for shoes--but that's just my little indulgence!).

I do believe in myself and like what I do. But I also know that different people have different tastes, so not everone will like my work. Of course, I am more interested in finding those who do! Therefore, I keeping promoting my work, through mailing postcards, advertising in books, magazines and illustrator websites, researching potential clients and sending email introductions, etc. Kinda like fishing...

Anyway, I hope I added something to the discusion.

Kind regards to all my fellow creatives.

Shari Warren aka SWarren
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