'Huh, you can draw - most artists in this town couldn't draw flies on a hot day!' This was the reaction of Chicago studio boss Frank on perusing my Skite Book when I was job hunting there thirty years ago ( he gave me a job!). Illustration has always been my fundamental talent and I believe there is no story I can't help tell, no text I can't enliven in some way - in some style.
I enjoyed newspaper work. At night the features editor would thrust a bunch of layouts at you with articles on a range of subjects and different shaped gaps left in the typography. By eight o'clock the next morning you'd need to supply illustrations in appropriate styles and shapes to plug the holes and the following day your work would be used to wrap fish and chips.
Ad agencies can have some colourful accounts but tend to be the most neurotic clients for an illustrator as they are buying on behalf of a client whose niggles they're trying to pre-empt. Publishers can agonize also because they're about to take a pricey punt on a book run but I'm increasingly working for them.
My most memorable illustration gig was as court artist at a murder trial providing full colour paintings of the judge and accused for the six o'clock news. (She was found guilty).
After being seduced by Photoshop ( airbrush techniques with no painstaking mask cutting, no laborious clean-up!) I'm increasingly returning to the old techniques. The happy accidents of a watercolor wash and the wild calligraphy of inky brushstrokes can take a lot of beating on a good day.
Options for Illustration
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