Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Couple CA Articles

This month is the Communication Arts Annual Illustration issue. They had a couple of interesting articles:

This one called Riding the Wave I found rather depressing in a lot of ways because it seems to indicate that a career as an illustrator is over. Maybe I read it wrong but I am curious what others think...

On a different subject, they also have an article about pitching a graphic novel to a publisher. It is not online yet but I will post a link if they put it up.

By the way, was anyone local in the annual?


  1. A little depressing. But we're all experiencing the bottom of that wave to some degree, and I don't see that she's saying it's over. Just changing-big time. I also think it was a big plug for the program-which does sound great-so a little emphasis on the down might push more people into looking at it. I find myself thinking a lot about getting an MFA in Writing for children. I have so many stories in various stages that to just work on them would be wonderful.

  2. I'm lucky to have switched to a day job 7 years ago. It's scary that offers for illustration jobs are almost 1/2 of what I was making when I first started freelancing 9 years ago, plus clients want more rights. I'm able to turn these down now, but I know there are plenty of us out there who can't.
    All I can say is hang in there. When this turns around, companies will probably bring back the creative budget or re-hire the creative departments that they gave the boot to as the axe began to fall.

  3. It's the first two paragraphs that are a little bleak, but no worse than we already know by experience and instinct.

    This MFA program gives illustrators an opportunity to create their dream work. It is also preparing them for a career in teaching art. Is this a good idea?

    The academic world is already contracting. With the job opportunities for artists also shrinking, isn't it a safe assumption that in the future there will be FEWER positions for art teachers?

  4. That is a good point Brian. Universities are like everyone else cutting where they can.

    Ursula Roma, an illustrator in Northside, is attending the Harford intensive. Maybe I can coax her to do a blog post about it when she is finished. :)

  5. This article could have been written 10 years ago, and yes, it is pretty much a plug for the MFA program. There are lots of reasons why it's hard to make a living at Illustration, but it comes down to supply and demand. There are too many illustrators out there for the amt of work.

    In a bad economy, it's possible that the demand for illustration actually increases, as work goes from more-expensive photography to less-expensive illustration. I think it's great that you can go back to school and learn to draw like your heroes, but is this program teaching artists basic business skills, or how to find new markets, or even how to write up a contract?

    BTW, we can't simultaneously shake our fists at clients for wanting all the rights and blame stock-houses for taking all our work. If clients need original work with all the copyrights, then we are no longer competing with stock. We are competing among ourselves. We all need to get sensitive to what copyrights mean and get paid for relinquishing them.

    I'd be curious to hear Scott's comments.

  6. Tuition for the 2007-2008 program year (summer, fall and spring) is $17,160.

  7. I should clarify part of my previous comment:

    If there are some brilliant visually-oriented minds out there avoiding illustration because someone told them it's not a viable way to make a living, then there may be too FEW illustrators. Anyone who feels a real compulsion to create should give it a shot. At the same time, kids looking into illustration as a career, thinking it's all fun and glamour should know about the downsides as well as the upsides.

    That being said, there ARE too many lawyers out there. :-)