Monday, January 02, 2006

The Business of Illustration

If you've never yet visited David Apatoff's Illustration Art blog, now is the time. New Year's is always a time of reflection and resolution, and I had the great fortune to read David's posting on Robert Heindel just the other day. Aside from seeing some incredible artwork, I was interested to read this quote from David's conversation with Heindel:

"The business of illustration is literally nonexistent today.... When Bernie Fuchs and I did what we did, it was a different world. We had to make a lot of hard decisions as things changed. Where do kids starting out today take their talent if they want to do what we did? I would say they’re fucked. There is nothing for them. They can’t follow the path that Bernie and I followed any longer. And our society is pretty unforgiving for those who make the wrong judgments."

Harsh and perhaps cynical words but valuable and thought-provoking advice, whether you are an illustrator or whatever you may have devoted your life to. Go to Illustration Art and be enlightened.


  1. I think there's a path available to follow for everybody.
    Your own. Like you are doing.
    Thanks for sharing. Seen your other blogs too. Great work.
    And a happy New Year.

  2. From Bob Heindel, Bernie Fuchs and Mark English, we've all seen the damage our industry has taken, there is always going to be a need for illustration: the difference between their time of business and ours is the competition we face: from animation to photoshop, etc: our world has expanded but our place in it has shrunken!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I would agree with this. I think we really need to think out of the box to keep our businesses going. I also think its time to expand the notion of what illustration is.

    The world is moving really fast now. Business models are changing at lightening speed and there is no real guidance from anybody because I don't think anybody knows what to do.

    For myself. I keep looking for innovators in the field and study them. Hoping that I'm not already too late.

  5. The field has changed but there's still opportunities and illustrators have to adjust and maybe take on projects that they ordinarily would pass on. It's about being inventive and creating our own opportunities. We can't sit around complaining about what was because that's non-productive. We sure as heck should acknowledge and appreciate these trailblazers. I recently read a blog where a young artist actually said that Norman Rockwell was the most overlooked illustrator? I thought What? and by whom? I think everyone knows who Norman Rockwell was. I do understand what these folks are saying about prestige jobs and maybe that idea of celebrity status illustrator is diminished, but there's still work out there. I would say just be the best you can be and things may happen. Take pride in your work and attack each project with distinction.

  6. Thanks for the post and insight although I can understand the perspective of "being fucked". It seems more like the problem seems to be being outmoded. Digital artworks can be produced at a faster rate with equal talent in an industry approved format. For the traditional illustrators today to integrate with this capitalist model they simply have to adapt or die off. It's a harsh reality but far from being "Fucked" it's an opportunity to grow personally by seeking the kind of "bread and butter" work which allows the grace for more personal gallery oriented work. Anyone who isn't utilizing the inter-network to promote themselves without an already established name for themselves will be severely at odds with the system as it now stands. Personal media tablets are here and they are going to get more and more like paper as time goes on, get with it for the users will be looking for art to bedeck their environment. Thanks again.