Saturday, June 9, 2007
is the theme of this week's Illustration Friday. I was initally stumped. I don't have a lot to do with suits as a general rule, business suits that is. Then my mind relaxed and my thoughts widened and I realized Oh yeah: suits of armor, lawsuits, suits of cards and... bathing suits! And I had done this piece just days before. How I enjoyed painting the red stripes on the little guy's bathing suit!
Some back story: I'm in a group of local artists that meets once a month for mutual encouragement and critique. The last meeting was a few days ago, and I decided to bring in a print-out of this piece and a couple of others like it. As soon as I stood up and cheerfully announced "I'm doing some illustration now!" I realized I'd made a big mistake. The pieces circulated to awkward silence. Finally someone cleared their throat and asked "Why are you doing this?" People then started chiming in with suggestions for alternate ways for me to make money: teaching, web design etc. ANYTHING, it seemed, except illustration! I was taken aback, didn't say much, and resumed my seat quickly.
Later I spoke with a friend who is in the group. "Is the work really THAT bad?" My friend said "No no! You've got it all wrong. It wasn't the quality of the work the others were objecting to: it was the fact that you used the dread word Illustration!" Her insight shocked me, but mulling it over, I suspect she is right. I myself don't think that way: fine art v. commercial art. It is ALL just art to me! So it never occurred to me that other artists would have any issue with it either. But these, apparently, did.
Before the art group debacle, I'd queried a little children's magazine and yesterday I got back an e-mail from the art director telling me they love my work and are going to find an article for me to illustrate in an upcoming issue! It is not a sure thing, or even that big of a thing, but I'm thrilled. The praise felt like balm to my wounded confidence! Has anyone else ever run into similar peer issues working in both "fine" and "commercial" art? It just seems so silly to me...!
Little Lake, micron ink pen, watercolor, Photoshop "neatening".