Sunday, January 7, 2007

Freelance Illustration Lesson 6; The Elements of Style

While I was a student, and later when teaching, there was an understanding that illustration students should (or must) embrace one style as to not confuse clients (and reinforce the work’s sincerity...among other reasons). Art directors don’t want surprises and anticipating ahead what the finish will be like makes their job a lot easier.

That practice is not very practical today…nor necessary. The same thinking applies now but it’s possible (and actually wise) to create other careers parallel with different styles. Clients don’t need to know you have other styles – as long as they know what they’re going to get when they hire you. The argument, “be true to thyself and work, blog, blog, blog” is a romantic notion that has nothing to do with business and applies to artists but this is about freelance illustrating.

Above is a good example of what I mean. From assignments I had over the holidays (top left; detail of a parody of a 19th century illustration for Trader Magazine, top right, a logo for a London “outsider art” bakery, bottom left detail of a cartoon about overpopulation in the Big Apple, bottom right piece about taming wild portfolios for Money Adviser). OK, if no one is going to say it, I will – you’d never know this was all done by the same hand.

(By the way, this was why Freelancer’s Lament was not regularly updated in December as I was working around the clock. I even missed my annual Vegas trip.)

Christmas without Vegas feels strange and eerie. Speaking of style, here's a shot from last year’s Fremont Experience Holiday Musical. I watched this R-rated spectacle with stunned silence among a handful of Mexican families who bopped along to the traditional Christmas classics sung with untraditional lyrics, unaware of the double entendres and the improvised lyrics.

This week’s TimeOut cartoon had my favorite item cut from the final but here it is to be enjoyed…for anyone you knows the reference and knows who disgraced gossip columnist Jared Paul Stern is. Thanks for taking a look and visiting my blog.

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