Right now we are doing an assignment at Uni called creative oppotunities and industries. In this module we are asked to do as SWOT analysis of ourself and our illustrative practice. We are aske to make a short term and long term plan for our illustrative career and also to do market research and determine where we belong in the world of illustration. All of the above are tough cookies, but they all seem to pale in comparison to the dreaded:
When one is confronted with a problem that demands you to create a single illustration that totally describes you as an illustrator, the task seems to be almost impossible. Why is that?
Fig 1: The style I work in when I do fantasy art
Well here's the thing, I think that we all think we know who we are as illustrators, until we are asked to describe ourselves in only three words or through one single illustration. it is kind of like asking someone who they really are, it's almost an existentialistic question when you get to the bottom of it. Most illustrators can be branded as being children's books illustrators, or fantasy illustrators and some are more editorial illustrators. Simple right. No.
My problem is that I like doing many different types of illustrations, and when doing different types of illustration I change my style too. I like variety you see or else I'll get bored. So how do you narrow the expressions of someone who likes to do a bit of everything into one postcard without cluttering it up with bits and pieces of everything you like doing thrown into the mix?
Fig 2: The type of work I would do for children's books or fantasy character sketches
To be honest I have no idea, but I have some thoughts upon the matter:
1. A clever idea is probably to look through all your work and see if there are any recurring themes or techniques you utilize no matter what genre you are working in.
2. Sit down and really think through what sort of illustrator you want to be known as. Do you want to be known for awesome dragons or colorful children's book illustrations? You should focus on what you really want to do and enjoy doing.
3. Try to think of an illustration that could appeal to as many employers as possible. I am not in a position to say what such an illustration should look like. It has to be an individual decision in my opinion.
4. And if all else fail, try to analyze yourself and the way you illustrate. Are you a traditional painter? Do you have good drawing skills? Is color and shape your strong suit or is maybe more graphic design work what you excel at? These are pointers I believe can help you decide upon a proper illustration.Fig 3: The kind of work I do when I work traditionally with acrylics and watercolours
I still have no idea of what to make, but hopefully I'll get there and soon...
Does anyone perhaps have any suggestions that might aid me and indeed others who struggle with this problem? If you do, please feel free to share your nuggets of wisdom by commenting on this post.
Until next time