Illustrators – Why They Are Extinct in the Wild

Illustrators are not the same as Other People. They may, in fact, be a separate subspecies of Artist entirely unknown to Science (equally unknown to Maths and Reading, for that matter).

As evidence for this claim I present the following observations:

1. Illustrators don’t read briefs. “Why would I read the brief? A brief is all written words. Words is Editorial. I’m an Artist, I don’t do words.”

2. Illustrators marry young. If they didn’t have wives, they wouldn’t survive. They’d have no clean clothes or food in the fridge, plus the electricity bill would not have been paid so they’d be living a solitary and sorry existance in the freezing darkness…

3. Illustrators don’t do Maths. Maths is closely allied to Black Magick and therefore to be Mistrusted with Extreme Prejudice. If you want an illustration at 125% of the printed dimensions, its no good giving said dimensions and expecting any Maths to happen. Best to get a piece of paper and cut it out to the exact shape and size you want your illo. Luckily, Illustrator’s wives do their invoicing, see point 2…

4. Illustrators will quibble over taking on a DPS (Double Page Spread) illustration for £450 – quite rightly – because it’s badly paid. However, they then spend at least £1450 worth of time on it and wonder a) why they can’t pay the mortgage and b) why clients keep underpaying them for jobs

5. Fine Artists wear a lot of black and artfully ‘thrown-together’ ensembles in order to look intimidatingly cool and eclectic. Illustrators literally throw things together, roughly in the general direction of their bodies, and hope to god some of it sticks in case they have to go out…

6. When Illustrators can no longer avoid going out and mixing with other species, especially without their wives, they will lurk around the edges of the room and not look Other People in the eye in case they get asked to do something they can’t say ‘no’ to, such as a DPS illustration for £450.

As the Art Buyer here at our book publishing firm, I work with Illustrators from the UK and Europe as well as from Australia, the USA and Canada all day and I am constantly amazed by their creative imagination and technical excellence. But it also never ceases to astonish me that they survive in the world… they are a Slightly Baffling Joy.

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4 Responses to Illustrators – Why They Are Extinct in the Wild

  1. Jenny says:

    Same can be said for some of my professors. But, sigh, I can’t help but love them!

  2. I don’t know squat about the Illustrator species, but I do know that many Artists have an inferiority complex about their work. Unless they are the Revd Anaglyph

  3. ombudsben says:

    When I worked in computer book publishing I knew a former editor turned associate publisher who cared most about the pictures.

    Give me good pictures of what the screen will look like, he said. I don’t care if the commas are in the right place or it’s capitalized consistently. Nobody cares.

    He would chortle that he had gone over to “the dark side.”

    Illustrators have an amazing ability to laser in on their own special invented world and ignore that world outside the lines, not unlike children with imaginary friends.

    It might be why they have you, Truce.

    You’ve taken the place of their imaginary friends, and they count on you to help them in dealing with the outside world.

    Or, perhaps, like Howard the Duck, you and they are: Trapped in a world that they never made …

  4. truce says:

    Jenny – yes, I think Academics and Illustrators probably have a lot in common!

    archie – thanks for the link, The Cow will definitely be getting return visits from me. But yes, interesting point about the inferiority complex – there is a whole other post in there…

    ombudsben – oddly, I did have an imaginary friend when I was little. His name was Chelft and he was part person, part dog. My mother says she knew she had to get out of the house more when she asked Chelft if he’d like more pudding one mealtime…

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