We’re getting close to sending our next annual off to the printer and one of my tasks is to write the blurb for the backcover which got me thinking about art and illustration. Being a parent I can testify to the following observation and even remembering back to my own school days there was something natural about everyone drawing. One of my favorite books, perhaps my favorite book, was “The Little Engine That Could” and I still have the book and there are marks throughout it—my failed attempt to copy the illustrations. I’m not alone, we all start out making marks.
We all start off loving art, who can forget how we liked getting our fingers dirty in kindergarten with chalk or crayons or poster paint. We mushed clay together to make ashtrays for our parents. We pasted together popsicle sticks to make a jewelry box. We explored drawing mom, dad, siblings. Houses. Trees. Celebrations. Vacations. Crude though they were they had real meaning to us and even today looking back they still do. And as a parent I kept so many drawings and paintings of my young ones, why? They are memories we captured in our own unique way.
Most of us moved away from art as our education continued, we became more enamored with science or math or history, art faded in our lives. But there were always at least a couple of kids in our classroom that somehow we knew would always be artists. And they are, some are fine artists, others are illustrators and a growing number are both.
Illustrators capture the essence of our times through paint or pixel. The style of our times is evident in the illustrations that appear in magazines, newspapers, books and on screens big and small. They record events, personalities, ideas—political and otherwise, pathos, love, the zeitgeist in a much deeper and more meaningful way than we can ourselves or that an ordinary photo provides. The image is imbued with the hand and eye of the artist, it speaks to us in a truly unique way. And just like our early crude stick figures, it makes a lasting impression.