I'm mainly talking about editorial work here. Editorial art is very fleeting. You'll see an image in the newspaper or reader's digest and maybe glance at it for a second, but then move one when the article is read. After reading the whole of it, the newspaper or magazine will be thrown away, not cherished and framed up on the wall.
I think that's what makes conceptual illustration so hard. You have to illustrate a complex idea, but it has to be simple enough that any ordinary joe off the street can look at it and understand the idea instantly. If it's not instant than you're not getting the point across fast enough.
I've found that I lean more towards narrative illustration - a piece of art that tells a story. So this semester I've had to stretch my mind a little in order to think like an editorial artist. I just wanted to show the progress of one of my pieces and go over some things that help in the creating process.
So for this assignment we had to illustrate a simile. After weeks of thumbnailing lots of similes and not finding any that were particularly strong I happened upon one that my teacher told me was my strongest idea. The simile was this: eat like a bird. ex. "my sister is so skinny; she eats like a bird!"
I did lots of thumbnails for this as well. Some were complicated or didn't really get the idea across very well and when one is doing editorial work it is better to err on the side of simple. Simple gets the idea across quicker.
I made a list of everything that was even remotely related to a bird. Pick out a couple of those and put them together.
Here's my piece.
My teacher really liked it, but during the critique pointed out a few things that could make it even better. So I fixed a few things and here is the final rendition:
I don't think it's the best piece I've ever done, but it's also hard for me to be very invested or interested in this type of work. So I guess I know now that I probably shouldn't go into editorial work. But I also believe that learning to get an idea across cleanly and simply will help me out in my narrative work, so I don't think of this as a waste of time. There's always something to be learned and applied.
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