• @danielerossi ugh yes! Sorry I should have mentioned them as well.

    Side note It would be amazing if there was closed captioning on the svslearn videos because people who are hard of hearing communicate visually and enjoy art!

  • I’d be interested in learning about how to ensure the research you do of the other cultures/experiences is optimal.

    For example, I’ve always been interested in Inuit culture and would love to write/draw a graphic novel taking place in the Canadian Arctic with Inuit characters. Do I ask any random Inuit person and assume they have all the answers by default* or go to an Inuit studies department in a university or a tourism board? Or perhaps the answer is to consult as many sources as possible. The more research the better, no?

    A plan B I have is to simply tell a real story of whoever it is in the other culture/experience. For example, one of my Inktober drawings was about a friend of mine who uses a wheelchair and is Ethiopian. I was inspired by an experience she shared on Instagram and drew an illustration around her words. I included her words and a drawing of my friend. Before posting, I showed the illustration to her and she said it was fine. So it became more of a collaboration.

    Come to think of it, how does Disney do it?

    *I speak with a stutter and I’m often asked what causes it, how to treat it, etc. but I don’t have all the answers. I’m also second generation Italian but only know so-much about my heritage and there are variances throughout the country due to history.

  • @Aleksey No worries. I wasn’t picking on you. I’m just doing my part on spreading much needed awareness 🙂 People with disabilities seem to still be overlooked though times are slowly changing.

    And great idea about the captions on the videos!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

  • @danielerossi oh no worries i know your werent pickin on me I appreciate you bringing it up

  • @Lee-White great article! Thank you for sharing.

  • Pro

    @danielerossi When I was in college in Film Animation, I had a very fascinating class about visual research. We reviewed time periods since the pyramids with an emphasis on visual rather than historical events: clothing, jewelry, architecture, furniture, objects of daily life. As part of class we watched clips of Disney movies to spot some of those elements. It's interesting to realize that Disney has mixed and matched a lot, The clothing and architecture would mix elements not strictly of the same time period. Their goal was to create a look that would feel right, not be a 100% accurate time piece. And it works for them, no one is going around getting offended because Hercules mixes elements from the Greek Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods in the architecture and clothing. But with more modern situations, it's a fine line to walk. Anyway, the class then went on to teach to how to research these things by ourselves and we had to do a research project were we presented the visual aspects of a culture/time period not covered during class. I chose Persian during Achaemenid times. Fascinating stuff!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @NessIllustration That sounds like a very cool class!

  • Pro

    @Lee-White Oh yeah! I think it may be my favourite of the whole 4 years I was there!

  • @Lee-White Good article.

  • @Lee-White cheers Lee that was a good article, well worth a read.

  • I'd like to hear it. These issues have been important in my life. I've noticed significant progress in who and what is represented in mainstream American media in my lifetime, and it's because people are willing to be introspective, have conversions, and take some risks. You may ruffle feathers, but you guys seem sensitive and honest enough to have an interesting discussion which will help nudge us all toward more growth.

    What I'm most interested in hearing is how this topic currently relates to the publishers, editors, art directors, etc. What is going on behind the scenes when selecting authors, manuscripts, and illustrators as it relates to diversity, representation, and authenticity? What are some of the considerations they make and are there any obstacles they face? What are their priorities when selecting an illustrator? Does this mean minority illustrators need to market themselves as a minority and of a certain culture in order to be considered for projects related to their culture? How would the search be made for illustrators of certain minority groups?

    There's a book coming in February called "Ohana Means Family" by a Hawaii resident and as far as I can tell, and non-Hawaii resident illustrator, Kenard Pak. From what I can see of the artwork- it feels and looks very appropriate for a Hawaii rural setting. It looks beautiful. I've seen some of his work before and I'm stoked that it's now featured in Hawaiiana children's literature. I'd be interested to know what the process was like in choosing him to illustrate this book. Was a Hawaii illustrator even considered? Why or why not? Did he receive any sort of consultation for cultural representation or was the research all up to him? (it seems like it would be a simple research process, but what about for other projects where more cultural symbols are involved)

    From my limited perspective as an American who feels racially and culturally ambiguous- I just want lots of well thought out, high quality media that tells a diversity of stories and features all kinds of people. I want good storytellers working on these projects. I want storytellers to be free to tell stories from their own experiences and to tell stories outside of their experiences. I want people to be sensitive and thoughtful, but to not be afraid to make stories and represent other humans from all walks of life! I just want the work to be made. I think the more we get diverse stories out, the more access it can potentially give to minority voices in the future. Disney has been great in this area. To have such a huge platform role out movies like Pocahontas, Mulan, Princess in the Frog, Big Hero 6, Moana, and Coco is wonderful. Do they get it perfect and 100% authentic? Nope. Has it been meaningful to a lot of people? Yup.

    Thanks for considering this topic! I've loved reading through everyone's thoughts.

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White I love the 3 Point Perspective podcasts and think this could be a great one - I think that ruminating on the subject for the podcast is not such a good idea though - my feeling is that you should have a very solid idea of what you want to add to the discussion and not do too much devil's advocate stuff. I think that talking about what we can and cannot draw would not be a helpful addition to this topic. Talking about and focusing on why we Are talking about it is much more helpful and important. What is at the root of this conversation is what is important and understanding this can help each illustrator make their own informed decisions about what they should be comfortable with.

  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White I know that I was toying with an idea for an alphabet book using sign language. I asked a friend who is hearing impaired and a involved in the deaf community. She told me that. If I were to do it, it would need to be with a deaf person. It seems important to have someone who truly understands that community-no outsiders.

    As far as race and gender, etc? I feel most comfortable with what I know.

  • I think it would be a good podcast to do, I'd listen. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on the issues, from guest speakers. I'm glad to hear that it wouldn't just be the 3 of you. As much as I love the podcast it wouldn't be helpful to discuss diversity with just 3 white guys.

    Judging from most of the comments too it's something that people are interested in.

    I heard on a podcast before with Armand Baltazar where he talked about pitching his book 'Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic'. He basically received feedback from publishers asking him to make the main character a white kid, the main character was based after his son, so this wasn't going to be a change he would make. He said multiple publishers had the same request. This was 2017 and publishers were still trying to white wash books so they would sell more. Their concerns were ridiculous as it would get picked up by Harper Collins on a 3 book deal and is also going to be made into a movie possible series of movies by Ridley Scott's company.

    That's slightly different to what you mentioned, however it does illustrate a bias in the industry with some publishers. Anyone who says there is no bias has blinkers on. It is an uncomfortable subject to discuss, but one that need discussion.

    I think it could be helpful to hear from a wide variety of people too (not just one guest speaker) not sure if that is possible on the podcast tho.

    Look forward to listening to it, if you do it.

  • I could learn a lot from a podcast or series with these topics, so yeah, I think go for it! And maybe someone already mentioned it, but I'd like to hear more about illustrators who are on the autism spectrum like myself. Are there any really successful illustrators that manage to balance getting through life with a career and autism both? Some days I feel like I can't possibly make it in my art business because of my challenges, but I also feel like we in the autism community have unique strengths like special interests or focus ability or something that gives us an edge. Would like to see that on the podcast or linked to an autistic illustrator in podcast resources for that episode, maybe 🙂

  • @Amanda-Bancroft yes that's a good idea. It would be good to get Stephen Wiltshire on the podcast. He's phenomenal.

  • SVS OG

    @Amanda-Bancroft Have you ever seen this interview? It is with Jorge Gutierrez of "Book of Life" fame - he did not know he was on the spectrum until he was an adult and he speaks of the strengths that it gives him in the interview - one of bobby's best interviews i think - i've watched it more than once myself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAkVOqn6MSs

  • I really think this is an interesting subject to tackle. I am currently working on a picture book as marketing tools for a big hotel in Japan(I, myself is a Chinese born and raised in Indonesia). When I did the character design, I did search for a Japanese little girl's clothes. I ended up making the character wearing a modern Yukata design that I found on the internet. But after I submitted it to the client, they requested something more casual and which most kids wear in daily life. Not only that, but I also made lots of mistakes like make the Yukata wrap in the wrong direction, draw totally not common breakfast on the table, etc.
    After lots of revisions and research, the sketches are done.

    I think the common mistakes which not intentionally done by an illustrator who draws stories/ characters which is not in their own culture are two: if it's not over showing it (like I draw the girl character in modern Yukata instead of general daily life clothes) then totally ignore it.

    For me personally, probably as long as the story is fiction and maybe not based on history, I would love to draw characters and stories from different cultures. Also, as long as the client/ editor/art director/ author discuss and help along the way, I do think it's fun and also give me lots of knowledge of other cultures.
    So, it's interesting to hear this topic from other's perspectives and opinions.

  • @lenwen Thanks for sharing your experience. very interesting to hear that.

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