There are so many neat entries this time! This trading of lunches is called "Fishing."
I'm an Artist/Mom who loves painting nature, illustrating life, writing comics, and baking bread on cold Colorado days! I find inspiration from the beautiful Rocky Mountains and playful antics of every day life with my sweet family.
I studied painting under a private tutor for 5 years. Currently I am here as a member of Society for Visual Storytelling to polish my illustrating skills.
I have participated in art shows, done private commissions and even started a comic. I can't wait to learn more!
Trying out mind-mapping from the Visual Storytelling Techniques class by @Lee-White. That is a fantastic class that I highly recommend. Here is my brainstorm from the Travel prompt. Did I miss any big categories that you can think of? Feel free to add to it, or use it for your own ideas if you haven't started yet.
@nasvikdraws I sympathize! I have had a lot of kiddo time this summer with not a lot of time for projects. One thing I have noticed is that spending time with children is great for my creative brain. When my kids were little I got in the habit of jotting down little notes about what I was noticing, funny things that they said, or situations that would make great story starters or comics. Sometimes I would just sit and watch the way they moved and laughed and played. Now that they are bigger I have a treasure trove of ideas and experiences to draw from. Even though I wasn't illustrating at the time, I was observing and enjoying and it was filling my creative bucket all along. Those notes still contribute to the kind of art I do today.
This was a very timely episode as I am doing my first art/craft fair this fall. My biggest question is about printing. In the podcast you mentioned that it is can be really cheap to get prints made, and also that it is important to produce a quality product. When I am researching all I can find are fine art/giclee printers that are very pricey, or companies that primarily advertise printing things like flyers and brochures. What are some good strategies to find a decent print house for an illustrator since I am not ready to buy a printer?
On the business side, I have a lot of questions surrounding how to reproduce quality artwork in a time-and-cost efficient way. It seems like there are several pathways depending on how the art is produced. A class that explains each one with the pros and cons would be really helpful!
For example, if I am producing art traditionally, is it:
Or just figure out digitally how to create it?
Once I have a file, what do I look for to get it printed?
Do I go through a shop that does professional photography or fine art?
Do I buy my own printer?
Are there places that do both? What about shipping, packing and matting? Are there industry standards, expectations or shortcuts?
Sometimes from watching videos it seems like artists sketch digitally, then print onto paper, then ink, and color and then it is all digital again. What kind of paper and ink and printer does that? What are customers hoping for in a quality print that they have purchased? Do they need to be numbered? There are so many possibilities. A class on the process of reproducing art, and equipment basics would be great. It is hard to know what to invest in. If this is already out there in a class please let me know!
This came across my news-feed today and I wanted to share. Please forgive me if it's already been posted. I'm assuming it's current, because I just found it, but I couldn't locate a year either. I think it would be awesome if someone got picked up!
That is fantastic!! Congratulations!
@Lee-White Thanks! I think this is a really interesting topic! I think about it in terms of character designs. We have some norms especially in animation. The main character needs to be the most appealing, and the supporting characters appealing, but not quite a cool and the bad guy kind of alarming so forth. This is so engrained that we can usually spot a potential, villan, love interest or main character just from the movie poster. Do we then end up casting or drawing in a stereotypical way because that is how storytelling works to achieve that? It would be an interesting project to create a classic squad that works together. (Leader, brains, plucky comic relief, techie, emotional compass) and a Nemesis core (Bad guy, second in command, Enforcers). And then mix up the physical characteristics from the typical mix. Sometimes we see that done purposely (short bad guy etc) But it would be a good experiment. Maybe put them on dice and see what you get over and over. This would be easiest with skin and hair color, but body type and ability gets more challenging. Usually our main character is very cool and fit.
@Lee-White I think this is a fantastic subject and I hope that you are able to put together something. I can't wait! Here are my thoughts.
Should artists be able to draw characters from different genders, cultures, body types and ability levels? YES! I feel like it necessary in today's diverse environment. Representation is important, especially in community or classroom spreads. I want it to be part of my wheelhouse. The question I have is how? How to do it respectfully and well, naturally. There are a couple of nuances here that I have thought through.
Level 1: Physical Attributes
I have noticed there are is a lot of media that solves this problem with what I call the "Magic School Bus Fix" Each character representing a different hair color/skin color/ethnicity/personality. (Think "Rogue One" for movies). That seems to be a pretty accepted approach. So where do we get into trouble?
Problem 1. Is each character is presented in a stereotypical way across a body of work or the industry? (Is the black kid always in gym shorts and the Asian always super smart and the blonde always popular and dumb?) (@Will-Terry did a great podcast on this with Tyrus Goshay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56UfBZzaM0w )
Problem 2. Are the characters drawn using recognized, unflattering stereotypes. Or contributing to something that is known to be racist or discriminatory. How do I know what things to avoid? Are there resources for this?
Problem 3. Is the main character always the same gender/color/body size/ability level (ie- Is the kid with the wheelchair or glasses always the supporting character?)
Most illustrators I would guess would be expected to be able to pull this method off well, if they can tackle those three problems. Where it becomes difficult is when we add culture. In the "Magic School Bus" everyone is essentially Americanized. They wear t-shirts and jean and act and act in a similar way. If we want to branch out to make a richer illustration how do we do it without offending? This is such a difficult topic! And I don't have the answer. Partly because we all have different experiences and want to be represented. Here are some things I have picked up on.
Level 2: Culture
Point A: We ALL have different experiences. Ignoring that leads to stereotypes again. Not every black person is from the American South, some are from Brazil, or Africa or Europe or, well anywhere, and they don't all have the same story or background. So it would not be authentic to give their stories all the same treatment.
Point B: Should the story be told by a person with that background?
Louisa May Alcott famously found her place in the writing world when she took her publishers advice to write about her own experience. I can see how a picture book written by someone who has experienced something can be potentially more powerful than one written by someone who has only researched it. That being said, illustrators are often paired with authors because of their skill to tell a story. And I believe that we can and should learn about the experiences of others and it builds community to work together to create something beautiful.
It also depends on the story being told. If the story is about Mrs. Frizzel and the digestive system is it really important to include more diverse cultural clues than hair color? If the story is about a Russian family immigrating somewhere, should the author/illustrator be Russian? When it comes down to it, do all books with minority main characters need to be explorations of origin? "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Keats was groundbreaking because his main character was an African American boy doing normal play-in-the-snow-kid-stuff. It wasn't a book with social commentary, and the pictures aren't that detailed. It is an enchanting snow day book and he decided to be inclusive with his art by choosing a look for his main character that would reach more kids. Keats is white. His take on diversity was powerful!
Point 3 Research and Collaboration: Where can we find resources?
If we do take on a book that deals with culture and experiences outside of our own we need to be prepared to do a lot of research and collaboration to create to best thing that we can. Get outside and find a group of editors to check to make sure it is not offensive. (Think Disney and "Moana" they worked very closely with the Hawaiian people to make a movie they both could be happy with.) Are there groups for this?
Point 4: Retelling can be Compelling
So is it okay to tell stories in your way if you are clear that is your intent?
We retell fables and stories all of the time, and I think it is beautiful. I have seen Cinderella done and redone with different cultural twists. Telling someone they can't share a story seems counterproductive, and a good way to forget culture. Maybe that is cultural appropriation? Giving credit can help ( for example state "This is a retelling of the parable about the chessboard and the rice.") This is such a sticky thing!
I think that if you are going to tell someone's story, be their voice by learning what they want you to say. And encourage lots of people to tell their own story so the whole world can be richer.