I woke up with the odd inclination the other day, to create an Influence Map for myself. I totally missed this meme when it first went around a couple years back, but I never forgot about it. It always seemed to be a good exercise in showcasing the artists and other media that influence one's work. I often find myself straying pretty far from what I think I really want to be doing, or comparing myself too much to any one particular artist, when the actuality is that there are at least a couple dozen artists whose work I continue to draw from, some more than others of course.
At any rate, here are the artists whose work has continued to inspire me throughout my life so far:
I'd love to take a moment and talk about each of these artists individually, but that would take too long. I did do a write-up on Joseph Schindelman once, and might put together similar posts for each of these guys.
In the meantime, I think I'd like to do another one of these for the writers who've influenced me over the years...
Oh! And credit to fox-orian for the Influence Map template.
Today I finished a project I'd started several months back - the McLiquorland Character designs. There were only six characters, and I came up with all of them on the same day, so why did it take me seven months to complete them? I'm not sure exactly, but there were a lot of reasons: it wasn't a high-priority project, there was no real objective other than designing the characters, I didn't have a clear reason for doing them in the first place, and simply, other things came up and took priority over my time.
I find that happens to me a lot. I'll have a flash of an idea, and high on creative fumes I'll jump in, inspired to do something flat-out amazing! But then, after a little while, the thrill disappears. Maybe the project is taking longer than I thought, maybe my inner critic starts to question the necessity of the project, maybe it's just not coming out as well as I'd hoped.
This is a really excellent essay (in the form of a list) detailing ten things Milton Glaser has learned during his lifetime of award-winning design work.
Of particular interest to me, is Number 5: Less Is Not Necessarily More. I've long been critical of the current school of art in cartooning that's epitomized by the work of John Porcellino and James Kochalka, a home-grown aesthetic that celebrates its simplicity and minimalism. Not to say that I dislike the work per se, just that I prefer work that has more to it, visually. I guess I'm tired of feeling like I need to justify my texture work and 'over-renderings' in the face of such a simple alternative, and it's nice to see someone else share my ideal.
I'm going to have to continually revisit this list during my journey.
In my search to rediscover what it was that originally made me want to become an illustrator, I revisited a number of the children's books I enjoyed so much way back in the day, and the illustrations that really sparked my imagination and held me in such thrall. I was an avid reader back then, and my literary diet was comprised largely of selections from the Weekly Reader Book Club and some of the novels of Roald Dahl. I remember being so familiar with James and the Giant Peach that I could rip through the book in less than two hours by the time I was eight years old.
Until the 1990s, when Quentin Blake was given the boon of re-illustrating Dahl's entire bibliography for Puffin Books, two of Dahl's most popular books (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its sequel) were illustrated by Joseph Schindelman, and he was one of the first I wanted to study on this journey.