Since the mid 1980’s I worked making a living more or less as an illustrator.
Many of my classmates from Parsons School of Design were doing paste up and mechanicals to make ends meet. We were all required to learn how to do them in the likely event that we would need to make money doing something other than illustration.
I’m sure some of you know what paste up and mechanicals were but like the non repro blue pencil, stats and rubylith, they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur.
I went to art school before computers you see, and I never could have imagined how the world would change. Computers and digital art were just barely peeking over the horizon line in 1980.
I continued working on paper, doing my own color separations using register marks and white out when needed. I began my career working mostly in black and white line but the most interesting work was in my sketchbooks.
That work, a sort of stream of consciousness hybrid of Aubrey Beardsley, Peter Max and Yellow Submarine wasn’t ever going to be “commercial” which I was told repeatedly but I persisted. I eventually developed a style that was mostly line with spots of color. It brought lots of nice compliments but not a tremendous amount of work.
Here is an example:
I worked for a few years as an assistant to Vicki Morgan, artist agent extraordinaire.
She and her partner, Gail Gaynin were always very generous with their advice and being there gave me invaluable access to the business side of illustration. Soon I began to develop a more colorful style using collage and eventually the mixed media style that I use today.
Years went by and since work still came in I only barely felt the need to learn the software that was coming out but I was beginning to notice the changes in the field. Scanning and email, pdf’s and jpgs…. Then a really bad economy and suddenly it looked like my illustration career was over. I felt digitally derailed.
So here I am…down but not out…not yet!