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Advice on Style by an Art Director and Educator
Building an illustration universe.
This was the question I asked myself in my journal this morning.
In the past years my goals have been very clear.
Make a portfolio.
Get an agent.
Fill the calendar with work.
And now that all this is true I’m left to contemplate my next steps. There are a couple of ways to look at it. One is as a series of tasks, which is practical but not very exciting.
Update the portfolio
Work on SEO
Find different verticals
Take a class
Write a book
And the other is a Tweet I read today by the executive art director of Scholastic Brian LaRossa , and it’s something I’ve grasped intuitively but have never been able to articulate. Here’s how he said it:
Illustrators, consistency and competence within your style is critically important because the goal is not to simply craft a compelling image, the goal is to craft a compelling universe.
And I totally get it, when you think of creative universes you might think of the Disney collections of Marvel and Star Wars but singular illustrators with a strong style have also built their own worlds. Eric Carle, Quintin Blake, Oliver Jeffers, Jon Klassen, Chris Houghton these guys have surpassed image making and have moved on to universe building.
Some artist avoid committing to a style to hold on to some idea of freedom, another way to find freedom, might be inside your own creative universe. This is certainly a very compelling proposition.