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September 24, 2010 / margikimball

What We Talk About When We Talk About Illustration

As we’ve just finished up Lawrence Zeegan’s Fundamentals of Illustration, I thought we might bring some of our discussion online, to share with the world. To this end, what would you say was the most important take-away from our book or from our discussions of the book?



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  1. Chloe Bristol / Sep 27 2010 7:47 pm

    Hey Margi,
    I always forget the broader definition of “illustration” even as an art student, and it really is broad. One of the most important things I took away from this book is the unlimited media that illustrators put into use today. No longer are drawings simply pen and ink, people have expanded that boundary. Before reading this article, my two mediums were paint and charcoal (and definitely not together). Digital media has literally exploded within the illustration field in the decade. I obviously have a lot of experimenting ahead of me.

  2. slategreen / Sep 28 2010 4:38 am

    I found the variety in the illustrations to be rather helpful. Personally I think it’s easy to get locked into a style–because you get good at what you practice, and all that. Variety and adaptability are emphasized, which is true… if you want to make money in illustration, it seems pretty evident that you’re going to do a bit of everything if you want to have plenty of work. Most of all I appreciated the bit with the interviews of illustrators–editorial, book, etc… they seem to be helpful if you want to choose any of those particular fields.

  3. mtennant32 / Sep 28 2010 5:14 am

    After reading this book, I’ve decided it’s a keeper. I found that it had a lot of useful tips for the future, basically for after graduation. The book brought up a lot of topics involved in the illustation career path that I hadn’t really been thinking about yet, so that kind of freaked me out a little. I guess I’m just focusing on the now, and growing as an artist, and for that matter even looking at myself as an artist. I’m still trying to figure out what it is I really what to do as an artist. I think, even though it did stress me out a bit, that reading the book was helpful overall. It’s good to think about the future, so I can start preparing as I go along my path as an artist in school.

  4. Marissa / Sep 28 2010 6:25 am

    I found the book vary helpful for someone who has no idea about illustration. I liked the interviews with the various professionals from different fields. I thought they needed more of a variety of artists work in the examples but overall the book was clear and concise.

  5. Rachael / Sep 29 2010 12:21 am

    Overall, I found this book very interesting and useful. Not only does it provide clear examples of work from various artists but it also goes into much detail about each step and process which as a growing artist is very good to understand. While I found many chapters helpful for various reasons, what I thought to be most interesting was the chapter about website and layout design. As an artist, even doing layout design, you should have a strong background of design and illustration so you do not appear to be “faking” it. A strong artistic background as well as knowledge of all fields will make you moreover a stronger artist as the book detailed. In the end, this was a great read and in the future will be a great reference!

  6. aanchetaart100d / Sep 29 2010 3:39 pm

    I largely felt that the book was a mixture of what should be common knowledge among the art school crowd, common knowledge among living mammals, and actually useful information in short bursts in-between what seemed to me like redundant information. I really didn’t need to know the magic of mixed media, the intricacies of sharing a studio with other illustrators, positioning my chair, or saving a file in Photoshop since that’s sort of basic information. Overall the most useful information regarded specifics about the career aspects of illustration, particularly the pay and legal aspects. Unfortunately, these parts of the book were only a couple pages long at most and did not expand on them. I felt like I just could have emailed or even just asked a teacher on their free time for most of this information and gotten it for free and in better detail as opposed to the $30~ I spent on the book.

  7. emilio romero / Sep 30 2010 3:24 am

    After reading this book I learned a lot of insight in the design world. I really enjoyed discussing this book with peers in the same profession. I felt that I will use this book as a guide and reference. It was interesting to read about the many things illustrators and designers create in today’s corporate society. Fashion to advertising to music it all plays a major role on our visual appeal towards a trend or a product. I really enjoyed reading this book and the advise the authors gave kept me engaged in design and illustration.

  8. Phillip / Sep 30 2010 5:50 am

    Agreed, a keeper. Tons of information on the career path. Scary for that reason for a new student just stretching his or her legs but it seemed like a very ‘honest’ read. There may be a few ideas mentioned that might become obsolete in the distant future but for me, for now and the next five years or so, most if not all of its explanations and examples hit the nail on the head.

  9. nickweidner / Oct 1 2010 4:51 pm

    I enjoyed reading the book and have given it a home on my bookshelf. If nothing more it’s a great source of inspiration and information that can be revisited in the future. I really liked how the book shed light on all of the different ways illustration can be utilized. Also, I think the book successfully argued that illustration shouldn’t be considered the red headed step child that it is thought to be and that illustration and design can and should go hand in hand.

  10. kaixix / Oct 5 2010 10:05 pm

    I think that this was an insightful book to read, especially since I have had no background in the world of illustration before. I enjoyed all of the illustrations that were included, as well as the “key points” on the side of the pages that gave important information in bullet format. This book also helped give me a “real-world” perspective in terms of getting myself out there as an artist, and also taught me how to market myself when the times comes for me to go out on my own. I will most likely browse this book in the future if I want to reference something because I think that it is definitely helpful to have around.

  11. Daniel R / Oct 7 2010 6:49 am

    The book itself, aside from the tiny type, was comprehensive and provided insight into things I’d never thought about before. My favorite thing about it was the breadth of which it covered, the book didn’t try to only briefly cover a few topics. With the internet at your fingertips, literally, searching for additional information on nearly any topic has never been easier. However, knowing what to search for can be a challenge in itself, which is what books like this one should help with. Fox example, there were multiple images from the book which I googled the designer, to see more pieces of it’s work. The true strong point of the book to me was it’s ability to provide a valid leaping off point, into other topics which we wish to know more about, as we frequently did in class. Without the class discussions, while this book is good as a standalone reference, it would have lacked the greatness which free thought and different perspectives brought to it.

  12. jcsang / Oct 7 2010 11:41 pm

    It was a nice standard guide to the insides of illustration. I think for anyone questioning whether or not illustration is for them, this is a great start. It gives nice examples of the profession as a job and what it entails. Though I know I feel differently about some of the rules I think it give you a good baseline. Given, I still have much to learn, and I might be inclined to see things differently after college and out into the world of freelance. When that time comes having this book is a good tool. Really though, this doesn’t necessarily have to be just illustration, but any art form that interacts with you and the client so either way it has some good work ethic tips.

  13. alhall82 / Oct 7 2010 11:56 pm

    I really found this book to be an insightful look into the industry as a whole. It will definitely help in professional development and figuring out where the work I do fits into the design world.

  14. jacquifinn / Oct 17 2010 10:49 pm

    As someone who is interested in the field of illustration, this book proved to be quite helpful. While it gave me an introductory glance into the field, I feel the book will continue to be helpful as I start my career as an illustrator. The flow of information from chapter to chapter offered helpful tips and examples from working illustrators. The only issue I had with the book was the seemingly negative tone of the author, Lawrence Zeegan. At times, it seemed as if Zeegan were trying to discourage starting a freelance career in illustration. The last two chapters, in my opinion, would be the most important chapters for any illustrator. The legal tips and sample documents will, I am sure, prove to be invaluable in my freelance career. I plan to refer back to this book often over the years to come.

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