…and I’m really just thinking out loud here but “style” is a thing I have thought about a lot over the years.
Are we illustrators supposed to have just one? Should our style be strong and solid and easily recognisable? Or, should we be continually playing with and exploring new mediums, new ideas and new ways of doing things?
I don’t know the answer to that, or even IF there is an answer to that. I only know the way I do it…which sometimes frustrates the heck out me and other times makes me want to fist pump the air.
You see, I just can’t seem to settle on any one “style”.
My desire to experiment and play and try new things is strong – and I know exactly where that comes from – it comes from 20 years of living with a graphic designers brain.
As a graphic designer, the last thing you ever want to do is repeat the same thing over and over and over again. Big mistake! Boring! That will never win awards! Also, as a graphic designer, you’re constantly looking out into the world to see what’s new. Your work is influenced by fashion, by street art, by typography and photography. You follow trends … all while trying to set trends at the same time (yes, that is as tricky as it sounds). As a graphic designer everything you do is one big huge work in progress with the end result being a dynamic, exciting portfolio that demonstrates problem solving, versatility and innovation.
That’s how my brain has been trained to work and now, when you take my brain out of the design world and you drop it into the world of writing and illustrating for children it has to come up with a whole new way of thinking. And it makes me wonder. A lot.
Mostly it makes me wonder if I’m doing this illustration thing right! Ha!
I really admire illustrators whose style is so consistent that you can pick their work from even the smallest snippet. I admire the dependability of their work and I admire the commitment to their style.
Ooh! Maybe that’s it. I have commitment issues!
No. I don’t.
I’m an explorer.
Each new project, new blank page and new manuscript is, for me, an exciting new world of possibilities and challenges. It makes sense to me that they should all have their own personality. It makes sense to me, the graphic designer.
Me, the children’s book writer and illustrator, is working on finding that lovely balance where every new project feels fresh and innovative but still has my stamp all over it.
I think I’m close. I will get there. I love doing this job too much not to get there.
Also. I’m a perfectionist.
Also. I may be somewhat of an over-thinker 😀
Also. I may even be there already and just not know it.
In other news, Phil Pickle, the picture book Kenny Herzog (author) and I made together is publishing March 1 with Peter Pauper Press. Not long to go now!