Month: June 2008


Susan Farrington on what’s good and what’s not so good about being an illustrator


What’s good
I am paid to be creative.
I make my own hours.
I am connected to a larger group of professional artists which helps with the isolation that sometimes comes with being an artist and working in a solitary environment.
I am my own boss.
My work can evolve at its own pace.
I am proud to have found a way to make art for a living.

What’s not so good
There are the occasional clients/jobs that are difficult.
There are times when jobs/income are not steady.
Deadlines can be challenging.


Linda Ketelhut’s thoughts on what’s good and what’s not so good about being an illustrator




what’s good about being an illustrator:
keeps you engaged/connected to what inspires you
you get to come up with new ways to convey ideas
help keep the world full of pretty art and inspire

what’s not so good about being an illustrator
the challenge of juggling other jobs while trying to
stay creative and have the time and energy for it all.
Sometimes isolation.


Greg Morgan on what’s good and not so good about being an illustrator



Solving something so differently than other mediums
Having a truly endless possibility to personify or characterize a concept
Being able to merge a label from the gutter with a piece of hi-tech foil
Being witness to whimsical, crazy and fantastic juxtapositions
Sketch, fax, snack, reply, converse, snack, create, glue, scan, deliver, elate all while listening to your favorite record
Surprise checks hiding between Capital One and Mortgage bill
Check envelopes with more than one check
An art director saying they love it

Not so good
Managing time in order to get the quality and vision you want
Having art director’s vision too tight to see a true potential
Mostly getting the type of work you show, seems limiting at times when you can do so much more
When an art director says it’s not working and the glue is already dry
10 rounds of changes on a budget of $250
Dealing with some art directors who deal in fear of editors who deal in bad communication


Watertower Part II, Research

How does one begin to think about how to design art for maybe one of the largest public art commissions? The tower is 175 feet tall, and Lisa DeJohn has been asked to design art for the tank; that’s that circular donut thing on top. Mesa del Sol is a a community that will have 37,000 homes, 3,000 acres of parks and open space with outdoor art and sculputure; there will be schools, and bike paths, and all kinds of great things for a semi-sustainable, amazing planned community. Since the water tower will be so visible, the visionary Amy Coburn, Director of Residential Development, insisted upon commissioning art for it and as a way to enliven the community.

The first step for Lisa is getting reference, so Susan McCabe and I take Lisa to a garden nursery and the Pertroglyph National Monument where Lisa can take photos for inspiration.










Matte Stephens in Urban Outfitters


Wow. Matte’s canvas wall art is being sold at Urban Outfitters.


Lisa DeJohn’s cover for the Land of Nod

I’m thinking that probably one of the most prestigious illustration commissions would be the cover of the highly-regarded Land of Nod catalog. Lisa has been invited to do a series of covers, which I will show you as they come off the press. Previous illustrators of the covers include MK Mabry and Calef Brown, one of my favorite illustrators.

I’ve seen Lisa’s art for the second cover and I can tell you that I’m pretty sure that you’ll love it. I’ll post it when it’s out.



Helen’s work is now available for scrapbooking.

Check out Helen’s scrapbooking pieces now available from Creative Imaginations.





New artist, Suzy Ultman







Suzy’s work is wonderful. I’m not telling you anything you can’t see for yourself, of course! We are so happy to have recently taken Suzy on for representation. She was a friend of Lisa DeJohn when they both lived in Portland, Oregon and now they both live on the east coast. Suzy took my illustration seminar in surface design this past year and she blew our minds every week. Her style has the letterpress sensibility we love. Suzy lived in Amsterdam for a few years (I think it was a few years) and that sensibility oozed into her brain and made her who she is today. Her work was super-well-received at Surtex, and we have several offers. Tell me what you think of her work. And feel free to contact us to assign illustration or license her work.


The Albuquerque Water Tower Part I: We visit the Site

What would the wildest illustration job be? Lisa has been commissioned to do art for a 175-foot watertower. Yes. This is true. The adventure starts with us flying out to Albuquerque this past February to meet with the great folks at Mesa del Sol. Amy Coburn, the very cool Director of Residential Development, brings us to view the site.

We will be updating the blog with watertower news every Wednesday.

Here’s Lisa looking at the plans and the local flora.

Here’s the beginning of the building of the tower and the site (aerial view).


Stay tuned to see the research Lisa does, and the limitations and delights of doing art for such a mammoth public art project.


Diane in her garden

One of my favorite gardeners is Diane Bigda. Here, with her cat in her garden, and a few of her lovely ink brush drawings.