A Dozen Illustrators Talk About the Future: Dream Projects & Industry Upgrades on the Horizon
WORKING NOT WORKING
We interviewed a dozen illustrators to learn about their starts as illustrators, their daily process and current challenges, and what they want to see more of for themselves and their field in the future. Below, as we focus in on the future, the illustrators share what their dream projects would be, what steps they’re taking to get there, and what they want to see more of from the creative industry in 2019.
Header work sample by Violeta Noy
What would be your dream project or job and why?
Grace Miceli: I'd love to do more IRL physical takeovers, whether that means murals inside stores or animations playing on video screens in Times Sq. I'm so grateful for my online community but reaching beyond that would be amazing.
Emilio Santoyo: Dream job ufff.... I really want to work on very delicious restaurant branding. I think that would tie in all my practices. I want to do it all. Logo, inside decor, packaging, and have it be something I personally love and something I think tastes good.
Eric Petersen: I don't believe there is such as a thing as a dream project. I am very happy to be working professionally as an illustrator. Each project has its own challenges and rewards.
Mallory Heyer: It’s empowering when I collaborate with clients on projects that stand for something I believe in and I can help amplify their voice. It's great when I feel like what I do can help make a positive impact. I’ve already worked with some really amazing people and brands, but I’d always love to do even more of this on a larger scale, like illustrating and designing a full event that is made to inspire people to contribute to a positive future. Ultimately, my goal is to have work that spans from climate impact and social change to animals rights or helping self-esteem.
Violeta Noy: There's a book I'm working on at the moment, but for now it's only a pitch. I hope I can get someone to pick it up, because I've been thinking about it for years now.
Louise Rosenkrands: Well, at the moment I'm doing a mural for Uniqlo, so I really can't complain - but more and bigger murals would be fun! I really like to go big and to step away from the drawing desk once in a while. It's also good for my body.
Paul Garland: Something for Apple or a sports company such as Adidas, Nike or the like or Coca Cola or posters for the Railway network or Sonos or BP or Shell or Museum posters or Theatre Poster or.....
Ellis van der Does: I'd love to work for major news outlets, as I think the subject matters are most often very interesting, diverse, and engaging.
Scott Balmer: I wouldn't mind putting something together for the likes of Nintendo or Sony, Microsoft, possibly some sort of work on an indie game or even going down the path of tabletop games, as it would be fun to make something to be shown in 3D. Maybe make a children's book as well.
David Borrull: I've been asked this many times and I always don't know what to answer really. As long as I can produce images and movies that keep me interested and that they pay me well for it, I'll be happy.
Ruby Roth: A series of books containing my personal drawings and writing combined...the first is in the works. It's a "dream" project because it's what I'd love to work on all day every day if I could, but it doesn't necessarily feel commercially viable—that's a thought that stops a lot of us. But I'm still learning to trust my own process—if it's in the works, it's already happening, on its way to realization. The creation is all that matters, any other result is icing on the cake.
Fran Caballero: I never really like to dwell on this. I have a few clients I'd love to illustrate for, but I'm happy enough to work my way up there. I think in reality, the aim is to ditch the barwork for something more creative, and maintain the freelance work (I'm very punctual if you were wondering, any prospective design studios!)
What do you want to see more of in 2019 as an illustrator and for the illustration community?
Ellis van der Does: Diversity is very important! Whenever I draw something I try to include as many different people and body types.
Emilio Santoyo: Personally, as an illustrator I want to keep the fun going on my work.
BETTER PRICING & PRICING TRANSPARENCY
Louise Rosenkrands: More money for all the hard work that illustrators do! More respect for the value of our work. I know we have computers to help us and all, but what we do is still a very valuable trade. And computers and stock images can't imitate a living, breathing, and intelligent illustrator. The fees haven't really gone up since the eighties and that's no good. There are too many illustrators that work for nothing! We have to stand up and be united in the fight against poor pay.
Violeta Noy: I really think we should be talking more about pricing.
Ellis van der Does: I think it is important for the illustration community to know more about pricing and what normal rates are.
Mallory Heyer: Recently, the design studio Hawraf announced they would not be going forward. As a parting gift, they left us a public Google Drive with all their essential documents. They included some pricing information, which felt very relevant and bold. I hope we can have those conversations in the illustration community, too.
Paul Garland: More high profile customers putting their faith in illustration as a voice and medium for their communication. More freedom to be creative. To be paid in a timely manner.
Eric Petersen: I would like to see the continued and growing use of illustration by art directors.
Emilio Santoyo: I want there to be an understanding within the industry that if a client wants an illustration to animate even slightly there is a difference in that cost than the cost of a static illustration. I hear a lot of this from other illustrators. Making an illustration move even slightly takes added time and we should be compensated for that fairly.
ORIGINALITY FROM ILLUSTRATORS & CLIENTS
David Borrull: In commercial work, an increased number of bolder clients choosing bolder artwork for their projects.
Ruby Roth: Uniqueness. I see a lot of copycatting, repetition, and stylistically similar work that might as well be produced by the same person. I feel like this causes an unfortunate cycle between hiring companies and artists, where one thinks something popular must be good and everyone adapts to reduce creative risks. I'd love to see companies hiring "outside the box" and the marketplace to be flooded with more variety.
Scott Balmer: Hopefully more growth and some big brands utilising illustration more in some shape or form. Plus a lot of experimentation which really shakes up what an illustration can be.
Mallory Heyer: I think it’s really great that so many illustrators are using their craft to make sense of the crazy things that are happening worldwide to protest, inform, or process. I’m wanting to do more of this myself and to share more of it.
Fran Caballero: Collaboration. There's a lot of interplay and crossover between the works of different illustrators, and it'd be nice to see that acknowledged and embraced. I think the nature of illustrating and freelancing can be super-competitive and that's not harmful, but it can result in less collaboration with like-minded folks. Also, it'd be nice to see some kind of illustration hub in Glasgow, not necessarily studio spaces, but more on the social side, maybe.
Grace Miceli: More artists being honest and vulnerable in their work. There's so much of it already but I want more! Vulnerability is contagious and I think that's really cool.