five more bugs

As an art tutor who teaches middle school and high school-aged students, I regularly encourage the use of observation and reference images. I am constantly asking my kids to work from life. When a lack of the "real thing" makes this impossible, I encourage them to turn to photographs, field guides, and reference books. As an illustrator, I learned early on in my art training that reference was a key component of quality illustration. I quickly discovered my love of the library, realizing that it contained an invaluable collection of imagery that helped me to take my illustrations to the next level.

With the recent bug project for my sister-in-law's wedding, I was provided with the perfect opportunity to return once again to my own illustration roots, while also practicing what I preach to my students. My first stop, soon after learning about this illustration "assignment," was none other than the library. Up the stairs I went, straight for the Smithsonian Handbooks. The photos inspired me, sketches ensued, and before I knew it, I was transforming my insects into finished digital illustrations.

These little bugs reminded me that I was meant to be an illustrator. There have been times in my life when I've wished I had the typography sense of a graphic designer or the eye of a photographer or the touch of a sculptor. These skills somehow seemed more glamorous or artistic or bohemian. But, with each new assignment that I tackle, I am reminded again that being an illustrator holds a unique and creative eye all its own. In fact, illustration, in some senses, combines the skills of so many various art forms. I am proud that I can call myself an illustrator.

It's funny the lessons that can be learned from a dozen or so tiny insects.


Kelly said…
Kind of ironic: just the other day, I was trying to do some design work for a friend, and they requested some icons in a particular style, and I realized that I am NOT an illustrator. =)

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