Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Art of Illustration

There was a time in my life - about a year ago - when I fancied becoming an illustrator. Sitting at home drawing and not having to speak to people for days seemed like a perfect job for me. Sadly, I had to abandon this project when I realised I can't really draw. Of course, there are plenty of illustrators who can't really draw or paint and it doesn't stop them but I believe that if you want to be an illustrator you need to be as good as Norman Rockwell.
I was just about to ramble about the dying art of illustration and how no one cares anymore but it is not all true. People still care and people still make great art.

Yesterday I went to see a great exhibition of Norman Rockwell's work in Dulwich Picture Gallery. If you live in London, do yourself a favour and go see it. Norman Rockwell was an illustrator who was more of a photo journalist before photos became what they are now. He is an author of a few iconic illustrations like my favourite one:

called "A problem we all live with" - it's a portrait of Ruby Bridges walking to school on the first day of racial school integration. She is guarded by marshalls. You can totally see it winning Wordpress Photo (provided it wasn't painted).
This is the stuff that Rockwell really wanted to draw and paint but, as we all, he needed to make a living, so he will also be remembered for tons of idealised scenes of American life so beloved in the 50s.

He still managed to insert some humour and keen social observation.

Another favourite:

While we are on illustration, I would like to mention the New Yorker whose covers have been examples of great illustration for a hundred years almost.
You can view almost all of them here (up to 2007). The remaining ones are available at the New Yorker's website. It is good to see one magazine still doing it. I would like to subscribe to it and then have it lying about at my flat so I can come across as classy and sophisticated.

Two more things I would like to mention while I have your attention.

Illustration Friday - this is a project anyone can participate in, professionals as well as amateurs. Every Friday a new theme is announced and for a week everybody can post their own interpretations of the theme. It's a sea of creativity. An ocean even. And great fun too.

Polska Ilustracja dla dzieci - is a Polish website (but it's all about the pictures, so it doesn't matter) about Polish children's books illustration.


  1. I never knew those things about Rockwell. That's pretty cool; thanks for sharing, Kinga!

  2. Pretty simple on this but I like the thought. I like when I can read something and hear it likes it's coming from the person's brain to my eyes/ears

  3. ENVY!!! I so wanna see his work!

  4. it's funny - the last photo reminds me of me and my brothers and sisters (we're african american) being insanely curious when the first hispanic family moved into our black & white neighborhood. :o)