The first full day here in New York and we’ve already seen so much. We’ve encountered more people that have illustrated a cover for The New Yorker than you can count on two hands. If the purpose of this trip is to gain insight into the business of illustration, then we got that in spades today.
We started out the day with a brief visit to the Art Students League of New York. They had a showing of great figure drawings in the second floor gallery. From there we ventured over to The iSpot headquarters, where we met with Dave Tabler, the manager of portfolio sales. Over a sushi lunch we chatted about the current state of the illustration market, and what illustrators can do to market themselves. Essentially, the old guard needs to catch up with the new tech, because the days of waiting for the phone to ring are long since past. The modern illustrator needs to be much more proactive, creating there own content, as well as responding to current events happening in the world.
After lunch we took a quick cab ride over to the studio of illustrator Marcellus Hall, on the outskirts of Chinatown. We sat and chatted with Marcellus for a bit, exchanging sketchbooks, discussing differences in approach. His studio, like many illustrators, was located in his apartment. He had a great view of East Broadway from his studio window. I know how a view like that can help with the creativity. Marcellus has illustrated two New Yorker covers in his career. His work really speaks for itself. I must say though, his character studies and depiction of street life are spot on, and crackle with that energy we all try to capture in our work. Really stellar stuff, take a look:
The view from Marcellus’ studio:
After visiting Marcellus, we made our way over to Soho, where we spent and hour or so. We then made our way underground, purchasing Metrocards to take advantage of New York’s legendary subway system. Our destination was The School of Visual Arts, for a lecture on the future of illustration, moderated by the venerable political illustrator Steve Brodner. More on the lecture to come. Beforehand, we slipped into a pizza pub around the corner and I was able to sneak in some sketchbook time:
The lecture at SVA focused on the new direction that the field of illustration is headed. Is the editorial market continues to dwindle, new avenues are opening up in video, product design, the web as well as app graphics. The panel consisted of a quarter of young-gun illustration grads from SVA. I’d previously encountered the work of two of them: Mickey Duzyj and James Blagden. The format of the lecture was interesting because it was the old schoolers who were listening intently to the words of the new talent. It’s a constantly evolving world out there, illustrators must think beyond te printed page. You must create your own content and be an entrepreneur at the same time. With the right attitude and motivation, it is possible to stay ahead of the curve. Hearing this really confirms what I’ve felt for awhile. Now back to the drawing!
Tomorrow we visit the amazing John Ciardiello in New Jersey.