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Frame of Reference - Bill Lust-ashe Murray


So yesterday I posted my final illustration for Illustration Friday, but I also wanted to share the original sketch I drew for the project.  This is a little, well, alot more realistic version of the final image.  Now why didn't I finish this image as opposed the the more cartoony one?  I think it is because I am trying to get a grasp on a style that is my own.  I think there is an inclination (at least for me) to start off wanting to be realistic to show, at least to myself, that I can do it.  I also have a tendency to want to go in a million directions at once and the harder thing for me to do is buckle down and say this is the path I am walking on now.  Some people call it branding their style and artists and creative types probably don't want to box themselves in in that way.  They can be a photographer, a graphic designer, a film maker, an illustrator ( I write these because these are all skills that I have, yours might be a little different) but to be all of those things at once and to try and sell that to someone who you might want to work for, it becomes a hard sell. Even if all the stuff is good, people might shy away because it lacks simplicity and specifics.  One show I love watching is Kitchen Nightmares where Gordon Ramsay walks into failing restaurants to see why they aren't working.  Sure, most of the time its because they are dirty and have bad habits or are just crazy, but many times the owners have giant scattered menus.  If I see Gordon flip through a 3 page menu, I know he's going to slash it down to at least a page by the end of the show.  He gives them a handful of new recipes and insists on making those few specific plates great so people will come back.

I think the same can be said for creative artists.  I look at my friend Jonathan Gibson who creates these amazing paintings and teaches at Xavier University, but he is also a great photographer and has a successful side business as a wedding photographer.  Jon is one of those guys that you could probably put anything creative in front of him and he could do it.  But by focusing on his photography instead of trying to sell himself as a creative grab bag, he can get work.

And I'd like to get work illustrating, but that means I need to focus. We'll see how that goes.


  1. Well....I haven't seen your other one yet, but I must say that I LOVE this drawing. It is so beautifully, sensitively drawn. I think I don't even want to see a cartoony version, since I like this fellow so much.

    I don't know about this whole business of "branding", though I do get your point. I think that if you keep doing stuff, you end up going in a particular direction, but to do it deliberately.....

    But then, I'm not trying to make a living as an illustrator.....


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