Stars on the international scene give their personal insights into the hands-on aspects of working in specific areas of illustration. Editorial illustrator Olaf Hajek and fashion illustrator Liselotte Watkins, for example, explain how a subject must not only be depicted with savvy, but also in the style of the publication in which the work will appear. Information graphics specialists Jan Schwochow and Francesco Franchi explain why the content of their work must be absolutely correct—and how it often needs to be researched and visually dissected with dogged perseverance. Children’s picture books creator Oliver Jeffers explains why the mastery of visual storytelling and a sense for timing and the development of narration are essential to a story’s success.
Although the work of the featured commercial illustrators is very different, all of them tell of the high demand placed on them in terms of teamwork, sensitivity to client needs, and creative implementation. These aspects are not necessarily expected by those who still think of illustrators as tradespeople who simply execute the ideas that are given to them.
A Life in Illustration is a strikingly personal documentation of what working in various jobs at the intersection of art and creativity, amid personal work, teaching assignments, clients, and “bread and butter” projects actually feels like. As such, the book is not only inspiring for those already working as illustrators, but also reveals perspectives and hurdles for those considering a professional future in this field.