OK artists, illustrators cartoonists and painters, here’s where you stand: you have 6 more days to do “fat”.
“Huh?” you say, staring at me in wide-eyed perplexity, “Say what?”. “Fat”, I say, “6 more days to do ‘fat’, or at least your interpretation of fat”. You stare at me again like I had spoken in an obscure dialect of Siberian Eskimo, and I casually add: “Illustration Friday, it’s this week’s topic on Illustration Friday.”
“Don’t know about Illustration Friday?”, I say, limbering my typing knuckles in anticipatory blogger position, “Well, let me tell you.”
Illustration Friday is an idea, a word, more specifically a topic, served up once a week on the Illustration Friday website as an excuse or focal point for the creation of illustrations by hundreds of participants across the web. There is no client, no art director, no restrictive format demands or requirements for medium, size or proportions. It’s just the illustrator and the topic, dancing the dance of inspiration.
As artists, and particularly illustrators working with clients, we can easily find our joy in that dance dampened by the requirements, restrictions and editorial/art director conflicts that hang on it like a sour-mouthed, puritan chaperone. Deadlines, revisions, space restrictions, intrusive type and the stress of doing business can deflate our little balloon of joy in the act of creation in short order, and the idea of sitting down and doing an illustration simply for our own benefit, for the fun of it, seems remote.
Illustration Friday provides an excuse, a time and a topic for exercising our creative muscles in a little jaunt free of the usual restrictions. The site consists mainly of a topic, like “Fat”, Insect”, “Escape”, “Summer”, “Broken”, “Ancient” or “Lost”, and the artists who choose to participate create an illustration of their interpretation of that topic, in any size, proportion or medium, and post it to their own web site or blog. They then submit the location of that illustration to the Illustration Friday site through a simple form, and the links to the illustrations are listed on the Illustration Friday site, to be browsed through by other artists and interested art fans ’round the web.
There is a simple set of instructions on how to participate.
Everything is designed to encourage creativity, rather than suppress it. The topics themselves are usually submitted by participants, and the ones selected tend to be adjectives more often than nouns in an attempt to suggest possibilities other than the literal. “Fat”, for example doesn’t have to be obese individuals, it can be a steak dinner, a thick pencil, a large tree trunk, a thick to thin line or a caricature of Oliver Hardy, with or without his partner. Freeing your imagination is the whole point.
It now allows you to view the submitted illustrations by medium or by style rather than the previous simple list by number. Artists can now submit a thumbnail image, although most just use the same thumbnail to identify themselves, rather than providing a thumbnail of each work. It’s still useful for those browsing the list to pick out illustrations they’d like to check out.
The style, approach and level of artistic accomplishment can vary widely, but that’s a nice result of the process. This is a great place for fledgling artists to stretch their artistic wings, and put their work out for others to see.
When browsing, clicking on the “Link Viewer” (just under this week’s topic) allows you to see the entries in a frame next to the list of links so you don’t have to keep opening and closing windows. Very nice feature.
Illustration Friday is one of the most widely linked sites I’ve seen on art related sites and blogs. Rarely do I encounter a site with a link to lines and colors that doesn’t also have one to Illustration Friday. So maybe I’m not telling you anything new, but consider it another reminder.
Yes, I know I’m telling you about “Illustration Friday” on a Saturday. I wanted you to see the process of the topic building in its early stages but with enough entries for the new topic up for you to get a good idea of how it works. The list of links will build throughout the week.
Readers and art appreciators can check it out as new illustrations are added daily. Artists, get out your pencils, pens, chaulks, brushes, and Wacoms and see what you can do with “Fat”. You have 6 days until the next Illustration Friday topic is posted.