There’s one particular lie I’m quite prone to telling. It goes like this, “Oh how I wish I could illustrate.” And really I don’t. I don’t wish I could illustrate. My head is too full of words. There’s no room in there for pictures as well. Sometime I notice that my children are talking to me and I’ve forgotten to listen because I’m too busy composing sentences in my head. Sometime I notice that I’m driving my car in the wrong direction and I’ve forgotten where I’m going because I’m too busy composing sentences in my head. And sometimes I notice that I’m in bed but I’ve forgotten to go to sleep because I’m too busy composing sentences in my head.
I don’t actually want to add illustrating to an already crowded head but I lie to convey my admiration for illustrators and their work. I say, “I wish I could illustrate,” to express the respect I carry for these artists who can do something I can’t. I can’t illustrate and couldn’t even if I really wanted to and tried very hard. I can only marvel at an illustrator’s ability to tell an entire story with pictures and I can only marvel at an illustrator’s ability to transform or enrich a story with pictures. I love it when my own stories are illustrated. It feels like a gift to watch the original text grow without me. But while I am often in awe of the artwork in picture books I don’t wish to create it myself. Writing brings me peaceful happiness. I’m content enough with that.
Yet even without the talent or desire to illustrate I still have ‘illustrator envy’.
Here are the four reasons why:
- Fancy Signatures I’ve always had messy handwriting. When I sign a book I feel a bit like I’m spoiling it, mucking up the pretty front page. Illustrators have curly jaunty handwriting. They can add a dramatic flourish to a dedication. Then, after signing their own name in a look-at-me-artsy-script they can include a quick little illustration too. A picture as well! Now that’s just showing off. I wish I could do that.
- The Easy Blog Post Because when you’re an illustrator even your drafts look impressive you have the luxury of being able use some of your work on your blog when you don’t have time to prepare anything special. I love reading these blog posts. They’re fun, visual and relevant and, I imagine for the illustrator, easy! I wish I could do that.
- The Wordless Store Appearance or School Visit Illustrators can create something while others watch. Instead of just talking about the creative process, or sharing an already finished product, illustrators can turn a blank page into something alive and then simply give it away to a happy observer. Far out. I wish I could do that.
- General Coolness Illustrators are just cool. They have a cool job and wear cool clothes. Sometimes they even have flecks of paint on their clothes or ink on their hands. So cool. I wish I was that cool.
Anyone else have illustrator envy? Someone else at work you envy?
Illustrator Envy © Katrina Germein 2010
Tags: Illustrator Envy