Artist Representitive from Magnet Reps answers the question:
What changes in the illustration industry have you seen in the last 10 - 15 years? What are some recent trends?
- I feel that there was a swing toward photography for a while there but in the last few years I've seen that illustration is getting more visibility and credit, and with greater success and return for clients.
- There are substantially more illustrators now than there ever were before. This may in part be due to the 'manipulated photography' as illustration trend and the 'graphic design work' as illustration trend, but I believe it is also attributable to what appears to be an expansion of illustration, animation and even comic book art programs in many art schools around the world. There is a lot more competition for illustrators out there now.
- The art directors, creative directors, designers and art buyers that have jobs are under greater pressure to perform at higher levels than historically expected and with less resources and support staff.
- Illustrators started selling stock artwork to and through large stock agencies for low prices. The illustrators that I hear complaining about stock are primarily the illustrators that sold their work as stock. My advice - don't do it and you'll never be sorry you did.
- Stylistic trends: Very clean, slick and slightly stiff digital illustration has been popular for a while now, as is a style that I would describe as looking like 'information graphics', but clients are starting to get bored with this. I don't want to scare artists that just render color digitally - that's not what I'm talking about. I often hear the words 'authentic', 'painted' and 'hand-made' coming up lately. Graphic novels are a trend, as is the concept of the illustrator as a writer as well - but beware, just because you can write does not mean that you should. Be self-scrutinizing and if that fails have someone else scrutinize the writing. Bad writing will bring down good illustration. Lastly there has been a flood of illustrators that generate their work from photographic imagery and manipulate it slightly in a few different ways to create an illustration. This is a trend that has been jumped on by artists at an alarming rate (it is by far the largest number of representation inquiries we receive) and I can only assume this is due to the fact that - sorry - it's got to be pretty easy to do. My advice here - find another style, there are already too many of you out there and the luster of this style is starting to tarnish.