Jillian Tamaki's FAQ Page is fantastic

It seems funny to say that.  I mean, her illustrations are brilliant, beautiful, evocative.  (I just finished and loved reading Skim, a graphic novel of hers that came out in 2008) But her FAQ page - which is aimed at the inquisitive and eager student who is hungry for the "key" to an illustrator's success - is filled with thoughtful, commonsensical support and advice.

Take this, for example:
What does it take for a young illustrator to be successful today?
There are 2 main things, I think.
The first is my blunt opinion: you have to be good. Don't waste your time if you don't have the talent and/or motivation. No amount of promos, websites, mailers, new items in your portfolio will do you any good if the work is not up to snuff.
That said. You don’t need to be the Second Coming of illustration. You just have to be able to make something someone can use. Many people are tripped up by never putting their work out into the world because they are crippled by fear. Which doesn’t make sense because if you thought your chances of success were low before, they are most definitely ZERO now. But I suppose that’s the point. You can’t really “fail” if you never try… that’s a very common attitude.
 It is well worth reading.

Jillian Tamaki's website is here.  And her blog is here.  Both are great, but on her blog you can see her experimenting with things outside of her usual "style," which is fascinating.  Plus you can look at her quilts.  (Quilts!)

In other news, I just learned about a (relatively) new and ostensibly fun lecture series here in Toronto called Nerd Nite - tonight's topics are (1) microchips and (2) how America's history was influenced by bars.  It could be promising...?  Anyone here in Toronto want to come with?


Steven said...

Hi Kinnon

Interesting that you posted about Jillian. I also have become interested in her FAQ and her Sketchblog recently. I also have become a fan of her work. She's a good inspiration to me.

I started out this year trying to draw something once a day (I haven't been drawing for over 20 years but ironically have a BFA). So far I have fallen off the wagon a bit. I find sometimes its hard to tackle my rusty old skills. So I have decided to take open life drawing classes once a week to get in shape. I love your work too. I should check out your blog more.

Kinnon said...

Thanks Steven! I think that's fantastic that you're taking life drawing again - it's an amazing way to un-rustify your skills. Where have you been going?
Thanks for the nice words about this blog too - they're so appreciated. Keep in touch!

Steven said...

Doing a couple of things. Graphic design for over 14 years (lots of computer-based work not all fun) and then a small side career in radio announcing and production. I am back at graphic design as a freelancer looking to transition over to web design. I also have ambitions to do a graphic novel someday too. Needless to say that dream may take some time as my drawing skills and writing skills need improvement.