Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)

Subject: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)
From: Michael J Maloney <mmaloney -at- EPIC-ISTI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 13:26:41 -0400

Technical writers never cease to amaze me.

Can you imagine the absurdity of a technical illustration group getting
together and talking about "Doing Your Own Writing / Editing". The writers
would have a cow.

It's bad enough that you (some of you) do your own (our own) trade
(technical communication) a tremendous disservice by under-utilizing high
quality, professionally produced technical illustrations, but you've
completely lost site of the document structure and the publishing process.

Technical writing (prepared by a professional writer) should be edited by an
editor, place into a document designed by a publishing specialist and should
be accompanied by professionally produced technical illustrations. Sure, the
writer can decide the content of the illustrations, but if the writers
intend to produce the illustrations themselves, they will limit the
technical complexity to their own skill level and therefore possibly produce
a less effective document.

If our combined trade skills are supposed produce the optimum in technical
communications, we must each go with our strengths and training. Please get
off the "do it yourself" bandwagon and leave the illustrations to
illustrators. In return, the illustrators will continue to resist the
temptation to write, edit and publish.

If executed properly, a picture can be worth a thousand words. Just try to
describe how to build a LEGO Santa Clause using words alone. Then, imagine
trying the same with images alone.

All I'm asking is for "some" writers to consider the design, development and
production of technical documentation as a team process. IMHO, this approach
will strengthen our trade and produce better products for our consumers.

Note: This communication is not intended to upset anyone. If you are
offended, I apologize in advance. If this communication does not apply to
you, there's no need to be offended. If you would like to comment to me, or
the list, fine. If your impulse is to "flame the illustrator", please
refrain. Thank you.

Michael J. Maloney
President, EPIC Creative Services
2230 Lyndhurst Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28203 USA

President, ISTI (International Society for Technical Illustrators)
Business Phone: 1-704-523-6907
Business Fax: 1-704-522-7504
Home Phone: 1-803-366-6763

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