Re: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)

Subject: Re: Doing your own graphics (an illustrators perspective)
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 13:26:00 -0600

Technical writers never cease to amaze me.

If it's only writers, you're to be envied. I'm continually amazed by people
in all walks of life.

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 happens. Just like programmers and engineers getting together and
deciding to do their own writing *and* illustrating.

Sometimes they can pull it off. I've known editors, programmers and yes,
even illustrators who knew how to write. Just as I've known writers who
knew how to illustrate, or who could design and build electronic circuits.
I know I'm no illustrator, though I can put together bits and pieces of
what other people have done (photographs, vid and screen captures, etc.)
quite well, if I do say so myself.

I think you'd do yourself and your position a favor, Mike, if you wouldn't
"have a cow" (your words) whenever a writer dares to suggest sometimes they
can do without an illustrator. After all, not every writing task *needs* a
superbly done illustration, nor will every company keep illustrators on
staff to create simple block diagrams, etc. You see, not everyone on this
list means the same thing by "illustration." A block diagram of a network
can be an illustration, as can a flowchart of a program (or a work-flow
diagram). Even though I'm no great shakes as an illustrator, I can do any
of those as well as most professional illustrators. (I hasten to add I'd
never even attempt to draw the output conveyor of a paster or the High-Rate
Testers we use around here. Those are jobs calling for far more skill at
illustration than I have. And, may I point out that one sentence captions
for illustrations call for far less skill than complete manuals do, and the
proportion of illustrators who could therefore create them competently is
much higher.)

you've completely lost site of the document structure and the
publishing process.

And you've lost sight of some realities of life. Not every company employs
writers, editors, and illustrators. Heck, some places don't hire *any* of
the three. We have to do with whatever resources our esteemed employers
have decided to give us. If that includes writers and illustrators, so much
the better. But often it includes only one or the other.

Note: This communication is not intended to upset anyone.

Oh, of course it was, Mike; don't be so disingenuous. Sorry to disappoint
you, but it's not worth getting upset over.

You're right. In a perfect world, writers write, editors edit, illustrators
illustrate, and everyone plays nice in their own little sandbox. When you
locate such a perfect world, send me the address?

(BTW, I wouldn't have a clue about how hard illustrating was if'n I hadn't
tried it for myself. Most jobs look easy until you try them, especially if
all you've ever done was watch a competent person do them. So I wouldn't be
so quick to discourage "one man bands." Letting someone try to do your job
is the best way to make it clear to them just how hard it is to do it
right. Unless, of course, the job really *is* simple. And, in the rare case
of the person who *can* do both, why discourage it?)


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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