Re: Am I an illustrator or a writer?

Subject: Re: Am I an illustrator or a writer?
From: Scott Miller <smiller -at- PORTAL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 09:15:04 -0800

I got into this writing dodge via technical illustration. The only reason
that writers can now illustrate is because of graphics programs. Before
that, illustrators were illustrators primarily because they could use a
rapidograph, a stat camera, and a whole bunch of other paraphernalia like
wax machines, resin bags, French curves, and electric erasers. In fact, most
illustrators worked from the wrist down, they simply rendered what a writer
had scrawled with a pencil. (The good illustrators paid attention to what
was being illustrated and made improvements that enhanced the meaning.)

So, I think that writers have always been involved with illustration in
perhaps the most important way, that is, deciding what needs to be
illustrated, and creating a sketch for the illustrator to render. Now that
there are graphics programs, the writer can do the rendering too. For simple
diagrams, anyway. It still takes an illustrator to draw hardware
installation figures.

However... since I was an illustrator, I feel qualified to say that most
illustrations produced by writers are pretty bad, even simple diagrams.
There are a lot of basic things that writers don't know about, like using a
decently-proportioned arrow head, making boxes line up nicely, avoided
angled lines, using subtle fills, and avoiding lime green. If I see another
lime green fill I'll throw up. Anyway, if you have to be a writer who
illustrates, I think it would be a good investment to bring in an
illustrator just to set up some graphics standards that you can follow, for
example, specify the maximum height and width, the standard arrow head, the
standard drop shadow for boxes, standard point size, font family, etc. If
you have a good template to work from, you have a chance at producing good

- Scott M
smiller -at- portal -dot- com

> Does anyone else on this list confront this issue,
> and if so, how do you handle it? At what point
> should we stand up and say "Enough! go hire a real
> artist?"

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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