I graduated from art school right when Photoshop started rising in popularity. Designers at all the ad agencies started using it along with PhotoCD’s which grew popular before that got taken over by digital cameras. At the time, I had no idea what a dinosaur I already was, skillwise, without even knowing it before landing my first in-house job.
When I was in school, I wanted to be a movie poster artist like Drew Struzan. What I didn’t realize was that traditional movie poster art was on its way out. Even Drew Struzan couldn’t be Drew Struzan anymore.
Movie directors still celebrate Struzan’s work. But there are only a few directors these days like Guillermo del Toro and Frank Darabont who are actually willing to fight movie studio ad agencies to try to do apply traditional art to their movie poster advertising.
I think the issue is that in the case of an illustrator, he holds more power over the image than the ad agency. Illustrators would make $800 a day. Photographers might make $24,000 a day(in 1997) Without the illustrator, the ad agency couldn’t produce a poster. With the advent of Photoshop, that meant that any ad agency could produce a poster and they didn’t need illustrators anymore. At most they might need sketch guys to compose images which in-house graphic designers would attempt to emulate/reproduce.
At this point, it’s not about making great art. It’s about getting the job done fast. I didn’t draw the things I liked; I drew what I thought agencies might need.
The Pretty Girl
Funny Fat Guy Type
Invented Scenes with no reference other than a headshot.
I also learned how to airbrush.
But what I discovered was I really didn’t like doing this kind of work. I felt really fake. All of these images were just samples, not real art.
Sure, I got a few nice paychecks, but the stress and the quick turnaround pressure wasn’t any fun. Also, no one would ever see this work. It would always end up being a Photoshop big head poster in the end. I would get hired to do sketches, but better and more famous illustrators would be brought in. The stuff I would get to do was grunt stuff that name guys didn’t want to do.
And I eventually grew to hate it. High pressure and no fun. Obsolete to the max. No one needed it or wanted it anymore. Missing that boat was a blessing.
I ended up moving away from California. I had some specific skills for a business sector that was rapidly fading away. I needed to figure out what to do with myself. I needed to rethink, regroup, reset and plan a new strategy.
Thanks again for all your support,