“While there was a lot of wonderful work to consider, I fear that the reduced number of entries signals how badly the illustration field is hurting,” said juror Sara Schneider. Juror Jon Cannell added, “The large amount of work submitted in the unpublished category was a bit unsettling. The trend emphasized the current state of illustration. I think illustrators are going to have to be more creative in the way they market themselves.”
When asked about the direction illustration is currently taking, juror Janet Michaud commented, “Right now I think it’s literal rather than interpretive. That seems to be the climate. As the economy gets better, I hope people will take more chances.”
“There is some very nice work being done, floating in a sea of mediocrity.” —John Rush
“I think there is a lot of searching for new direction, and unfortunately, a lot of it is in the direction of computers,” said juror Terry McCaffrey. “I would hope that good, solid, hand illustration will continue to be appreciated and commissioned.” Schneider concurred, “I’d hate to say that it’s all going digital, but I do think that tighter deadlines and budgets are driving illustrators in that direction. And, there are some that do a stellar job with it. Their style is dependent on the computer and thrives on it. That does not mean that I wish to see hand-rendered art suffer however. My preference is to see three viable options: hand-rendered images, digital art and a skillful marriage of both.”
I also asked the jurors about potential profit centers that illustrators might explore. Juror and illustrator John Rush offered, “A former illustrator friend of mine now turns his paintings into prints (on his own $8,000 Epson printer). He sells this work through a network of galleries in the upper Midwest, and increasingly on the Internet. This vertically-integrated business is now his new profession.” Schneider added, “The obvious place to go is product development and merchandise: T-shirts, bags, wrapping paper, etc. I was recently in Paris and saw the greatest line of lunch bags, crayon boxes, portfolios and umbrellas… each piece was different, but created by the same illustrator.”
This year’s jurying began on Sunday morning, April 4th. We worked in two large conference halls, each equipped with a projector for slide entries and six rows of tables for tear sheets and proofs.
“It’s very encouraging to see so much illustration being produced in this day and age when illustration is struggling.” —Terry McCaffrey
The jurors worked in two groups of three with Jean Coyne acting as the sixth judge during the screening. All but the smallest categories had been divided so each team screened half of the entries submitted. The judges alternated between viewing a carousel of slides and then a set-up of print entries. Any juror could place an illustration in the ﬁnals by handing a printed piece to a member of the CA crew. Slide entries were screened by checking the “in” or “out” column on prepared scoring sheets.
The ﬁnal voting took place on Monday with all ﬁve jurors working together. Print entries were again spread out on the tables. Two paper cups, one white for “in,” the other red for “out,” with slots cut in the bottom, were placed upside down to the right of the pieces. The jurors voted by putting a different colored tile into the bottom of the appropriate cup. The different colored tiles allowed us to make sure that every entry was voted on by every judge. Finalists submitted on slides were again voted on by each juror checking “in” or “out” on scoring sheets. A simple majority was required for acceptance.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects they were directly involved in. When a judge’s piece was in the finals, either Jean or I would cast the fifth vote.
I would like to thank each of the judges for their conscientious efforts in selecting our 45th Annual Exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca