Digital technology has become the dominant media of choice by the winning illustrators in this year’s Annual—the first time in our history. For more than a third of the images selected, a computer was used in at least part of the creation process.
“There is definitely an upswing in the amount of art created on the computer,” said juror Tyler Darden. “On the other end of the spectrum, there was a good deal of naïve or folk art, which is a nice counterpoint to the use of slick photography. I also enjoyed seeing techniques traditionally found in fine art such as lino printing, woodcuts, etching and collage used, sometimes digitally, to create images.”
When asked about judging the 5,286 entries, juror Jim Ales was inspired. “I was not prepared for the physical energy I felt being surrounded by so much creativity. The range of talent and sophistication varied mightily, but the courage and confidence of all the illustrators was positively overwhelming.”
“The fact that global issues, both positive and negative, were interpreted unashamedly by numerous artists was reassuring,” added juror Bill Robbins.
I also asked the jurors about the current state of illustration and where it might be going in the future. “After a dry period, I think there is a renaissance of adult book jacket illustration happening, based on my own experience,” said juror Susan Mitchell. “Many well-known illustrators are going to the children’s book area.”
“Illustration has few boundaries and will always be a catalyst for people in the business of inspiring others.” —Jim Ales
“I think the venues for illustration will continue to grow, especially in the area of new media (i.e., video games and animation),” said juror Cathie Bleck. “I know illustrators are in other markets: licensing works for product, fabric, rug designs, wrapping paper, apparel, etc. Also, doing work for props on movie sets, animation, primary scene developments.”
“I think illustrators can have more success creating projects or proposals and pitching them to appropriate outlets,” Darden said.
This year’s jurying began on Sunday morning, April 1. We worked in two large conference halls, each equipped with projectors for digital entries and six rows of tables for tear sheets and proofs.
The jurors worked in two groups of three with Jean Coyne acting as the sixth judge during the screening. All categories had been divided so each team screened half of the entries submitted. The judges alternated between viewing a session of projected digital files 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. Digital files were screened by checking the “in” or “out” column on prepared scoring sheets.
“The fact that global issues, both positive and negative, were interpreted unashamedly by numerous artists was reassuring.” —Bill Robbins
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 as digital files 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 creating. 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 48th Annual Exhibition. —Patrick Coyne ca
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Jim Ales is the design director for the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. He is responsible for the creative direction, design and maintenance of the aquarium brand and communication programs. Ales’ work, and the aquarium, is changing the way individuals, corporations and government agencies understand and interact with ocean environments. Ales lectures frequently on nonprofit branding from a positive economic and social growth perspective and he serves on the AIGA National Board of Directors and is on the Founding Board of Advisors for the AIGA National Center for Sustainable Design. His work has appeared in many design and museum award publications and he is the recipient of the AIGA Environmental Leadership Award. His commentary on conservation branding will be featured in both Allworth Press and Rockport Press publications in 2007.
Cathie Bleck studied design and painting at the University of Illinois. She grew up in a family of artists, as one of nine children and was raised in rural Illinois on a tree nursery owned and operated by her grandparents. In this bucolic setting, she developed a fascination with the sinuous forms found in nature. Bleck has been the recipient of many awards including a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration. She has lectured, conducted workshops and exhibited throughout North and South America and Europe. She is represented by Enid Lawson Gallery in London. A definitive art collection of her work Open Spaces was published in 2006 featuring over 80 works of art. Bleck lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, George Muschler, and their three children.
Tyler Darden earned a degree in illustration with a minor in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Communication Art and Design. He has worked at three magazines and is currently employed at Virginia Living magazine as art director. Over the years, Tyler’s work has been published in the Art Director’s Club of New York Annual, the Communication Arts Design Annual, Print magazine’s Regional Design Annual and the Society of Publication Design Annuals and SPOTS competition. Recently, he shared a Society of Illustrators editorial gold medal honor as art director for a piece with illustrator Sterling Hundley. He spends his free time painting, wakeboarding and experimenting with an old 11 x 14 ultra-large format camera. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, the city of confederate monuments, with his wife, two daughters and son, and teaches part-time at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Communication Arts department.
Susan L. Mitchell
senior vice-president/art director
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Susan L. Mitchell is senior vice-president/art director for Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York. A graduate of Pratt Institute, Mitchell has spent her entire career in the book publishing business. Awards and citations she has received include Designer of the Year, Literary Market Place and The American Book Award. Career focus articles about her have appeared in Adweek Winners, Photo Design and Photo District News. She has been included in cover and book shows for AIGA, Type Directors Club, New York Art Directors Club, Los Angeles Art Directors Club, Bookbinders Guild and published in Communication Arts, Print and Society of Illustrators annuals.
art buyer and print production manager
Bill Robbins is the art buyer and print production manager for RIESTER, which has offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. While earning an advertising degree from the University of Colorado, he interned at the Boulder Daily Camera and was production manager of the student-run Campus Press. After spending two years typesetting for the commercial printing industry he led the in-house marketing department at BRW/Denver, a large urban planning and architectural engineering firm. Robbins joined RIESTER in 1989 and has been instrumental in its leadership in social-cause marketing and brand activism. The firm’s work has been recognized in numerous award shows and periodicals, including Adweek, Communication Arts Advertising, Design and Illustration Annuals, Creativity and the Graphis Poster Annual.