I have recently read an article in Varoom Magazine on Art Direction (Aesthetics of a relationship) in preparation for a discussion group at University. It really interesting to read about the industry from a Art Director's perspective, which I found very useful for the future. There was quite a few very interesting and valuable points covered in the article, below I have listed my take on the article:
-Art Directors can be heavily pressured which an urgent demand to fill magazine/publishing spaces which I can imagine takes away the creativity and enjoyment from carefully selecting illustrations, there has been a current shift towards Internet use due to technology development over the years.
-Craig Mackie who is an Art Director at New Scientist Magazine explained that he feels it very important to have strong communication between the Art Director & Illustrator and also clarity on what is needed, another really nice point was that as an Art Director he will try to see it from the Illustrators perspective, as he himself as been at the other end of the spectrum, which I think is a great tool to be able to understand challenges faced, he also stated that the Illustrator needs to be informed what and why in relation to the subject matter/context.
-Kevin Wilson, Head of Design at the Financial Times stressed that there is definitely still a demand for Illustrators, but more so in a visual media landscape - this is an interesting point as ipads, smart phones and newspapers are progressing online, but I think this will mean that as Illustrators we will need to up our skill set and start to think more about how are illustrations will work with movement/technology such as a Giff that moves, I also think that Illustrators are beginning to animate their designs more and that the term 'illustrator' is no longer restricted, and more experimental.
I also listened to the podcast Interview with Stephanie Glaros, Art Director for Uttney Magazine, USA. This was also a really knowledgeable listening experience, Some of the key things I noted:
-Stephanie mentioned that she felt there was no real support of training for Art Directors as such, and that she would of liked to see more Art Director Communities around and also for Illustrators/Art Directors to come together more often and communicate to one another.
-She uses a lot of Conceptual Illustrators who are like conceptual thinkers and she also uses a lot of Narrative Illustration with a more literal approach
-She builds a collection of fresh talent that she may go back to in the future if a suitable brief comes up that will fit their style.
-Turn around times for briefs can be as little as 3-4 days from ideas to print
-Stephanie Glaros also mentioned that she is really involved throughout the full editorial process, which I feel must be supportive to the Illustrator as a working relationship can be developed better if you have more contact with the Art Director, which in turn avoids consulting a 'middle man' and avoiding communication errors, which may affect the finished work.
-She also mentioned she keeps a contact list - Which reinforced that idea that email addresses, websites and blogs must be all up to date at all times as the Art Director may think you are not available/not producing work if there is a problem contacting the Illustrator.
Links to the above discussed are below: