Thursday, 6 May 2010

Lone wolf or gang warfare

Otto Dettmer
Container Plus

Lone wolf of gag warfare?

the tradition of the illustrator working alone seems to be changing, increasingly illustrators are forming collectives and working together in studios, give examples of both practices (solo and collective) and compare and contrast. what are the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each method of working? Which approach do you feel would be most desirable for you?

The aim of this essay is to look at the pros and cons of working with a group of illustrators and also the good and bad qualities of going it solo. I have decided to explore this area as Im sure afew of us are at least thinking about which way to go. I am going to explore the work of Container plus and Otto Dettmer.

Otto likes to produce afew roughs before sending to the client and he says fees are negotiable. His fees are generally standard within the industry they are of two components. I read on his website "1. the effort in physically making the illustration (make fee), and 2. the license to use the illustration for a specific purpose (license fee)." Otto has a set way in which he works, no-one but himself and the client will have a say in the pay, not to mention the image. I suppose the main reason for going solo is the money. Otto is highly influenced by Polish poster design and russian constructive designers. This means if he was to work within a group he'd have to find a person with the same interests, if he worked with someone with different inspirations it could change his work too much and the style of working would not match up to the content as much as it originally does now.

Container plus on the other hand work in a much different way. They began life in the industry as a group of two, Louise and Nikola found that their styles matched up perfectly and they both had similar ideas not to mention they was already friends from their degree course. Louise and Nikola love to draw but over time they broadened their interests and took on three more people. Two set designers and a photographer at the time this must have seemed like a great idea but the two set designers was not as work committed as the rest of the group. As time went by the group of 5 went down to 3 despite this the group did produce some really impressive work when they was a five-some. This could be a negative reflection on groups of designers showing they do not always get on and ideas cant always flow consistently. The three girls find they work together so well as they have similar interests are of a similar age. Now the group is made up of Two illustrators and a photographer. During the lecture given to us by Louise she revealed they also use assistants this would bother me as Id prefer to do everything myself and not to pay anybody else. However their style involves a lot of effort and some of the projects they work requires extra help. "We just sit together and come up with ideas. Listen. Take care, proper conversations. Lots of their ideas come out of a conversation. Fresh ideas on your ideas help. We also fund our own self-promoted projects." - Louise Vormittag , container plus on generating ideas with the rest of the group.

Its hard to compare both Otto and Container plus as they are both totally different in working method and styles. Otto enjoys screen printing and works with flat images so would not need much assistance in his area of work, whereas Container plus combine illustration with set design and photography so the work understandably has to be spread out.

Myself when I first began this course I pictured myself going it alone after graduation. At the moment I feel I shouldn't rule anything out. I believe it is good idea to share a studio with friends that way you can split the cost of the studio space but also keeping your independence and profits from your your own work as its still 100% yours. I love bouncing ideas between friends but I cannot imagine working collectively. This may well because I never tried to work with anybody else. I have a set way of working, much like every other illustrator. Sometimes I don't have the greatest ideas but they are always my own and I have a way of working of which I find myself working around making my illustrations more about the composition than the idea behind it. When Im given a brief I like write key words down and do small sketches relating to the brief, sometimes Il go off to a computer and look up the key words I'l have wrote down and start start cutting paper up in to shapes before I come up with a stable idea. A lot of the time I find I get a lot of inspiration during my research and gathering resource can almost change my ideas all together. once I have my final cut shapes and other work I can start scanning in to photoshop. The most important part is putting together the composition. I can spend hours replacing the elements until Im happy. Personally I get quite irritated when others try to contribute to my work. Im private in that I like to finish my work until anybody sees it. Id have to seriously change my ways if I decided to work collectively.