Saturday, November 19, 2011

Al McAlister on the Constant Change in Our Business

Last month, on my other blog, Today's Inspiration, I talked about how technology and changing tastes had caused dramatic shifts in the illustration business back in the mid-20th century. Many illustrators watched their careers disappear before their eyes. The lesson we can learn from that era is this: 

"Adapt or Die"

Nothing ever stays the same in this business. If you've been around it for any length of time, you'll quickly discover that. Al McAlister was one of the many artists who commented on that post and I thought his remarks, based on long personal experience, would be valuable for all of us to consider.With Al's permission, here are his remarks on the subject, accompanied by some of his always terrific artwork - many thanks, Al! ~ Leif 

Al McAlister on the Constant Change in Our Business 


It is a timely topic, I am feeling the change also.


In 1991 the business here in Brazil tanked because of the economy.


I was invited back to New York by my old comp art illustration reps, Diamond Art Studios. The advertising comp art business had changed a lot since I had left the USA in 1983. 


The ad agencies were now enamoured with storyboards made up from stock photo catalogues. With that, comp work dried up - so Diamond left the storyboard and comp business.


They were now into regional marketing campaigns - direct with the client, no ad agency. Diamond Art even rebranded themselves as the Diamond Promotion Group. So with promotion clients, I was very busy once again, this time working with Clairol, L'Oreal, and what seemed a huge number of liquor brands.


A few years later the company was bought out and in 1995 I began working with Paul Santa-Donato, who was one of my first reps at Diamond originally. Illustration for comps had come back strong since the clients had complained that all the storyboards looked alike because the art directors would all use the same "beautiful" photos.


And the photographers themselves and directors disliked comps and storyboards with photos, specially the ones with mood, saying that it really hampered their creativity. An illustrated storyboard always left room for imagination.


With the advent of the internet I was able to return to Brazil and work from my studio here. But now we are going through another phase... what you see here are some examples of recent work.


* Many thanks to Al McAllister - please visit Al's Facebook page for more great artwork!