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The best way to put the difference is philosophy.  Quality of stylized elements and principals are not greater or lesser in either form, but are weighted differently.

The idea I see in fine arts is that every aspect of the piece can be weighted equally when critiqued.  This means stylized strokes in one are as valuable of the process an other took to make.  To be edgy, I see those artists oriented to the fine arts place the concept of elements and principals over how they fit together.  A concentration may not be a narrative, I have just recently found out.  Commonly, fine art pieces stand alone, only related by the creator.  I don't disagree with any of these ideas, but I do not associate.

When I think of illustration, I think of at least half the weight being put on the concept of the scene portrayed.  The reason many illustrations are hard to understand without others, I feel, is because there is a deeper context behind them.  Sometimes that can't be read within just the piece and I don't see that as bad.  I feel that the philosophy of illustration opens many doors for a larger project, for which all pieces will eventually fit.  That's how my book was written: through years of refining the symbols I drew so they fit together.  It opens the door when a concept is drawn.  Say an illustrator draws a strange beast crossing a plain.  It opens the door to elaborate: what does it eat? how does it act? who's there to see it or what, for that matter? What preys on it and what crosses it's path?  If all these questions are visually answered, we now see through the looking glass of a new world, and can expand on that further.  Maybe there's something beyond what we've created or maybe, a detail within that could let us interact better with this world.     

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Comment by Andrew Schlageter on April 16, 2013 at 9:09am

thank you

Comment by Linda Rzoska on April 15, 2013 at 11:11pm
Andrew,
I'll share with you some encouraging words I wished someone had offer to me when I was still beginning ny art career:

Do what you're passionate about and above all do it with love, patience and kindness, but always take risks and challenge yourself. Your audience will find you.
Comment by Andrew Schlageter on April 15, 2013 at 11:19am

Thank you for the comment Linda,

to be honest, I may not be defining illustration.  I was brought up as a fine artist and began to question if I was really one after I attended my first year at art school.  I just noticed that there wasn't a lot of work from even the upperclassmen that was like mine.  for all I know, I may be just trying to define my mission statement whether it be as an illustrator or a fine artist.  I know exactly what I love to do and your input encourages me to be cognitive, but I haven't found the audience or profession which my artwork and writing would best fit.      

Comment by Linda Rzoska on April 15, 2013 at 7:26am
Hi Andrew,
I was trained as a fine artist (painting) then made a living as an illustrator for about 20 years before I started my post graduate teaching career. While I was working as an illustrator I continued creating my fine art, exhibiting my work in juried exhibitions. That experience has left me with this point of view regarding the difference between illustration and fine art:

Illustration has a predetermined purpose that is usually defined by someone other than the artist. In my experience it was a client that defined the purpose of the illustration they were paying me to create. Whether it was an illustration to help tell a story, sell a product, show how something works, or visual communicate an idea or concept - there were precise specifications I had to follow and the illustration was not a success unless it met those specifications and achieved the client's purpose.

With my fine art I have no one directing the purpose or laying out specifications other then myself. I create something that is meaningful to me.

Again, this is my own point of view relating to my own experiences. I realize, historically, fine artists made their living by commissioned work so there was a "so-called" client involved. The client had to be pleased but It was up to the artist (Rembrandt, Titian, Rubens, DaVinci, etc.) to decide how to create the work and what it would look like.

Just my two cents . . . A very interesting topic for discussion.

Kind regards,
Linda

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