Monday, 27 June 2016

Chameleon, scraperboard, c.1997

A drawing I produced for my own letterhead in my early years as a freelance illustrator, but never ended up using (I just didn't write that many letters). The idea was that to be a freelancer you needed to be somewhat chameleonic, ready to adopt a variety of styles and processes, ready to catch any good ideas too. 

I'm often asked by new illustrators, is it better to be diverse or have one particular, signature style? I'm still not sure, but starting out I had no real choice, in Perth at that time I needed to be diverse just to survive: paintings for galleries, murals, scientific illustration, architectural, product labels, concert posters, children's books, SF, horror, political cartoons; you name it, I tried it. Over time it morphed into something like a singular style anyway. Two good quotes by painters on style that I often think about: 

Georges Braque: 'Style is the inability to do otherwise' 

Frank Auerbach: 'Style is what you do in a crisis.'


  1. in a musical context Miles Davis once said "Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself"

  2. Good one. Conversely, Picasso was once asked how he felt about the trade in fake Picasso's and said: 'many of them I do myself.'


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