Monday, September 1, 2008

Amarilla the Stippler


I am a failed stippler, but I failed stippling not because I refused to stipple, but because I like to stipple slowly and I don't like to crowd the stipples enough. When I worked as a botanical illustrator in the New York Botanical Garden in the early 90's, I was too naive to realize I'd been brought in by the academics in order to undercut the rising prices of other illustrators they'd come to rely on. Ignorance and low self esteem are not so good for protecting the rights of laborers. I didn't realize any of this until I finally met Bobby Angel, an illustrator whose beautiful pen work you may have seen in the New York Times.

I built up my chops a little and went for an interview in the fashion district working with a woman who designed prints for textiles. After she drew her motif, she wanted me to create depth and shadow with my stipple work, but when I found she couldn't pay me the 10 dollars per hour I was hoping for, I was outta there.

She was chilly, as most people I've met in that business have been, but you can still learn a lot from chilly people. In that short exposure, I learned from her that my stippling wasn't dense enough. But I just don't like dense stipples.

This sign on Union uses stipples while the sign on the other side which bears the same emblem doesn't. To stipple of not to stipple? I prefer not to. But I do enjoy it when my friend used to tease me about stippling for a living.

So, there's my labor day confession. Thank you for your forgiveness, Monseigneur(a). I haven't given up on finding a way to unite whim and worth. Hats off to the grace and gumption of those of you who've managed it. Also, due respect goes to all you crosshatchers out there.

4 comments:

Lisanne McT said...

I was a textile designer for many years doing it all by hand with ink, watercolor and guoache, now its all done by computer. It was horrible slave work for artists then and its even worse now!!! Very Bartleby Scribner like rooms of artists doing color combinations and repeats in silence on a "piece work" basis like a sweat shop except they called them "service studios".. a wise career move on your part!

amarilla said...

from textiles to blogging...

By they way, you've go a lovely hand, Lisanne, from what I saw in that piece at the Freddy's show you sponsored.

Vanessa said...

I've never heard of stippling until now. I consider myself just a tad bit smarter than I was a few minutes ago.

Also, at first glance, I thought it said Amarilla the Stripper. Oops =)

Lisanne McT said...

Why thank you! I got that from my years of indentured servitude in the textile industry, so at least one good thing came of it......