Q: Do you ever “recycle” your art? I mean: maybe there is an idea or a concept which one customer did not like but another customer could like? Or maybe you could recycle some “background-elements” in more than one picture (a dog, a car, a house, etc.). Or are you even sometimes able to re-use whole caricatures?
A: Yes to all of the above. If I have elements of a previous illustration or some sketch or something that will work well with a current project, I will absolutely use those elements again.
This is especially true with background objects or environments and illustration jobs. I have a folder with things like my illustrations of carpet patterns, tiled floors, brick patterns, woodland landscapes and a few other things like that which I may manipulate and use in a new illustration. It’s mainly as a timesaver… I’ve already drawn that stuff so I save the time by not having to redraw it all again. Of course I will only do that if whatever elements I am using from my little “library” work 100% with whatever new project I am incorporating them in. Things like brick patterns or chain link fence are pretty universal (and time consuming to draw) but other elements might not be a good fit.
Caricatures are a good example of something that only occasionally works for reuse. Usually when I have to draw a caricature for some illustration job the expression/attitude/focus of the subject is too specific for me to use a previously drawn caricature. Every once and a while I’ll have done some sketch for a “Sketch o’the Week” or another job where the caricature works perfectly for some new job, and I’ll reuse it. By “reuse it” I mean I’ll redraw that same caricature into the new illustration… I don’t cut and paste it. The visual identity of a given illustration almost always demands the creation of a single, coherent pieces. However that doesn’t mean I can’t redraw a previous caricature I did of some subject as part of that coherent piece.
Thanks to Dominick Zeillinger for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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