First of all...hello again! It's been too long (over a year since posting?! Bad blogger! Bad blogger!) I won't bore you with the story of lack of work, a plethora of work, etc. For too long patterns have gone unadmired and unmocked.
But first...a digression. To me one of the interesting questions artists who work for others face is how to put their own spin on work-for-hire projects. I grew up in Denver, and in the natural history museum there, you can find about eight elves hidden in the painted dioramas. According to museum lore, diorama Kent R. Pendleton wasn't allowed to sign his work -- so the hidden elves serve as his "signature." I love his solution to the work-for-hire dilemma.
What about pattern illustrators? How did they sneak bits of themselves into their work? Are the little quirks in illustrations -- like a random chair or a floating mini-helper -- actually an artists' way of saying "hey, this is me!"?
Or were the illustrators just drunk?
Imagine, if you will, the bar across from Simplicity headquarters. It's 1968 -- but while free love reigns outside, in here it's whiskey and cigars. Two grizzled pattern illustrators are delaying returning home.
"Joe," says the first. "I got one you'll never get past management."
The second chuckles. "You mean like 8806 when I made two of the girls float and lost one of their legs?"
"Child's play," Frank tells him. "This is even tougher than those girls we made look possessed."
"They didn't sell 'cause those girls looked like they were gonna eat your soul. A pretty notched collar can't undo that."
"What's your challenge, Frank?"
"8190. The Jiffy pattern."
"Put one of the girls in brown. With a rope belt."
"Hood up or down?"
"You want me to make her look like a Benedectine monk?"
"Yup. And no hiding her in the back. I want her right in the front."
"Why don't I just put her arms out to the side while I'm at it? Make her look like she's on a cross?"
"Nah, they'll catch that. Just tell them the kids these days are into it. Kids these days are into all kinds of weird shit."
"It'll never work."
"No, it won't. But it'll be worth it to see the look on their faces when we turn it in, won't it?"