Learning From Norman Rockwell

I have been reading Norman Rockwell’s story, as told by him in “My Adventures as an Illustrator”.  It is an interesting look at his life, work and methods.

I’ve learned a lot about him – that he was a hard worker, driven by a passion for his work.  That there were constraints that went along with working as an illustrator – he had always to keep in mind the company he was working for, what he was illustrating, and being sure that people who saw his work would understand what they were looking at.  That those constraints meant that he had to approach his work with thought, clarity and with deadlines looming.  That he studied and worked hard to develop and maintain his skills.  That he needed to travel and experiment to keep his work fresh.  That he researched and planned his paintings, using every detail to build the image he was creating.

And this is what I’ve learned from him, so far:

– That it takes time and practice to develop skill
– That details matter
– That it takes time to mature into knowing who you are and what you want to say
– That flops and failures are a reason to work things out, not a reason to give up
– That you must either communicate with people in ways they can easily understand, or find a way to show people how to understand what you are communicating.
– That there must be a part of you in every picture you create, so it is important to paint with heart and passion.

And I’m sure I will learn more as I continue to read and reflect.

If you’d like to know more about Norman Rockwell, artchive is a great place to start.

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