onsdag 27 januari 2010

Dagens mailfråga

och dagens svar.


My name is H**** and I am currently in my third year at university studying Illustration. I found your work on the AOI website and was instantly drawn to it. I love your characters and the life that you bring to your artwork. As it is my third year I am currently writing my dissertation. I have chosen to focus on women illustrators and I am looking at gender stereotypes and sexism in children's picture books and in the way that women are treated generally. As a fellow woman illustrator I was wondering if you have faced any of these constraints or have been the subject of such things?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks,"

Mitt svar:
"Hi H****,

Many thanks for your nice words about my work.

I can't say I've ever felt discriminated against as a woman (or immigrant), by anyone in British publishing, or anyone else commissioning illustrations.

However before I had a child I would sometimes get asked (at parties etc, not by professionals);
"Oh, you work with children's books, don't you find that quite hard seeing as you don't have children yourself?"
It was often other women asking.
I used to be more polite about my answer but eventually got so hacked off by it. Not only is it ignorant (I don't think anyone would ask male picture-book makers like Nick Sharratt or Quentin Blake the same question, do you?) but unbelievably thoughtless; What if I'd just lost a baby, or not having any children was a great sorrow in my life?
These days I just say "Oh, you mean like ... perhaps, like brain surgeons who've had cancer themselves would get better at removing tumours?"

I also think it's really important for illustrators to "think big" and draw parents and adults featuring in picture books and other commissions in a contemporary and open minded way and not resorting to stale and nostalgic old clichés of stay-at-home Mums, cheeky boisterous boys and pretty, servile girls.
For instance, if I'm asked to provide a book illustration featuring a "scientist", "bus driver", "manager" or "chef" and there's no mention of the character's gender in the manuscript or brief, I will often strive to make that character female. Of course the commissioning client may get me to change it - and they may just not.
As illustrators I feel we have the power and responsibility not to rub ancient gender stereotypes into the young reader more than the industry already does - kids are surrounded by all that very limiting "boys-and-men-are-this-way" and "girls-and-women-are-that-way" crap from all sides. For me it's about striving to find a balance, to be inclusive and modern as an illustrator, but not overly P C or worthy.

Some of my thoughts - please email again if you have any questions.

Best of luck with your dissertation!"

5 kommentarer:

TUTT sa...

Fan vad bra. Fan vad "nicely put" och fyllt av integritet, erfarenhet och HUMOR. I love you! Blir nästan lipig.

Arild sa...

I say! Lovely English there, Amanda! And very well put. Impressing as always.

suziluz sa...


En Lisa sa...

språkhantering extraordinär.

30-nånting sa...

Faktiskt, jättejättebra svar. Jag gillar speciellt repliken om hjärnkirurger och cancer. Snacka om svar på tal!