Robert Fawcett and Manuel Auad on Doing Your Best Work

Excerpt from David Apatoff's text in the new Robert Fawcett book:

As his work matured, Fawcett continued exploring new ways of making images. He was always willing to abandon conventional wisdom and experiment with new tools and techniques in his work. he told students, "There are no hard and fast rules. The more you look for them as crutches to support you, and the harder you try to produce something which 'looks professional' because it follows some procedure which you believe is standard..."

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"... the more you will stifle your own creative ability."

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Art Director Howard Munce described Fawcett's highly unusual approach to foraging for drawing tools: "Bob had a habit of poking around the studios of his friends and finding beat-up brushes that had known better days. The owner was always amused and pleased to give them to him when he showed an interest. Back in his own studio, he'd give the tired discards a shave and a haircut with a sharp blade and refashion them to suit his needs."

"Mostly he made wedged tips of various angles to serve special functions in his illustrations. In his hands, an old brush would begin a new life. he might use it to stroke in lines, to indicate a bit of rococo moulding, or to scrumble in a particular texture. But however he used it, it would always leave his unmistakable imprint."

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[Fawcett] urged young artists not to compromise to satisfy popular taste. "Young illustrators will not find guidance by studying the currently popular. The popular is usually just on its way out."

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He also warned young artists about the consequences of failing to do their best possible work: "The argument that 'it won't be appreciated anyway' may be true... "

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"... but in the end this attitude does infinitely more harm to the artist than to his client."

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Excerpted from David Apatoff's text in the new Robert Fawcett book

And speaking of doing one's best work, here are some final thoughts from Editor/Publisher, Manuel Auad:

"Some transparencies that were taken from the originals, and I have to assume that when they were made, the colors from the illustration were already fading. I spent many hours trying to make sure I didn’t overcompensate with the colors and have them end up looking like neon signs... Since Fawcett’s colors are rather subtle and understated it made it rather difficult to try and bring it back to its original colors. In some cases I would have to scan an image from a tear sheet, and then place it over a transparency, thus, getting the best part from each. Above all, I tried to stay as faithful to what Fawcett’s illustration should be. The other ‘obstacle’ I came across was to eliminate moirĂ©s as much as possible without losing the quality of the image. At times it seemed like after solving one problem another would pop up."

"I can’t recall when I worked as hard as I did with the Fawcett book. But I enjoyed every minute of it. It was always a labor of love for me."

"The other day I received a letter from a doctor from Idaho and he wanted to know what moved me to produce this work. I said to him; I suppose I could give you several answers to your question, but in the end, it simply comes down to a dream that you carry with you for many years."

"I believe, if you dream long enough, the dream eventually happens."

The new Robert Fawcett book is available now from Auad Publishing.

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