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Manifesto for Art

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

The Art and Science of illustration

An illustrator is an artist who uses their imagination to enhance the written word and expound on concepts by providing visual representation and meaning. Anita Kunz has created iconic art that has been internationally shown and published for four decades. She is famous for her covers for the New Yorker, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and many others. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and museums, and she has won many awards for it.

Photo credit: Bruce Heavin

The manifesto for creating art and Illustrations is:

1 Everything starts with an idea.

Every single object we see, and touch was once an idea inside someone's head. Everything starts with an idea, then through our creative process you iteratively turn an idea into its final form and bring it to life through a progression of thoughts and actions by applying creative and critical thinking and problem-solving skills to originate and bring your ideas to fruition.

"There is always a kernel of an idea that is provided to me in the form of an advertisement, a manuscript, a story, or a book. For commercial illustration, it always begins with something that I interpret with an illustration as clearly as I can because I want to make an image that works in conjunction with the text, whether it agrees with the text or not. My personal work is in fine art and books, where the ideas come much more from my world experience and what I want to express, whether that has to do with honoring certain people or being politically critical. Idea generation is always first, then sketching, then the final painting. If it needs to be submitted to a client, I scan, color correct, and transmit it digitally."

2 True artists are always outsiders looking in; rebels with a cause—themselves

Creativity is the belief in yourself and your ideas, always moving forward and never giving up! You must be comfortable taking a stand against oppressive forces and articulating your opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanctions. Dream up what doesn't exist, turn your imagination into art by manifesting what is already inside and around you as you see it. This is similar to outsider art. There is an innocent quality in people who have not been trained as artists or worked within the conventional art production structures because they do not follow a conventional path, structure, or formula, leading to developing your own unique style and identity.

"My style is completely instinctive. When you look at my work, it is drawn fairly incorrectly because I didn't actually have an art education that was about art, not illustration, nor did I learn any art history. My eyes were wide open as far as influences go because I knew nothing about anything. I was simply drawing from what was inside my head, then using photographic or any physical references, which developed into a style from years of drawing practice. It’s never good to try to mimic or manufacture a style, because it needs to be authentic and develop naturally.”

3 Know your craft and your audience.

To achieve excellence means being deeply committed to and focused on continuously honing one’s craft through the quality and completeness of the entire artistic life cycle by being empathetic towards your audience and resourceful to creating relevant and innovative outputs.

"It isn't just about being able to draw; you have to be a smart and intelligent citizen of the world by being aware of what's going on and having a point of view about it, to do proper research and find reference points so that your work has substance and integrity."

4 Treat failure as a process for learning and growth.

Some people let themselves get flushed by failure, than seeing obstacles as opportunities to reach new heights of achievement by learning quickly from failure, being resilient and positive when faced with setbacks, and open-minded by redefining these situations to learn and grow.

"Don't worry about making mistakes; they are incredible learning opportunities that make you stronger and better."

5 Be purpose-led and values-driven.

Anita's ten rules for creative success are:

Work Hard. Put in the hours, and you'll get better. It's a process; it's a journey, so don't be too hard on yourself.

Embrace Self Doubt; it will propel you forward.

Remove toxic influences. Put crap in, you'll get the crap pot. Surround yourself with excellence. Remove toxic people, even if it is difficult.

Nurture your uniqueness. It is important to be uniquely yourself- it's what the best artists have done.

Not working can be just as important to creativity as working. Completely disengage! Go for a run, watch a movie, take a nap. Neuroscience confirms that sometimes the brain has to completely disengage to com come up with a good idea.

Be Kind and stay humble. To quote Kurt Vonnegut: "There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Contribute where you can.

Take care of yourself! Try not to use materials that hurt you or the environment. Fixative, turpentine, try not to use it or use proper ventilation if you have to.

Remain a student for life and stay curious and open-minded. Always be learning, whatever form it takes, and;

Stop trying to be perfect! Learn, ask tons of questions, absorb information like a sponge!

All images are Copyright @ Anita Kunz., all rights reserved. No images may be used in any form without permission of the artist.

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Music composed and performed by Iain Mutch


Roy Sharples

Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."

Photo credit Brian Smale

Attitude. Imagination. Execution.

Unknown Origins. All rights reserved © copyright 2021

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