By Astoria Jellett
Award-winning illustrator Richard Borge spoke to students at the Arnold Hall auditorium on April 2. It was the second time Borge has visited the school to describe his career and advise aspiring illustrators.
Borge has an MFA in illustration and graphic design from the University of Arizona. He works mainly in editorial illustration and music packaging, in addition to animation and motion graphics.
Originally from North Dakota, Borge opened the talk by discussing his roots. He came from a creative family; his mother is a painter and one of his brothers is a photographer.
Borge took the audience through a slideshow of his work, noting each project, its concept, where it was published and anything interesting. He played some of his animations and a music video he shot for Jesca Hoop and talked about working with Meat Beat Manifesto, Tom Waits and others.
A life of freelance work is not all that illustration students may have dreamed it would be, Borge said. He admitted that he does not have much time for personal work, but finds ways to integrate it into jobs. He also told students that publications with smaller budgets are likely to give illustrators more creative freedom than bigger buyers. In other words, creative freedom has a price tag like everything else.
The talk concluded with Borge’s personal advice. He played a series of slides, each with a single word on it. The first was passion.
“Find what you’re passionate about,” he said, and advised illustrators to stick to it. The next word, surprisingly, was fear. Borge admitted that fear of failure often motivates him. He also told the audience to roll with momentum – if illustrators are excited about a project and can’t wait to start, they shouldn’t.
Borge emphasized the importance of setting deadlines, even if there isn’t one. Sacrifice, he said, is something all artists have to make for their art. In twenty years, Borge has seen illustration change completely, but he has survived by being willing and able to adapt and collaborate. Finally, he advised students to share, to collaborate with artists from other fields to produce work that is truly great.Contact Astoria Jellett.