In an interesting article in the Independent last Monday, Tom Lubbock describes his reaction to the shortlist of entries for the Association of Illustrators' annual critic's prize:
"A strain of whimsy seemed to have become default mode for commercial illustration. Whatever the topic or medium, the tone of the treatment was cosy-jolly-twee."
This immediately caught my attention, not least because I like to consider myself a person far-removed from whimsy (even the word is horrid). And yet, I am drawn to many things that I'm afraid Tom Lubbock might describe as whimsical. What does this say about me?
The dictionary describes whimsy as something 'odd, fanciful or quaint'. Well, I'm all for odd and fanciful, but I think it's the 'quaint' that brings me out in a rash. It's something I try to avoid everywhere I go, but what actually is it? Am I just being a snob? Is what I consider to be the height of good taste somebody else's idea of whimsy?
Probably. I guess we just have to believe in ourselves and what we're doing and keep on exposing ourselves to challenges and different expressions of creativity. It's too easy to waste time constantly comparing our work with other people's and lose the essence of what we're about ourselves.