The cover illustration of this small (4.75″ x 3″), 24-page booklet is what caught my eye at a local thrift store. Published by Raleigh, North Carolina’s Travel and Tourism Division, “This little dictionary…contains definitions of old English words and phrases still used in North Carolina.” There’s no publication date, which I always find irritating, although an internet search gives the date as 1976. More egregious, however, is the omission of the illustrator’s name and an internet search revealed nothing.
As a a freelance graphic artist, I did my share of portfolio pieces (i.e. jobs that pay poorly) and working on spec (i.e. jobs that don’t pay at all). Some of the work was good, some disappointing, and some downright embarrassing. The worst were projects completed to the exacting details of a client who had no understanding of art, effective design, or even the ability to choose an appropriate and legible typeface.
Some years back my husband was out of work. I was able to find a full-time job working for a rep of a major yearbook publishing company and I spent about five years doing a lot of photo editing, illustrating and designing graphic elements for hellish yearbook advisors and their ignorant students. It was the second most stressful job I’ve ever had. My boss, whose desk was behind mine, would watch over my shoulder while I worked. He would be on the phone talking (in his very loud voice) to a client or an old frat buddy, all the while mentally critiquing my work and my methods. He and the yearbook advisors were generally happy with my implementation of their awful ideas, however my boss believed that because I could produce results that kept his clients satisfied, it must be easy – anyone with Illustrator and Photoshop could do what I did. It seems the advisors felt the same way; my boss and his assistant were often acknowledged by the client in the yearbook itself; apparently my hard work wasn’t worth mentioning. I know that sounds bitter, but it really isn’t: I would prefer not to have my name associated with most of the yearbook covers I worked on.
The point is, I feel that the illustrator of A Dictionary of The Queen’s English, in itself a publishing trifle, should have been given credit. Artists deserve to be, if not truly appreciated, at least acknowledged.