Monday, March 30, 2015

The Illustrator’s Reprehensible Dictionary: The Letter C Addendum

© 2015 Don Arday
In celebration of more than 110,000 pageviews, The Informed Illustrator presents the Addendum to letter ‘C’ of The Illustrator’s Reprehensible Dictionary. Actually, the addendum addresses several important word definitions that were omitted from the dictionary due to impatience on the part of the author to publish the third letter of the illustrator's alphabet.


1. a radioactive substance in artist paints that makes colors and artists glow;
2. the most expensive kind of color that can be purchased by an artist;
3. the abbreviated form of om mani padme hum.

Illustrator A: “Cadmium colors are so bright, when I use them I have to paint with sunglasses on.” Illustrator B: “Isn’t that a bit hard to do while you are wearing a hasmat suit?”
Artist: “I just bought the last tube of cadmium red on earth.” Rep: “Great, I’ll bet you have something special in mind for it.” Artist: “Yep, I’m going to use it to kill the aphids on my roses.”
Usage: “I really miss the good old days when an artist could paint with cadmium colors; use fixatives, varnishes and lacquers; add driers and retardants; and wash up with mineral spirits, thinner, and turpentine.


1. why there are so many graphic designers who have become illustrators (see computer below);
2. a tool illustrators should be familiar with to help them gather reference, compose scenes, and take selfies;
3. a device synonymous with mobile phones;

Usage: “The camera never lies, but illustrators do…all the time. That’s what makes them so useful.”
Usage: “When you don’t have the time to create a suitable work of art, use a camera.”

Carbon Dust

1. all that is left after an illustration has been printed in black and white;
2. a substance that makes a mess on the surface of a scanner;
3. a substitute for charcoal dust, which is made out of carbon;

Artist: “Carbon dust is a most appropriate media. The piece I used to render that hunk of cheese came from the moon.” Patron: “You are a master of conceptual art!” Artist: “Next I intend to render a bottle of milk with casein.” Patron: “Brilliant.” Artist: “And after that, I’m going to paint a glass of water with watercolor.” Patron: “How original.”
Usage: “I had to replace my carpet when a carbon dust drawing I had done fell face down on it.”

Cattle Marker

1. a China marker (see China Marker below) made exclusively for Texans;
2. a big, cheap, messy way to create quite a lasting impression;
3. a media, as yet undiscovered, by Soho artists;
3. an indelible, greasy crayon not recommended for use by most rodeo clowns.

Usage: “Use a white cattle marker for a Black Angus, a black one for a Blanco Orejinegro, a green one for a Belmont Red, and a purple one for a Hereford.”


1. a chalky substance;
2. the one art supply that can be purchased at Walmart and Target;
3. an unwieldy drawing material that is a first choice media of supermarket and restaurant artists;
4. the same as pastels, but available in fatter sticks.

Usage: “I prefer chalk over charcoal because it comes in white.”
Usage: “One piece of chalk lasts a long time. The drawing it makes doesn’t last any time at all.”

China Marker

1. a grease pencil that is not made in China, nor is it a marker;
2. a drawing media that can draw on any solid substance known to man;
3. the preferred writing implement of antique dealers;
4. an emaciated, anorexic cattle marker (see Cattle Marker above).

Usage: “The China marker is the blackest substance known to man. That’s why the US Government uses them to censor presidential documents.”


1. an illustrated series of events presented in a wacky sequence;
2. a place where sounds like umpf, zing, boff, and bam are written out as words;
3. a very low budget animation;
4. a person who stands up and acts illustrated;

Artist: “I have a new idea for a comic book.” Publisher: “What is it?” Artist: “It’s the story of a rich widow with four kids who marries a has-been athlete. Between them they have two more kids, even though he already has two kids of his own, but his kids won’t be seen in the comic. Even though they are in it per se. Publisher: “Why even mention them if his two kids won’t be in the comic?” Artist: “They are important because they will be very strategically omitted in certain portions of the storyline.” Publisher: “So you will make mention of them, or perhaps they will be drawn as shadows?” Artist: “Not a chance.” Publisher: “Then the comic is a mystery story.” Artist: “No, it’s a reality show.”
Usage: “I tell you this comic is animated. You just have to move your eyes quicker to see it.”


1. something digital artists try not to think about;
2. why there are so many graphic designers who have become illustrators (see camera above);
3. a machine used to remember things when we can’t;
4. something that allows one to create an illustration and undo it;
5. a appliance that helps us get more things done, although all of those things pertain to operating a computer;
6. a thing you have to keep your eyes on at all times;
7. a device we talk to more than our cell phone or significant other;
8. something that is only as useful and talented as you are;
9. a contraption that doesn’t always take orders or understand English;
10. an apparatus with a shorter lifespan than that of a gerbil;
11. a thing we use everyday without having the vaguest idea of how it works.

Programmer: “I was just hired to develop a set of interactive brushes that will create things for artists.” Illustrator: “I’m not sure I’d be interested in them. How is that even possible?” Programmer: “Well, first an artist fills out a personality profile of themself, completes a psychological questionnaire, and answers some questions on their familiarity with a computer. Then that get’s combined with some historical information and a sampling of their work.” Illustrator: “Okay, then what?” Programmer: “Then, if everything checks out, the artist will never have to create anything again, Disney hires then.”
Usage: “The computer ate my homework.”


1. a non-toxic art material that’s only slightly non-toxic, unless it’s made out of bee’s wax, in which case, it’s not only non-toxic, but sweet tasting like candy;
2. an art media with thousands of uses besides drawing, such as removing grease, lubricating zippers, improving the effectiveness of dental floss, removing hair on legs, exfoliating skin, preserving cheese, and sealing cork on wine bottles, to name a few.

Usage: “To remove the squeak in a door, just rub crayon on the hinges.”
Usage: “Crayon is an unacceptable media for professional illustration. The deadlines are too hot.”


1. an event where students sit in silence and stare at each others work;
2. an evaluation where an artist gets told everything he or she already knows is wrong with their work;
3. an examination few actually pass;
4. a state where reality is temporarily suspended;
5. the art of criticism of art;
6 actions inducing a form of anxiety that leads to post traumatic stress disorder in artists;
7. a manner of speech where one’s foot is in one’s mouth.

Professor: “This is your opportunity to say something about your work.” Student: “Boy, I didn’t see that coming.” Professor: “So, what can you tell us about this piece.” Student: “Uh…n.o.t.h.i.n.g.” Professor: “Well that’s not much to go on. Wasn’t there a reason you produced the work?” Student: “I don’ know, I just did it.” Professor: “You certainly did.” Professor: “Well, think about it this way. If your mother asked you about the work, what would you tell her?” Student: “Even less.”
Usage: “It didn’t happen. Jim, Carl, Bert, and Alice are ill; Reed, Dave, and Beth missed their bus; Jill, Steve, and Ron overslept; Arnold is stranded at an airport; and Kim, Chrissie, Matt, and Javier thought the critique was next week.”


1. a particularly vicious form of criticism;
2. a technique for leaving unwanted, disturbing, ugly, useless, or even shameless things out of a picture;
3. a method of salvaging a predominantly bad composition;
4. an attempt to control an out of control situation.
5. a form of censorship.

Director: “I don’t want the heroine, or any of the other characters visible in this scene, and cropping to get rid of them is not an option.” Artist: “So by the fact that they aren’t to be ‘visible’ in the scene, does that make them ‘invisible’ like Finblat the grey ‘invisible’ dwarf?” Director: “You know if this questioning keeps up, I’m going to have to find another artist with more experience than you have with not rendering things.” Artist: “No need to do that, I have an assistant who can do the job, and you’ll love this…she’s invisible.”
Usage: “A good cropping of a barnyard scene can eliminate a horse’s ass.” Attrib. Confucius


1. a color that is not quite blue and not quite green, but looks as though it could be a bit more blue than it might be green, or sort of a teal, maybe somewhat of an aqua, perhaps leaning toward turquoise, and a bit less of an azure;
2. the coolest member of the 4 process colors;
3. the most prominent color in Kate Spade’s new spring collection;
4. a color that is available as printer’s ink or house paint, but not as acrylic or oil paint.

Usage: “The sky may appear as any of a countless shades of blue or reds, violets, and yellows, but never, ever as cyan. This is God’s will.”
Usage: “If that face had any more of a cyan cast, it would belong to a corpse.”

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