Creative Chat ‘n’ Blog – Ric Savage

Publisher and illustrator Ric Savage reflects on her podcast chat with interviewer David Johnson and environmental artist Kaitlin Ferguson. As part of a podcast series of 8 regional artists discussing the challenges that they have faced during Lockdown and what they have learnt as a result.

June 2021

Listen to Ric’s podcast episode here.

Art and video in lockdown 

I have been an artist illustrator for about 30 years or so.  My work has covered a fair bit of ground from figurative to wildlife pictures and childrens’ illustrations.  In a way Covid and the various lockdowns over 2020 haven’t affected my actual art making process, but it dramatically altered how I teach art and the way I make my living from art. In my pre-lockdown world, I was teaching in schools, libraries and in my own studio. 

In March of last year, my conventional teaching work and face to face projects, stopped overnight. It was a heck of a shock and it profoundly changes your perception of your self-worth. How exactly do you make a living when you are not seeing people?

I had never tried teaching via video link before, and the only videos I had made before were very short promotional art videos. I am an old dog, and this was going to be a new trick. It was a very steep learning curve for me, the only equipment I had was an iPad, no editing software, and no real budget to do anything about it.  I cobbled something together.  I remember feeling like a door-to-door salesman, trying to push myself into any job that would have me. 

I was lucky that there were a couple companies with projects that suited how I work as an artist.  20Twenty Productions CIC asked me to take part in two of their digital projects which got me started, and then later on a video link art mentoring class which I am still currently working on.  In addition to that, MarketPlace offered a commission for three videos on the subject of book cover design.  I loved working on that as a project and interacting with people on Facebook and Instagram.

I am profoundly grateful for all the support I received from friends, artists and arts organisations during this time.  

So, what does the future look like? At this point, I feel very optimistic.  We adapt, we grow and we look at new things and new ways of doing them.  Teaching via Zoom is ok, but there are limitations, I know this is an area that a lot of us have struggled with, reading the body language of the people we are teaching.  Video is a very interesting medium and I am going to be developing that a lot more in the coming months.  All of these new tricks will form a new part of my practice, but I can’t wait to get back to face to face teaching, being back in the studio with fellow artists will be great! 

Written by publisher and illustrator, Ric Savage.

Listen to Ric’s podcast episode here.

Read about Ric’s The Book Cover Club project here.