For those illustrators who feel abused and misunderstood, and those non-illustrators who feel like reading a modern day version of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, R.O. Blechman’s Dear James is for you. In fact, it is an “indispensible tool,” as Blechman notes, “for any up-and-coming creative person.”
In this candid and witty volume (Blechman’s second book published this year), the artist shares a career’s worth of advice and wisdom offered to an imaginary illustrator named James. His correspondence to this young man will likely be familiar to anyone who has offered advice to hungry wannabes. Blechman (self-portrait below) urges James to reach his potential and fight on against the pushback of Philistine editors and art directors. I had this kind of mentorship when I started out. Everyone should. And this book is a boon for those who cannot find the real thing.