I like to get behind anyone who's actively promoting and supporting the illustration industry as a whole, so it goes without saying I'm a life-long member of the Association of Illustrators, whose new members are welcomed to the fold with a juicy package emblazoned with a message by Inkymole.
In addition, I try to keep up with the many Illustration sites around like Illustrationmundo, Spraygraphic and Illustration Friday, but I don't often get the pleasure of a simple leisurely browse (which is a good thing if you think about it!) These things are usually run by people who aren't being paid to do it, and do it for the love the trade they're in. Obviously, the existence of the web and the ease of blogging makes this a whole lot easier and cheaper than the days of the AOI's early printed-and-posted B&W newsletters.
This one's a new one and I thought I'd report on it, as it's nicely done (though I think a hand-written header might draw more people in), and has been voted one of HOW's Top 10 Best Sites for Designers. Their catchphrase is 'creativity, community, culture' - which sums it up nicely! Being part of it reminds me of three important things:
1) This is fast-growing industry for which there is no Trade Union, just a solid core of people working away at their trade and its issues, and
2) It is a harder-than-ever industry to work in, because although the web has made it easier and cheaper to promote from a technical point of view, there are... thousands and thousands of us, and we're competing on a global - no longer a local or country-wide - playing field. Which not only sharpens pencils, but focus, ability and professionalism too.
3) Humans LOVE pictures.
Which, for the ongoing longevity and prosperity of my trade, with me in it or long after the pencils have been put down, is A Very Good Thing.