Okay. So, what is wrong with illustrators learning something about production methods? In that, I mean output and printing. If we go with the premise that the difference between fine art--ART-- and illustration--TRADE-- is that illustration is reproduced then, isn't reproduction part of the education of a well rounded illustrator?
Last summer, we were shown some pretty bright paintings for a children's book. It had tons of color--particularly cobalt blue and very juicy oranges. We were then shown the printed piece. Total mud. Brown. Brown orange, brown blue. No depth. No layers. No nothing. As it was 4 color process, all the snap had gone out of the art. I asked the illustrator whether he saw the proofs or had any engagement in the printing process, and he pushed it off to the publisher. Not his problem. He makes pictures. If he had any engagement in that process, or knew that many of the colors he selected just plain don't reproduce, he could have developed the images better for the final reproduction. Reproduction...the difference between art and trade.
He could have also specified spot color (an extra color) on a touch plate in a match color to give the blues that punch. But, to his mind, that was the publisher's issue. And, to take that further, lets think about what drives the publisher. The publisher wants to reproduce a book as efficiently (read, cheaply) as possible--so extra colors, a second set of proofs to the illustrator just adds to the cost...and probably from his vantage point, noise only a dog can hear. Plus, it then becomes a right big pain in his head... But, that level of fineness and detail takes the illustration and delivers it as accurately as possible to the end customer, the reader...and makes the reproduction truly reflect the original art
This issue was blown off during our discussions in San Francisco as "the publisher's problem". I agree, it is the most important thing to make beautiful images, to spend the time and energy to really uncover the image that matches the words, and impressions that the writer delivers. Or even just plain to make amazing images...forget the writer. But I believe that is only half of the problem. If you cannot print these images that time, energy and thought has been lavished on--what good is it? Aren't you then only talking to yourself?