In preparation for a painting, Norman Rockwell worked from photographs and numerous pencil sketches. He also completed a detailed charcoal drawing the same size of the proposed painting. He then commenced his color studies, in which one is shown below. Click on link for a close up zoom control.When I was a youngster, I was enthralled with the narrative in of an illustration. I was particularly interested in the historical genre with a western subject matter. My imagination ran wild as I contemplated the visual scenarios before me.After I received an art education I was more interested in the composition elements of a work of art than the subject matter, such as: the application and arrangement of paint and its ability to create halftones, shadows and highlights to give the illusion of depth on a flat surface.I could no longer be totally engrossed in the naive pleasure of the narrative. This is the price you pay for an art education.Art Historians and educators love to place artists and artwork into nice neat categories. Great art tends to transcend categories and eventually find their rightful place on the museum walls.Some American illustrators/artists are beginning to get the recognition they deserve.For those art educators and critics who continue to judge the worthiness of a work of art based on the genre, subject matter, or the reasons in which it was created I say go beyond the narrative for your education.