method of operation: what clients can expect:
What can you, as a client, expect when working with me as an illustrator? I'm often asked this question by new clients, so I have assembled this page with the intention of making the process of working with me smoother.
Communication is key, once under contract, you will be assigned a private url where you can view updated versions of the illustration in progress, as well as the various sketch stages outlined below. You will also have access to upload files and material. This ensures that the illustration stays on track with you or your designers vision for your product.
In the example of workflow demonstrated below, the client supplied me with a thumbnail that they wished to utilize. Most often, I submit a series of thumbnails, followed by a few tighter illustrations and move on as demonstrated below.
The client submitted this layout with the following description:
"The figure should be a beautiful woman (a la Mucha)...she could be holding a shield and/or a spear...any idea that you'd like to suggest that portrays the concept of protection will be fine...the arch background, texture and type treatment are to remain constant throughout the three covers...feel free to illustrate the figure in any pose, the type treatment must remain untouched."
At this point (or once a general layout from thumbnails is chosen), I hold a photo shoot. I compose the actual details of the pose when working with the model. This is how I achieve the life and personality in the character studies that I strive for. I prefer to shoot my own reference when possible.
On a tight deadline, I submitted one initial sketch (with the option of alternates) and received instant approval. I used symbols that were in the book to add further depth to the piece, and worked it into the shield and drape covering. I prefer heavy symbology and details that can be discovered by the viewer as the continue to study the piece after they become familiar with the book.
I then submitted the final pencil for approval, with background and type treatment in place. After a few adjustments, I moved on to the coloring stage. I often post a version on your url with flat coloring that reflects the color scheme, and from there, continue to post in progress versions. I believe this helps us both stay on the same track.
As an illustrator, I am of the school that this is a business, and the ultimate goal is to sell your product or service. I make it my job to consider your target market when illustrating (for example: in the above piece, I considered that the target market would include a healthy dose of teenagers, and specifically chose other elements besides weaponry to portray protection).
I strive to bring a life to my work that will stop a passerby in their tracks with its freshness and movement. I maintain a level of accuracy, and may request additional materials from you, I also prefer to read any book that I am illustrating - I believe this makes all the difference and is part of my job.
I consider myself easy to work with, and maintain the belief that the most important part of an illustration is that it achieves its end goals of selling product and of leaving you, the client, thrilled with its outcome. I operate as a business, meaning that I work exclusively under contract and also that my work is always punctucal. Client references are available, of course, to first time clients.
The above workflow varies depending on the size of the project as well as the timeframe. If the timeframe is short, I often will submit concepts one at a time to increase efficiency. With larger, looser projects, I have submitted rounds of twenty or so thumbnails followed by several rounds of up to ten finished concept sketches (from reference).
Please let me know if you have any questions about the workflow. I try to make the process as smooth as possible as clients are generally working on many projects at a time.
11/06 - I'm adding the following additional examples of workflow. In this project for Keystone Light Beer, the art director wished to remain close to his sketch, but give the military girl some 'attitude'. I provided a pose similar, as well as an alternate pose for composition. I find it's always beneficial to offer something that's direct to the clients desires, as well as an alternative, for the sake of being thorough.
Below: Pencil and reference
provided by client
Below: Rough sketch poses,
and alternate facial expression / pose
Below: Photo reference