Those who follow my illustration and writing career will know that two weeks ago I announced my new book, The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying), which will be published by Abrams Amulet on September 1st, 2015. Selling a book can be a challenging experience and I thought that this would be the perfect time to talk about how an aspiring author/illustrator can make that dream a reality.

Last week, we looked at what art directors want from illustrators. Now it’s time to put the shoe on the other foot and examine what illustrators want from art directors. This should be a good primer for anyone thrust into the role of art directing or commissioning illustration, or who just wants to get better at it. Here’s a list of what art directors should know:

Illustrators sometimes complain about their working relationships with art directors. But, did you know that art directors occasionally have their own gripes about the illustrators they commission? Other than doing amazing work, there are some universal things that art directors want from illustrators engaged in a project. From my own experiences behind the table, these are the things I think most would agree on:

Occasionally, as an illustrator, you’ll have downtime—whether it’s waiting for sketches or final art to be approved, having a hole in your schedule, or just plain needing a break. When that happens, it’s not time to grab the Playstation and veg out on the couch yet or go on that sweet vacation as there are still many things to be done. Here are some illustration chores to consider when you find yourself with a little free time.

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In the first of my new recurring interviews feature, I’m happy to welcome Kyle T. Webster. Kyle’s an illustrator and educator whose clients include The New Yorker, Time, The NY Times, IDEO, NPR, The Atlantic, WIRED, Microsoft, ESPN, Krispy Kreme, BBDO, The Wall Street Journal, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, and The Washington Post to name a select few. He’s also well known as the creator of Kyle’s Brushes, which brings realistic, high-quality brushes to Photoshop.

I recently had an interesting Twitter discussion with Darren Booth about metadata and protecting artwork online. Darren expressed disbelief at how many illustrators don’t include metadata in their files when posting their work to the web and was wondering if there was something he was missing. My answer—and this is not meant to support not including metadata—was that there was a trend to strip it to make smaller file sizes. As we discussed this more on Twitter, it got me thinking generally about how illustrators can protect their work online and what trade-offs, if any, they sacrifice by doing so.