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Archives: The Job

Hey there, I’m still alive! Things have just been really busy and I haven’t had time to post again until now. I’ve been working on my latest authored/illustrated middle grade novel, The Secrets to Ruling School: Class Election, and have had to put all of my energy into that in order to finish on time. I just wrapped on it last week so I can finally get back to posting on a more frequent basis. In fact, I’d like to take this post to talk about my experience working on the novel for those who might like more insight into that area of business.

There are a million book covers out there—some amazing, some not so much. What separates the heroes from the zeroes and how can you create a book cover that achieves its goals and gets people talking? In this post, I’ll explain what makes a compelling book cover and how you can improve your cover illustration game.

A-a-a-a-n-d we’re back! Hope you all had a nice summer! As I mentioned in my last official post, I had to take a bit of time off from the blog to fully focus on a couple of big projects. Luckily, they’re mostly done so I can now return to dishing out advice and info. And, since the school term is starting and Fall is here, this is a good time to get things back in gear with a plan of action.

As a beginning illustrator, there are a variety of things necessary to jumpstart your career—from updating your portfolio to putting out a new promo piece. The following plan can help move your career forward in just a few short months:

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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:

Reader Wijtze Valkema writes in with the following question:

I was wondering if you ever run into the problem of having a project going in a direction that you don’t really want creatively, and how you deal with these projects. A project that sounds fun at first and just right up your alley in terms of style, but after a couple proposals the project turns into something you’re not happy with, or even think shouldn’t be known as your work. Do you quit? Do you finish it? Do you ask having your name removed from the credits? Does it hurt your style and name when your name is credited to a project you feel isn’t ‘you’ anymore? Does it hurt your relationship with the client when you quit half-way or finish it but want no name credit?

Unfortunately, this is all too common of a problem. One of the things that separates illustrators from fine artists is that we have clients that need to be pleased. And clients, sadly, can sometimes be wrong.

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Getting an email from a prospective client about a new gig is always exciting. However, before accepting any assignment, it’s important to take a step back to consider some things—there may be budget issues, rights issues, or a whole host of other matters that need to be addressed. The following checklist will help you determine whether an illustration job is worth taking on or should be politely declined.