Talking of Design


Illustrating what I need

18/01/09 ★ SERVICES, ILLUSTRATION

It may be that you have seen my portfolio and have decided that you require my services for an illustration project. If so: Hurrah”. Ideally, it would be best if I were provided with a brief covering exactly what it is needed.

Main questions covered:

  • Do you have a budget and deadline in mind?
  • What is the required style for the illustration(s)? (Based on examples in my portfolio)
  • What is your intended output / use for the illustration?
  • What are the other specifics? Colour, size, …

If you are unsure of what information to provide in your brief, or feel there is something you have overlooked, then this article may prove useful. Read on my little inquisitor …

Firstly. The dirty-berty’ question:

Do you have a budget and deadline in mind?

It is important that both parties don’t spend too much time discussing and planning a project if, from what is required, the budget and/​or deadline doesn’t fit’. I may be that my own work schedule is taken up with other projects, up to a certain date, or that the time it would take me to realise the project (and therefore the cost) doesn’t tally with the budget perhaps allocated for the project. Bah!

It can often be the case that an arrangement can be met, with perhaps the brief altered to fit the budget, deadlines tweaked, and perhaps payments staged. It all depends on the nature of each project. Ideally, all pieces will fit together with no grey areas.

It is sometimes the case that a budget and/​or deadline have no give, so it is better that no time is wasted from both parties, and the client can then source other providers. A bit boo-hoo’, but ultimately positive in the long run.

What is the required style for the illustration(s)?

^ Based on examples in my portfolio

I do have a style to all my illustrations. But there are slight differences, usually governed by the need for:

  • hand-rendered line work with or without photoshop colour and other treatment
  • vector rendered artwork (this is usually the option for designs which may require scaling, or perhaps for animating in Flash), usually based on hand-rendered sketches
  • subtle differences in style dictated by the requirements of the brief

As I point out on my illustration services page, I do not take on projects where the client specifically wants me to produce designs based on the styles of other illustrators. It is not the done thing and could infringe on certain copyright laws. It’s naughty and could get me horribly spanked.

It is fine to supply illustrations by other illustrators as perhaps composition and an overall feel guide. But not as a style guide.

Also, it is important not to confuse style with content. If you don’t see an illustration of a dog in my portfolio, it doesn’t mean I am unable to draw a dog. It sounds a bit silly, but some enquires I have had in the past have been: Are you able to draw a monkey / tractor / house / monkey driving a tractor around a house?” etc.

Please base your style requirements on what you see in my portfolio. If the style you have in mind is nowhere near what you see there, it would be best for you to source another illustrator.

What is your intended output / use for the illustration?

This could be print, web, or both. It could be that the illustration will be part of a brand or a logo, or as a visual aid for some written work — a story, poem, article etc. …

The intended use can effect — to some degree — the approach and method of the design (vector or pixels). Remember that vector designs can be scaled up without a negative effect on quality, and are also the desired format for animation. Pixels based artwork is generally the choice for designs of a fixed size, often with a more hand-rendered finish.

What are the other specifics? Colour, size, …

The design could be black on white, grayscale, or colour.

The illustration could be for a specific space on a printed page, or for a designated area on a web page. Sizes for print are normally supplied in centimetres (cm) / millimeters (mm), while sizes for web given in pixels (px).

If the illustration is for print, it is often the case that I require certain specifications from the printers in order to set up the artwork correctly. This information would need to be supplied by the client, or a point of contact at the chosen printers would need to be supplied, so that I can converse directly with them to get the right specifications.

Me, but elsewhere

Stuff like my Blog & Social Media etc …

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