This is normally a straight forward process, but it helps to be prepared with information that typically illustrators will ask. There’s a multitude of possibilities, so we’ll keep it simple and please feel free to call if you need help. Call planet
Make sure you know what you want. or have an idea, and something to show the illustrator the sort of thing you’re looking for.
Make sure you’ve thought it through, and know how the illustration will be seen and used. Some simple questions are very handy to clarify your brief to the illustrator.
Q: Why do I need an illustration ?
Ask yourself this right at the start, your answer will help you define what you need.
Q: How will it be used ?
ie a map is a reference to help navigate, or a drawing to explain and illustrate a procedure.
Q: Who’s the illustration aimed at ?
ie a story book cover for toddlers, or an instruction manual for a pilot.
Q: How many are there ?
Think about how they’ll work & look together.
Q: Is there a particular style of illustration you’d like ?
Finding examples of style is very helpful for the illustrator to know if it’s the sort of illustration they’re confident in, and is very helpful to estimate illustration cost and delivery schedule.
Q: What can I give them to help explain what I need ?
Reference is KING! The better the information and knowledge the more effective the illustration will be.
Depending on the subject, the illustrator can find the reference themselves, but at a cost. Think of it like this... It might take the illustrator 3 hours to find a particular photo on the internet, that you might have in your office. That’s 3 hours of the illustrators time to be charged. So to save money collect all the info you can to help the illustrator. It will save you money.
Q: Briefing via telephone or a Meeting ?
Telephone/email briefing is fine, but some customers prefer face to face. This method is better suited to large commissions or where multiple people are involved.
Q: I’ll need a quote or estimate ?
You’ll get an estimate normally after a brief chat on the phone, and a Quote once you’ve briefed fully.
Q: Deadline for delivery ?
It’s worth thinking when you’ll need the illustration, giving enough time for artwork and print or distribution.
But be realistic, so not to rush or dilute what’s possible in the time you’ve given.
Q: Where are you going to show the illustration ?
This is important that you know the finished size it will be viewed, and if there’s differing sizes, then the smallest and largest size is needed.
Q: Approving visuals ?
Make sure you get progress updates as the work progresses, and giving quick and informative comments to visuals or stages of the illustration will prevent delays with delivery.
Q: Delivery ?
Let the illustrator know how you would like the illustration delivered… traditionally ie by hand or courier and quite often digitally. If the illustrations are digital, make sure you know what file type you need and the image size is important too.
Q: What’s a Contract of commission ?
Simply put it’s the agreement you and the illustrator have to do the work. Often a purchase order or a letter of commission is required, this stipulates a contract between you and the illustrator to produce the illustration. It can include a brief description of the work to be carried out, with a deadline and billing information. I highly recommend having one for commissions over £1,000.
Q: How do I pay ?
This is where you and the illustrator will discuss payments. Typically a first commission requires some sort of deposit or up-front payment before work commences. This safeguards the illustrator from doing the work, only to find the customer has lost interest in the project and doesn’t want the illustration any more.
Having money transferred also makes people accountable, and avoids the illustrator dropping the project for another more interesting or profitable option.
If you have credit, normally given to existing customers, you’ll be typically expected to pay invoices 30 days after the invoice date. But it’s excepted that the 30 days starts not from the invoice date, but the end of the month in which the invoice was received. This effectively could be a maximum of 1 month and 30 days. (collectively 60 days credit)
Now you’re ready to make the call.
There are many ways to find illustrators, some are less effective than others.
Currently there’s Agents who’ll have a select group of illustrators each specialising in their own style and technique, with the help of the Agent who’ll be your point of contact. They are there to promote the illustrators work and deal with you, taking a typical 30% after they’ve agreed the best possible price.
Illustration studios where illustrators provide a cost effective professional service. With experience and flexibility who’ll be able to advise and help with consultation to get the best value from your illustrations. Call planet illustration.
Freelance illustrators, are by far the most common, but also the most varied in all areas of illustration. There’s so many to list that it’s better to give two extremes.
There’s the established illustrator who might possibly be taken up by an agent, so check if they’re Agent allows them to do direct commissions. They normally work from a home-studio.
Then there’s the other extreme, where someone has lost their job, and while looking for another job, they upload some illustrations online and promote themselves as freelance illustrators. They're often short term, and in it for some spare cash, so don’t expect great customer service. They’re usually very cheap when quoting, but a word of warning. Get references and examples of work.
I like to think that planet illustration fits in the middle offering professional service with cost effective illustrations that work.
Adrian Cartwright has been a full time self employed illustrator since 1990. He’s worked in-house with Advertising agencies and Marketing Groups, from home in his converted Cellar and currently based in his City centre studio at Friar Gate Studios which itself is a very successful creative hub located in the Cathedral quarter of Derby City.
Over the 25 years as an illustrator, he’s accomplished a diverse range of skills that have empowered him to compete and educate in the illustration field. In his 25th year of being a successful illustrator, his knowledge and understanding of what customers want and how they work has been the spearhead of his approach.
Seeking to help and steer them to the best possible result for their budget, gaining loyal clients that appreciate an honest and friendly approach.
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