Review of the planet's year 2015-2016.
Planet illustration has turned a corner this 26th year in business, with illustration commissions and new areas of illustration and design.
A notable addition to commissions have been customers who've commissioned illustrations to help promote and illustrate an idea or concept for financial backers or legal patent and copyright filing.
This is a very interesting area of illustration, partly because Adrian Cartwright has many years experience understanding and helping customers with new and inventive concepts.
Adrian Cartwright commented… “Always interesting to see what customers are thinking up, and with the creativity planet illustration has artistically and engineering, it’s a rewarding and winning combination.”
Other commissions have included updates of previous commissions from one, two and seven years ago.
Adrian Cartwright said… “It’s very rewarding to review an old project and update it, especially knowing that customers are happy to contact planet illustration.”
With over 64 commissions within Sept 2015-Sept 2016, it’s been a busy year, and a positive trend that Planet hopes will continue, and the service will evolve with new ideas and services to its customers.
Celebrating 25 years providing illustration commercially to local and internation customers...
25th of September, Planet illustration celebrated it's 25th year in business by having an spontaneous office party.
It was at it’s office/studio at Friar Gate Studios in Derby, and attended by friends and colleagues.
Cake and Fizz was enjoyed by all and the celebrations went on late into the night in Mickleover, home of Lead illustrator Adrian Cartwright.
“I was very flattered by the turnout and the kind words and cards received, I must admit I’m a little overwhelmed by it all, and it does seem a bit of a fuss. But I’m always up to celebrate”
Adrian and his business milestone is being featured soon in local publications connected with Connect Derby.
Other things to note this month: Planet is seeing a upturn in commissions this month following a quieter than normal summer.
Investment into marketing is still going strong, and is thought to be the reason for the upturn in interest from business.
12 month round up...
Planet has had an encouraging year at Friar Gate Studios, and the best way to show this is in a roundup of the past 12 months. For more information please visit our blog page where there's a library of past blogs covering informative blogs focusing on planet illustration and the relevant items.
Since Planet move to it's new offices at Friar Gate Studios in Derby, the company has had some interesting commissions, one for example was commissioned from a company in New York for the South Korean Government, but briefed my an office in Germany! Other technical illustrations for the defence of buildings from planned attack, and architectural visuals or Artist impressions. Some funny Christmas cards added some balance to the work over the Autumn of 2014.
Planet has also been making moves with other skill-sets available here at Friar Gate Studios, and new possibilities are opening up. Planet moved offices in March to the prestigious front facing offices with a great view of Friar Gate Square across the road.
Adrian presented the first vlog aka video blog and is available to see on our blog pages.
The video blog is part of a new push with regard to blogging and social media push with our marketing. So please feel free to follow planet illustration for updates on projects and tips n trick to help everyone with regard to illustration commissions.
Planet's website update with new "Folio" page.
The latest version of planet illustration’s website 4.4 is now online with a new page “Folio” which you can access from the home page giving you a quick and intuitive overview of the illustrations currently available to view on the website.
Other news regarding illustrations, has seen a lot of vector illustration commissions this month, including a robot character for a national manufacturer and technical illustration samples for engineering bodies and interesting exercise with vector images for a mobile phone app developer.
At the end of July it was 2 months at Friar Gate Studios, and I thought it was time to extend a hand and say hello to my neighbours here. I’ve met a handful of people, who’ve all be very nice, but due to work and home commitments, I’ve had little time to invest in getting to know my neighbours better.
So a little mailer was devised to help create some interest, and some penance for my slack uptake to promote me moving into Friar Gate Studios.
The mail-shot was done on Friday 1st August, perhaps not the best time of the year, what with children’s summer holidays but you have to take what you’re given. So far I’ve had a couple of visitors and they’ve been interested in what sort of illustration I do.
Planet illustration is currently looking into remote working to provide a on-site service for it’s clients, and will update what it’s findings are in next months News letter. Author: Adrian Cartwright
Planet's first month in Friar Gate Studios Derby.
The first month in Friar Gate Studios has been a busy one. The move went smoothly and by the end of the first week, all up and running as normal. This was a good thing and the following week was littered with commission enquiries and on-going projects.
I’ve met some lovely people here already and my neighbours have been very welcoming especially Essential Marketing.
The Studio office is a great size and plenty of space to entertain clients and take briefs or just a visit.
The facilities here are great, with showers ideal for my new “walk to work” commute and the Bean Cafe is a lively and very social environment to meet others.
Friar Gate Studios is the new home of Planet illustration.
On 2nd June 2014 Planet illustration relocated to Friar Gate Studios, a building located in the city centre of Derby (DE1 1EE) Its a lively hub of separate business’s working in the creative industries and are all socially connected by the “Bean Cafe”, which among it’s accolades I understand is the best place to go for a Coffee in Derby. But most importantly it connects the business’s together in on social level allowing creatives to mix and converse like no other place I know. This can only be a good thing for everyone, as creatives thrive on engaging with other creatives.
Other things happening earlier in May which was a fairly quiet month until the relocation was a continuation of the info graphic illustration project and some visuals for point of sale.
Thankfully a quiet month is what was needed, and towards the end of the month things started to heat up.
I prepared as much as to make the move as quickly as possible, allowing me to get set up and working again.
In reflection, it was a smooth job and I was up in no time with help from Jacqui, Dean and everyone else who helped out. Thank you
A new lease of life for planet illustration...
Working on notes from the recent workshops and putting into place plans on how to best use what I’ve learnt is a complex thing to do, and with a Google Analytics workshop at the end of the first week is the final workshop for a while…
Google Analytics is a complicated thing that needs quite a bit of setting up in other areas outside of google to get a better and more informative results. So another list of things to do is drafted up.
The magnitude of what’s required is mushrooming. But I’m a thorough chap and my grandfather taught me “ if a jobs worth doing, then it’s worth doing properly ”. So priority lists are now needed to cope with the extra work and time needed.
Office space has been taken for trial at Friar Gate Studios in Derby city centre. Every year in February, just as the company end of year, some key questions are asked and reviewed. One of them is the consideration to move from a domestic location to a business location. Friar Gate Studios has always been the first choice because of it’s reputation and collection of different creative companies based there. So when invited to visit their refurbished offices and the promotion of the new sparkle packages on offer, I took the opportunity to take a closer look. Impressed, and not what I expected.
Towards the end of April, planet signed an agreement to move into Friar Gate Studios in June.
Now feels very much the time to do this, and after considering that Planet has operated at Mickleover Manor for nearly 7 years, it’s time for a change.
knowledge is power, so learn more...
March is the start of a new financial year for planet illustration, and a new push with new ideas for the business. I’ve booked myself in for more workshops, and plan to use this new knowledge to empower me and boost my website’s performance.
Ash Wednesday was a workshop on Marketing presented by Ian Lockwood. Ian did a great job and was open to discuss the finer parts to help aid willing students. I also learnt that I know his partner Helen Foster who’s a great illustrator based in Nottingham that I’ve been in contact with for a few years now.
I also attended the TICT blog workshop that’s highlighted the pros and cons of email marketing. Something I suggest everyone seriously considers carefully before attempting to do.
London meeting in Wandsworth was a success, leading to a commission for a company’s infographic to be used on their website and in presentations.
More commissions for existing customers in the latter of the month kept things ticking over, but still space for more illustration work.
Spark package from Connect Derby at Friar Gate Studios is going well, meeting some interesting people. I go there one day a week, and is basically a space in a room with really a fast internet connection. It’s a good opportunity for me to sample the environment there and interact with other creatives.
I also attended the Online marketing conference & expo 2014 in Nottingham on the 28th and found it very interesting, meeting some people from other areas of business interesting in IT side of things.
I did consider having a table there, but I don’t think illustration would have been a largely utilised service for many there. But hey, planet illustration might have a stand next year.
All in all this month has been a busy one, and Planet seems to be accelerating in the business to business field.
Finally the test results came back from my numerous scans and blood tests to give me a all clear on my organs, well apart from my brain, but that’s never been clear to me.
A very busy end of year...
This month has been very active, so forgive me if it’s a bit long, but there’s lots to say.
February is the last month of my financial year, so clearing up accounts and reflection is in order.
Focusing on planet illustration’s year 2013 and the start of plans for the year ahead. I normally look at my advertising and my annual review of studio’s location. I also started the month still feeling ill, with hospital appointments for X-ray’s and scans booked in.
I also had a few calls from existing customers checking in and making sure I’m available for up coming illustration projects. This is always a good idea, and it helps to plan ahead in my diary, but dates are never set in stone, and it’s more of a “I’ll be needing your services in the next fews weeks”.
I also went on an “email marketing” course, which was very informative. My slant on it in reflection is, that it’s an effective way, but very negative if you don’t do it properly. I suggest great caution if you’re thinking of doing it, otherwise you might end up putting prospective customers off.
I did something I don’t normally do, Prospective work. I was approached to provide conceptual visuals and ideas for illustrations on a website. I did point out to the customer that all visuals and ideas were covered with intellectual copyright. This covers your ideas and any images provided, so to avoid your ideas being used by someone else without your permission.
See my page “How to be a freelance illustrator” where I explain in more detail about copyright.
I spent more time on social media sites to promote planet illustration, this is a big task and takes up many hours a week, but I feel it’s worth it in the end… well that’s what the experts say. I hope so anyway, as it’s time consuming and I find it a chore at times. A couple of commissions for icon illustrations and info graphic illustrations have kept me going, and a great technical illustration commission is a fascinating project I’m working on too.
If there’s one word for this month, I would say it’s Education.
The Doctors have patched me up and I’ve been able to continue working. thankfully.
Slow start but watch out for the spring...
illustration commissions in 2014 started in a slow way. For a start it was a Wednesday, never a wow factor. January has always been a slow month with regards to commissions, and unless you have an illustration commission that’s worked over the festive holidays, then it can be difficult to motivate yourself.
Stop right there… I say to myself. It never use to be that way… I use to spend the holidays especially the days between Christmas and New year thinking about what I would improve on in the up coming year. But alas having two boys take their toll, and not a moment has gone towards plans for the fresh new year 2014.
So I start the year with no distinction between the previous work day. That in mind I found myself drifting about social media sites and some marketing. London based illustration commissions have also been slow. Recently Google have promoted Google local, and I find that I can only promote on it with a 25mile radius, pretty useless when your customer base is a national one, especially London focused freelance illustrator requests.
My website has moved progressively up the google rankings following the devastating algorithm introduced last year.
A couple of illustration enquiries and commissions came in this month, one technical illustration and the other a medical illustration.
Well, the month started following “The Cloud, Data & Smart Mobility EXPO 2013” at Millennium Point in Birmingham. It was a great opportunity for me to meet other business folk, something I’ve not done really before. The whole networking thing is very new to me, and I must admit I enjoyed it.
Illustration commissions are thin on the ground this month, but then December is always a very short month. The quick turnaround for a tight deadline is the norm and little else. It’s a good time to catch up on those things we never have time for… and I must admit I took advantage of it to re-design the aesthetics of the new website. Since then I’ve had a much warmer response to it this time, and it gave me the opportunity to re-build the website from scratch. I’ve learnt more on Dreamweaver and SEO too. Well Christmas was a nice break, but I found myself busy with family, and little if none to think about illustration in 2014. Still the first week or two in January is usually quite, so I’ll take advantage of the time again. Author: Adrian Cartwright
November was very quiet, especially the first half, which kick started something I haven't done in years… cold calling. I'd forgotten how hard it was, and realised due to the economic culture carefully developed over the last few years. That nobody's interested in spending, but only interested in freebies and what they can sell to you. It's a tough market out there.
Critical feedback came back on the new website, which was appreciated as it highlighted elements that was given a back seat. Namely the aesthetic design element, giving google guidelines, functionality and finally aesthetics priority. A fast turnaround commission was also in the mix this month, producing 10 scenes for a London presentation for an international client. I've also had more people contact me about going freelance, and advice on how to go about doing it.
If you're thinking of freelancing, please take a look at my "How to be a freelance illustrator" page here. by Adrian Cartwrighthttp://www.planetillustration.co.uk/howtobeafreelanceillustrator.html Author: Adrian Cartwright
October saw the soft launch of the new website. The site has taken longer than anticipated, but finally was uploaded the 2nd week. Feedback was invited, with positive replies. Work then moved to promotion and marketing of site, but before that SEO consideration and linking to social networks has taken a long time to sort out. Commissions this month included Artists impressions for presentation purposes, and technical illustrations for a blue chip company and general commission enquiries for project to start in the new year. It's been fairly quite this month, which has helped with marketing. by Adrian Cartwright
It's been a long month… work carried over from August for Bentley had extended other project completion dates, approved by clients and were greatly appreciated THANK YOU! Following completion of all ongoing projects it was time to continue with the new planet website. It's taken a lot longer than expected, which is typical of website development and building. Especially time consuming was the "How to be a freelance illustrator" page and the 66 individual illustration pages. After a few, it can get very formulaic and stale. So I did four or five at a time, then moved onto other admin tasks. This continued right up to the end of the month with the website test launch on the 3rd October. I was also approached by Gavin Haywood an illustrator & animator towards the end of September, who lives nearby and wanted to meet me and asked me to look at his portfolio. Gavin's portfolio was a 50/50 split between still life using multiple hand illustrated materials and 3D renderings using 3DS Max. It was a rewarding meeting and I hope to keep in touch with Gavin. by Adrian Cartwright
I spent the first half of August in Hungary with family, so it's a relaxing month, well getting two little boys there isn't the easiest and relaxing experience I remember back in the day. Not like BC (before children) when going to the airport was a lighthearted event, having a few drinks in the bar and a bit of shopping, before getting on the plane and having a book or magazine to read. oh no! It's more like crowd control for 10 hours on four different forms of transport. Great holiday though, and loved every bit of it.
The latter part of August was a mixed up sort of month. I had no ongoing projects on my return, which felt nice in a way, but a slightly emptiness feel to it. The following day I had a premisses security audit carried out by Cannon for compliance to be on their list of suppliers. I find this is getting more common in the last year or two from companies especially American based companies. Or perhaps it's just I'm doing more international work now.
By the end of the month I'm busy on two projects that involve simple line style scenes for a major car manufacturer and technical illustrations for sea going vessels for a global energy company.
The man illustration website is still in production, and should be completed and ready to replace the current and much dated illustrations web-site very soon. by Adrian Cartwright
Work on the websites in July is still ongoing, and a major part the company/business audit carried out earlier this year. Marketing is another area that needs attention as soon as possible. A new illustration website was launch this month "exercise illustrations" is focussing on the exercise work I do and is part of a new look to all of Planet's websites in 2013.
I'm also getting to grips with Adobe's new CC suit update from CS6. Dreamweaver looks quite different from the old one, so I'm working on the older version to prevent having to learn a new UI right in the middle of building my main illustration website. However I've other sites that I'll practice the CC version of Dreamweaver in the future. by Adrian Cartwright
Most of June involved me developing my new websites.
Learning Dreamweaver and website development is taking for ages and has moved on so much in the last 4 years since I last really evaluated it. Creating an illustration website that caters for different platforms such as tablets and smartphones is proving to be a creative hurdle which involves a lot of compromise. Compromise is something that's a new trend with regard to website design, but in a way it's more focused on user interface consideration too, which is a good thing in a practical way. by Adrian Cartwright
It's mid month, and lots to write about! The new iMac27 (see photo) is as expected... very fast and impressive all round really. The Fusion drive is brilliant... with apps and documents opening in a second! I've also been on a couple of workshops focusing on Website and social media development. Quite a mouth full, but giving a great perspective on the way forward with online marketing.
The company audit is done phew…! But now implementing it is a much bigger mission. I have lists on lists of objectives, deadlines and training to do… to be honest, I'd be surprised if it's done this year. But plan to make a good dent in it this month with software training and Social media planning. All this without it interrupting illustration commissions. A nice job I've just done but underpriced it at the quote stage, was an artist's impression of a building for Toyota. I put a lot more time into it as I was having so much fun illustrating it. The client was very impressed "it's stunning" ! Thanks Nick, it's nice to get feedback from a client, especially when they're so pleased with it.
I've also been experimenting with different seating, as many will know that sitting drawing all day, can over time effect posture. I'm fine at the moment, but many friends who work in similar roles are starting to have issues with backs, shoulders and eye sight. So I've been using a Varier Wing stool (see photo) and an exercise balance ball, all in the hope that my posture is straighter and core stronger. I'll get back to you on that but notes so far are the Varier is very expensive but built to last. I do find my shins start to ache after a while, and I naturally slide down it a little, putting pressure on the legs (shins). The ball is cheap and less damage to flooring unlike wheels, but your bottom gets cold! Who would have thought how warm a padded seat is for you bum.
Other projects have been and gone in the last month or two including scenes for a door company brochure, 9 technical exploded views of flooring and software icons. by Adrian Cartwright
Other projects include a 3d map of a school and info graphics for smart phones. I'm also still working on my web-site, which is taking for ever to do. I've also just bought an Apple numeric keyboard (long keyboard) and I've tried to get use to the Wifi, but prefer the bigger one I had with my old iMac 24". If only Apple would make a wifi numeric keyboard.... they would sell like hot cakes! I'm still waiting for the new Apple 27" display too! I'll write more in June.
I've been busy this month, and I'll write some more catching up with March's instalment and April's in May... Here's a nice message similar to others I get from time to time reading this page "How to be a freelance illustrator". by Adrian Cartwright
Hello, I'm a self taught artist and I'm busy looking into becoming a freelance artist, this is just an email to say a big thank you for all your very useful information I found on your web page while I have spent some amount of time trying to get information,
It was so refreshing to find someone that not only has took so much time to write all the helpful tips tricks and stages of what to do to become a freelance illustrator, but put it in such a clear way that the average novice can understand...
Everywhere you look now, no one gives even information away free, I just thought I would make the time to thank you.. I shall be tweeting you and face booking you lol..as I'm sure there are so many people out there trying to get advice..
Kind regards Olwen Foggon
March 1st is the start of a new financial year for planet, and with work commitments taking priority there's been little time to reflect on the year. The first half of the month has been focused on getting through the illustration projects. Three of the projects have been multiple illustrations, one for a brochure including 19 illustration scenes, another is a set of technical illustration for floor application and the other is 23 icons for a software company. And although simple as they are, when you start to multiply them… the time builds up. So time management is crucial, and being honest with your clients and yourself. Looking forward to the new iMac due to arrive later this month. It was ordered in mid February, and I understand that supplies of the new iMac especially when bespoke builds are weeks in the waiting. I think if I wanted one off the shelf, it's just a few days, but I've pretty much maxed the iMac27 out, apart from the hard drive. I'm also enjoying my new Wacom Intuos 5 touch tablet, which has the feature of using your finger instead of the grip pen… and looking at the nib, it's a good thing. The tip looks like I've been using it for a year not a few weeks! So apart from the ware, it's a huge leap from my old Wacom Intuos3 I had, selling that on eBay. More to come later this month... by Adrian Cartwright
At the start of the month it was decided to commit to a complete overview and audit of the company.
Many things have been discussed and prioritised. Doing this on a company that's evolved organically since 1990 involves a lot of thinking, planning and work into all areas of the company. Needless to say, it's taking a while. And to this date 18th February, is still in the works. I will update this month at the end... Well it's almost Mid March now, and progress on the company audit has been put on hold due to 4 projects, three of which are quite large and dealing with them. Needless to say, a global list of areas that need investigation has been drawn up and a list of items to investigate has been lengthy and I'm working through them, all slowly due to project priorities. I guess illustration commissions are going to be interrupting progress with the company audit for time to come. PS I hope to be able to write something a little more interesting next month. by Adrian Cartwright
Another year, another Tax Return. I'm off next week for my AGM, well me and the other half will spend a few hours discussing the "Where Planet illustration is going in 2013." Usually a verbal list of things I would like to do or improve on this year... the list gets longer each year, and so does the long stares of contemplation "What iMac or software to buy"... but seriously it's a good opportunity to get away and think about goals and the bigger picture (pardon the pun)… On return from the AGM, more than the usual quota of questions were raised that asked further questions… So started the sparks of something bigger than ever considered before. by Adrian Cartwright
Following on from the zero2illo conference in November 2012 and the Derby Artists & illustrators Christmas MeetUp. Many items were covered for people wanting to become a freelance illustrator as well as currently active illustrators and commercial artists. by Adrian Cartwright
Firstly I would like to say that I found the zero2illo conference a great success, allowing me a freelance illustrator of over 23 years the opportunity to meet other freelance illustrators. One of the biggest things I learnt and was a relief to know was that nearly all the other illustrators experienced similar problems or challenges, and dealt with them in a similar way. The relief that I could turn to other illustrators knowing they would perfectly understand is reassuring. I expected to meet some real strange character too, but mostly all just normal people, who just happen to have a creative talent. Some were more business like than others, and that was where there were real gains to be made. Since the convention I've joined the AOI, but must admit, I've been too busy to log on and explore their site. I've also made some great contacts with other illustrators. I have found that some don't want to connect, and that's fine, but I feel they're losing out as this new communication with other freelance illustrators can only be a positive one. Perhaps the ones that don't are afraid of losing work, or looking bad in some way. If you're confident in your work, you have nothing to fear. Author: Adrian Cartwright