When is the last time you worked with an illustrator, or have you ever? How did it go, or what stopped you from following through? I make assessments after each assignment and try to keep tabs on what worked well, what got me the assignment or what didn’t, and why. In this part, I’ll address when an illustration is the right solution.
I’ve found that most inquiries come to me for one of three reasons:
1. Out of options: An art director is up against the wall and out of resources. I call that the rescue illustration. They’ve exhausted their stock and photo resources, and just can’t find something that communicates to the visual need in a way that meets their aesthetic standard. It can also be a situation where the client is insistent on an image that, quite frankly, would be too ridiculous to address with photography.
2. The primary direction: The other kind of assignment is when an idea has already hatched and the AD envisions art as the solution at the onset. Illustration can solve problems in an entirely different way than a photograph. There’s a hand-crafted feeling despite how polished the work is. The image reaches an audience on a different level that can be more heartfelt and sincere. An illustration also begs for interpretation. Photography is real and defines that reality for us, while illustration allows us to interpret it in our own way. I like that! “Style” that is expressed through illustration can also underscore your message more quickly. Whether it is friendly or edgy, these messages speak more loudly with art.
3. Creative construction: The best reason to go with illustration is that you’re creating an image from the ground up; No compromises in content and concept. Ground-up creation is the most rewarding, usually yielding the best end product. (part four will address this closer) Your client will also feel the work is completely customized for them and truly unique, and of course it is! What could be better?
Don’t underestimate your client's ability to get on-board with commissioning illustration. If they’ve never done it before, it could be a big and exciting deal. You could be facilitating something that becomes a lifelong memory, not just the final work, but the creative process. Everyone enjoys being creative, and this could be the clients first real whack at it. Of course, set the bar low and be prepared to steer the ship. It’s great for your client to feel a part of the process, but the AD is really the one who bares the responsibility of success and quality.
So what are you working on today? Is it the same old, same-old, or are you engaged in making something new and fresh? Your day could have you enthralled in reviewing sketches, or being the recipient of art from an illustrator.
The next issue will discuss ways to help you pick the right illustrator.