The Human Figure: Life Drawing for Artists by John H. Vanderpoel

By John H. Vanderpoel

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Of course they’re not high enough. I’m happy to negotiate if illustrators feel they are too low. What do you like most about working with illustrators? > As with any creative relationship, the excitement of watching somebody else doing something better than you thought possible. What would prevent you recommissioning? > A great rough, followed by bad art. What would be your advice to a new, would-be illustrator? > Find your voice, not somebody else’s. Given the ease of viewing images online, do you still feel inclined to see artists?

If you approach an advertising company, your first point of contact will probably be its art buyer. Most agencies will have more than one, but there will be a senior buyer who manages the others. I understand the buyer’s role as that of creative hub for the agency; they are the people who buy in the creative services that an art director needs to realize the vision for a campaign, including illustration. Art buyers should know what is going on out in the wider creative community, and what is available when art directors ask for a particular style or feel of work.

So, when they want to commission illustration, there is always the chance that the client would prefer, if not the photographic route, perhaps the alternative illustration that was put forward alongside your work. Consequently, compared to an editorial situation, there are fewer opportunities to be commissioned and relatively more chances not to be chosen because there are more people involved in the choice of illustration. This isn’t intended to put you off approaching design clients, but rather to give you a practical understanding of how things work, and to reiterate why editorial work is such a good starting point for an illustrator’s career.

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