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What style to choose from?

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  • What style to choose from?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been wanting to ask a professional illustrator this question. In what particular style are companies looking for? Would it be cartoon people, animals and? Or is it more so pictures drawn from realism? I've drawn various types of pictures before but I know now that this won't work in the realm of illustration. Illustrators must stick to one specific style of art and become really good at it so the public will know what that one individual can draw for them. I understand this and am willing to work at one specific style of art but I don't know what to choose. Also are companies wanting artwork traditionally or digitally more so?

  • #2
    There is no One Style. There are trends, sure. But those change.

    As a for instance, the last job for which we hired outside illustrators, there were three of them; A watercolor artist, a guy who specialized in stencil art and a rough pencil sketch artist. They were hired to do specific things on a single, multi-faceted presentation. The other thing that might be important to note is they all came from the same agency.

    Being an illustrator means being the best at what you do. It would be best to select something you enjoy doing and can do quickly and efficiently. You can't really sell to the market. If you want to do that, try selling clip art. You can look at what's trending in stock sites and try to get your work sold for pennies on the dollar. I don't recommend it.

    You get really good, good enough for an agent to pick up, good enough for them to promote your work to the clients most likely to buy it. They do this for a cut of your profits. Not everyone is a Boris Valejo.

    I have to add a "beware" here regarding the self-publish market. There is a lot of call for illustration in that market. Never do work without a contract. It doesn't pay well and a contract will scare off the stiffs. If you do work based on sales royalties, you deserve what you get, which in a lot of cases will be next to nothing. Your work has a price. Stick to it or move on.

    Clients want the art digitized. It may be hand drawn, but before beginning any project you discuss how the art is being reproduced, at what size and if digitized at what resolution. A full-service illustrator will have scanning resources so they maintain control, but a lot of times I receive the original art and arrange to have it scanned or photographed at the proper resolution. But it has to be in a form that allows that. Scanners have size limitations and setting up for a photo shoot to a scan back also has camera stand limitations. If I have to make arrangements for extreme oversized art, it costs me a half day minimum for a photographer and all his gear. Bed scanners are getting hard to come by these days. Camera stands are usually limited to 36" max in width or height. Original artwork is never drum scanned. It isn't because the art is "original". It's because my last remaining drum scan resource doesn't want to ruin his $60,000 machine, especially where it is increasingly difficult to repair or replace.

    Illustration as a viable business is even harder to make a go of it these days than Graphic Design. The guys and gals I've worked with all have day jobs. The grim fact is, everyone these days thinks they are an artist. Photoshop manipulation is all the rage amongst teen gamers and they try to move that into commercial illustration with little to no understanding of copyright law. Graphic designers who won't let go of the coin will do "illustration" for their clients to avoid them outsourcing it, sometimes to the detriment of the project. Or they'll just source a stock illustration. Look at news websites. NPR for instance has an apparent ongoing relationship with Getty Images. Almost all of their stock illustration comes from there.

    I don't know what to tell you. Like I said in another thread I went to school for Illustration with the hopes of becoming a scenic artist. Pixar came into being while I was in still in college. I could see that writing on the wall and had no interest in computer graphics. My actual illustration style outside of trompe l'oeil painting is "pen and ink." Not a lot of call for that. So I work in graphic production. No worries about having to chase clients. That's a definite plus for me.

    As a last note, you cannot become emotionally attached to your work. A client will say things that may hurt your ego if you let it. They may also request changes that you may feel aren't right or may make you have to start the illustration all over again. You deal with it and move on. The art is a product. It isn't your firstborn.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 04-05-2015, 05:33 PM.

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