Rant about writers, publishers, and other vague individuals commissioning art

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Here’s another one from this year’s archive of unposted stuff. I held off posting this because it’s a sample for a children’s book. I get frequently approached specifically for children’s books. It boggles me. What on my website gallery captures this particular interest? Maybe it’s the choice of style… but you know, just because you wrote a gleeful children’s story and it’s fashionable in our desperate economic time to put on a happy face, it doesn’t mean I am suddenly going to drop everything and draw bright, friendly, optimistic pictures. It’s artistic integrity. I have a firm commitment to the sense of realism to everything I do, whether it’s the anime/cartoon style, or super realistic images. Realism doesn’t mean it looks photo realistic, it refers to the conceptual aspect of a style.

Now this guy didn’t do what typically happens. He had a story that actually fit my style – it was a darker, grittier story, and it was more for boys I’m guessing or girls with that strand of interest.

But what I’ve experienced and seen happen to other illustrators has been that people inexperienced with working with artists treat illustrators like mindless puppets. Let me get this out there…I really don’t give a fuck how good you think your idea or story is. You’re talking to creative people…creative people have ideas all the time. It’s easy to have an idea, but it’s hard to have a truly great idea… and then when you do, that doesn’t make you king of the hill. An idea by itself isn’t worth anything until it’s actualized. You have an idea, but you can’t draw, so you go to an artist. Because you can’t draw, you must treat the artist with respect. For me personally – I’ve been kicking around doing this for 8 years professionally. I think I have some idea of what I’m doing, and I don’t need a condescending tone from a client like I need them to tell me how to move my hands to make the lines. I have a professional demeanor, so it’s not going to show, but I do get really irritated when I deal with this. And you know what? That irritation ends up going into the work, unfortunately. It’s subconscious, and I am human, so it’s hard to let it go sometimes.

This image in particular – this was a very condensed 2 hrs of work, because this client only felt like paying for 2 hrs. What I mean is – I gave an estimate, and I guess I made this mistake in terms of pricing – but I gave a range, and the client picked the lowest number in the range like it was a choice. Fine, you get what you pay for. This only irritated me because I have a pretttttyy expansive portfolio of work to show off what I can do – why do I need to create a specific sample? Further, they had no idea what they’re art budget was for an art-heavy book, and they were a “publisher”.

The problem I have with a lot of people is that they approach me with NO CLUE AT ALL of what they want, no prior research, no character design (in this case), no medium choice, size…page count even.. a photo of the person they want a portrait of… and they want to know the total cost of the project right away. I have nothing to work with to form an estimate, so I give a range based on what I’ve done in the past when I think a person is going to get too confused or bored of answering questions. Otherwise, I literally waste hours asking questions which should have been considered in the first place.

There’s too many “publishers” and “writers” out there. Honestly, I think you’re a fool calling yourself a writer if you haven’t sat down for at least 15 minutes and written a backstory or a visual description of the character you want automatically designed for your novel or children’s story by the illustrator. So far, every indie comics, graphic novel, children’s book job post I’ve come across this year has been like that. No vision at all, no forethought. Without saying, the same has been the case in film.

Just because you own a digital camera, doesn’t mean you’re a photographer. Just because you know a bit of French, doesn’t make you suddenly qualified as a French translator. Just because you have a pair of sharp scissors and a razor, doesn’t make you a barber. Just because you have a keyboard with all the keys and a screen to type on, doesn’t make you a writer.