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Illustrator Meet Ups & Gatherings

We love meeting new people and we know no matter how much you hate being out in public, that human connection is what stops us from turning into complete recluses. So while you may be happy to be locked in your own echo chamber, once in a while you ought to get a bit of fresh air… If not for yourself, do it for the rest of us before you figure out how to destroy the planet with a flick of a switch or worst still you become one of those truly twisted fine artists.

So now that you’ve finished deciphering the mysteries of the world with your cat or dog and wondering why the only person you ever talk to is your mother, check out these two events that are definitely worth more than a passing glance.

First up we have Yo Illo on the 25th January at The Miller Pub in London, followed by Drink and Draw on the 28th at The Edwardian Tearooms in Birmingham. Yo Illo is for everyone from students to seasoned professionals and is a good chance to talk about work and let off steam. Drink and Draw is more of a chance to socialise while doing what you love with the freely provided paper and pencils. Both events are run and supported by people who love the creative industry, so whether you go to both, or one or the other, it’ll be an amazing evening and atmosphere.

Yo Illo’s January Meetup
No agenda, no pressure — like-minded illustrators and industry talk.
Wednesday, January 25 at 6 PM – 9 PM
The Miller Pub
96 Snowsfields, SE1 3 London, United Kingdom
facebook.com/events/671989512981860/

Drink and Draw at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
A night of tiddly scribblings! Pens, pencils and paper provided!!
Saturday, January 28 at 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
The Edwardian Tearooms
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, B3 3DH Birmingham
facebook.com/events/240459886365725/

So you want to be an illustrator?!

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The LCS isn’t the bustling creative web portal it once was due to the sudden and all engulfing rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, we still keep an eye on things and occasionally post an article or run the odd art related project (like Mail Me Art) when we get the chance. But when it comes to career-related and general advice, our new home for publishing these sort of articles is the HAI Staff Blog. We try to write and publish them when we can, but there are only so many hours in a day, as every self-employed person knows. Here is a list of all the freelance illustration advice riddled articles you may have missed over the last year.

Lots of people want to become or train to be illustrators. Some people take up the trade because they have a natural talent and others end up as artists because their mothers incessantly told them how good they were and they started to believe it! However you became or will become an illustrator, we’ve all got to start somewhere. As we live in a multimedia-rich world these days, it’s never been easier to find information and advice about the industry we all love.

Become an ArtPACT patreon

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ArtPACT has been free for a while now and was running on general donations, but there weren’t enough to maintain the service. Sadly, it was announced a couple of weeks ago that they were giving up the ghost and closing down. This announcement managed to light a fire under enough people’s butts to kickstart their Patreon campaign and breath new life into the service. They’re looking to reach a minimum of $250 per month to keep their excellent service going, so if you can spare anything to help them out, I’m sure it’d be appreciated. https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3802975

ArtPACT is a free online resource for illustrators focusing on the fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and comic book genres. The ArtPACT website has information for artists of all experience levels regarding contracts, copyrights, and alternative income solutions.” – Jim Pavelec

The LCS Illustration Agent Directory

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The LCS isn’t as fast moving as it use to be, but we still like to keep the content turning over when we can. So as part of the LCS’s ongoing mission to be useful, we’ve published our personal illustration agent database for all to use and share. If there are any agents missing or any you’d like to see removed, please get in contact and we’ll do our best to update the directory.

Visit: The LCS Illustration Agent Directory

Mail Me Art is still going strong…

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I’m sorry for the lack of updates. Mail Me Art is still going strong and receiving submissions for MMA4 (Open All Hour). Someone purchased all 3 of our books over the weekend from the LCS and they’re currently whirling their way to Germany. Thank you very much for the sale. I’ll be doing a pick of all the current mail art hopefully in the next couple weeks.

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Once I have them in hand I’ll scan them and post them up. The next exhibition is still in limbo, but as soon as we set a date and location you’ll be the first to know about. Leave a comment: facebook.com/mailmeartproject/posts…

Budgeting for Illustration, Know thy Client

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Part of what I do at Hire an Illustrator is have clients send me their job briefs and then make appropriated recommendations about who they should hire for their projects in the form of a list of candidates. As the Little Chimp Society is a community of illustrators and people who love illustration, I though I’d share a bit about how it works when it comes to budgets and negotiations, from my point of view.

If I know a client doesn’t have a budget for an illustration job I tell them they need to find one. If they have a small budget and they’d like to work with a quality illustrator I tell them they need to find a bigger one. If they don’t tell me their budget, I don’t ask them unless I suspect they don’t have one. The thing is, negotiating fees is between the illustrator and client. I can make recommendations or offer advice, but there’s a huge variation in what clients can pay and what illustrators charge. People are normally surprised at how affordable custom illustration actually is, even though it’s a very unique thing and not cheap.

A client is buying a custom piece of work and while it can’t be compared to say a custom piece of furniture, it has a lot of the same attributes going for it as far as it being a unique creation is concerned, so there isn’t an off-the-shelf cost. Plus it’s actually quite complicated when it comes to quoting on a job: there’s the experience and reputation of the illustrator to consider; there’s copyright; there’s usage; and there’s the size of the client and the industry they belong to, along with the value an illustration will bring to their project. As I said, it’s complicated. Life would be so much easier if we were all carpenters, we’d measure the space and then price for materials and labor without ever needing to take projections or alternative uses into consideration.

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When a client approaches an illustrator, unless they’re an experienced art director, they should be prepared to have the illustrator ask them questions they may not have thought of. Plus the client should make as much information about the job available to the illustrator from the start. This will allow the illustrator to create an informed quote. It also really helps if the client can tell the illustrator what their budget is, as only the client knows what they can afford. Most of the time a particular illustrator is approached because the client wants to work with them and if the illustrator wants to work with the client, they’ll try to work to the client’s budget. If the client’s budget doesn’t cover the illustrator’s fees, they’ll kindly refuse the job, or try to come to some sort of licensing or other arrangement that’ll make the budget work. Alternatively, if there’s any flexibility in the budget it may go up, it may go down. What it comes down to is both parties needing to negotiate the terms to find something the client and illustrator are happy with. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process, but the more upfront the client is and the less fishing they do, the quicker it will be. Illustrators know what rates they need to charge, clients know what they can afford.

Supply and demand is normal in the commercial world, but should be an afterthought when it comes to illustration. Every piece commissioned is custom and for something specific from it’s inception. Not working to a supply and demand model may be a foreign concept to a business-orientated client who primarily works with numbers, but this is why an illustrator should be aware of this and should know how to handle a client with that mindset… if the client’s expectations aren’t already being managed by an art director or middle man. What clients tend to miss is the inherent value a good illustration can bring to a project, not mentioning the creativity and ideas an illustrator may have. This is why a license is always a good idea too, even a simple illustration has a lot of inherent value and if an illustrator was to hand over the copyright, lock stock and barrel, they’re also transferring all of the image’s value and future worth. Clients don’t normally (and vary rarely) need the copyright to an illustration and it’s worth a lot more to the illustrator than it is to the client. This is why if a client demands the copyright to an image it can add 50-100% (sometimes more) onto the cost of a job. But licenses can have varying terms that allow a client to use an image for their needs. With an illustrator retaining some of its value via the way of a license, budgets and costs can normally be drastically reduced.

Finishing up, what I would say is if you’re an illustrator, make sure you understand the value of your own work and be ready to explain that to your clients. You know what you should be or need to charge and your clients know what they can afford. Communication is the key, work it out.

Artist Credits…
Research World Magazine / Ben Aslett / http://illo.cc/12408
The Lonely Goldfish / Andy Smith / http://illo.cc/10139

Get your professional conduct on!

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There’s a new post up on the Hire an Illustrator blog and it goes into the ins and outs of how to conduct yourself when it comes to talking about clients after the fact on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. We’ve been guilty ourselves of having the occasional rant, but when your reputation is part of a professional community as a whole… You do need to keep yourself in check. Visit the HAI blog and have a read at hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/1113/