When asked to work on any commercial projects there are always challenges. Unlike working on personal pieces, you are now dealing with a second party’s set of ideas and opinions.
Like any artist, when creating personal work, it’s easy to become very wrapped up in your own visions and routine, becoming content. Dealing with clients post new challenges, pushes boundaries and forces you to evolve out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s working with new media, time constraints or subjects that you feel are uninformed about.
A good business relationship requires excellent communication. This is especially important, as an illustrator you are solely representing yourself and your product. When landing a commercial client often times illustrations are needed when photography isn’t a possibility. As visual communicators it’s your job to interpret the ideas of the client, who isn’t necessarily a visual person or sure of what they want. Difficult as that might seem, a good strong line of communication is requirement for initial concepts to reach a final piece.
Illustrating for a client demands a different frame of mind. From the beginning, you must prepare yourself that, there will inevitably be changes. What may be your favourite part of a piece, might be completely illuminated. Don’t get attached. Illustrators must be able to adapt with clients needs and know the final product is going to be a shared effort. Giving up some control is tough but sometimes completely necessary.
If all of this sounds painful, it can be. However, seeing something you contributed a piece of yourself into in a commercial context is an amazing reward, accomplishment and high compliment to your talent. Think about how incredibly fun the world could look, if there were more illustrations popping out at us, in our day to day lives.