Understanding how illustrators are commissioned is key to successful working relationships but despite that, few art and design courses truly replicate the procedure. Whilst there are relatively lew courses in illustration compared to those teaching straight graphic design, there are even fewer that teach how to art direct. Most courses offer it, if at all. as part of their graphic design programme, without recognising the breadth of the discipline. This is also true lor advertising art direction, therelore many art directors have to learn on the job: some manage brilliantly, others not so well.
The approach to commissioning illustration lor a newspaper or magazine art department is often dictated by the deadline, which is sometimes just a few days from the initial point of contact and/or briefing. There is scant time for meeting illustrators in the flesh when commissioning and the typical briefing is often far short of ideal.
Art directors or art editors normally call an illustrator directly, as many are unwilling to work with illustration agencies. Agents exist to represent the interests of Ihe illustrator and will often attempt to increase a fee, however, in editorial work there is very little, if any. room for manoeuvre. Art directors rarely want this associated inconvenience, as there is little time for negotiation with a deadline approaching. Deadlines in editorial work are unforgiving; few other areas of the discipline work as rapidly.
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