The Brief

Much can happen between the initial briel to Ihe finished artwork. A good art director will, at the point ol offering the work, have a brief or some copy to hand and be able to talk through the project. A brief may take different formats, but should include

1 & 2. Weekly newspaper magazine The Guardian Weekend 'Karma Comedian' Ray Smith, 2003

3. Weekly newspaper magazine The Guardian Weekend Yesterday' Ray Smith, 2003

Illustrations that incorporate a technique utilising digital redrawn, reworked and collaged photographic elements are used to great effect across a full single page and through the gutter (the centre) for a newspaper's weekly colour magazine supplement. Creating striking, welt-executed and forward-thinking illustrations to a strict deadline, an even stricter budget, often without the full text supplied, is all part of working as an editorial illustrator.

Magazine Timeline -DAY- Newspaper Timeline

Initial request from art director -checking availability of illustrator to undertake commission

01 am: Initial request from art director pm: Commission confirmed and full briefing given via phone and email

Commission confirmed and full briefing given via phone and email

02 am: Research and initial ideas generation pm; Further ideas generation and visualisation

03 am: Working up visuals pm: Presentation of visuals to art director via email and follow-up phone call

Research and initial ideas generation

04 Presentation of visuals to editor by art director and verbal feedback to illustrator - can lead to second visual

Further ideas generation and visualisation

Presentation of second visual and follow-up feedback

Working up visuals

Creation and presentation of final artwork

Presentation of visuals to art director via email and follow-up phone call

Presentation of visuals to editor by art 08 director and verbal and/or written feedback to illustrator - can lead to second visual

Presentation of second visual and follow-up feedback

Creation and presentation 10

of final artwork

4. Timeline for editorial commissions

The production schedule for all editorial commissions can be demanding. This is especially so for daily and weekly newspapers. Production deadlines are immovable - a newspaper must be delivered on time. Working in this field can be rewarding creatively, if not financially.

the following in addition to the text to be illustrated: the size the image will run in publication, the fee, and the deadline. Less key. but still important, is knowing on which side of the page the illustration will fall. Whether it sits on the left or right page of the spread can influence how an image is constructed; a figure, for example, can be either positioned entering or exiting the publication

In reality, the art director may have lo wait for copy from the editor, cutting down the time the illustrator has to work on ideas and final artwork. With most illustrators now working with access to broadband or at least dial-up Internet access, the text usually arrives via email. A brief for an editorial commission is likely to be little more than an early version of the copy that can be subject to change and the illustrator may need to actively request the other details of the project. Requesting all information, including the fee and the deadline, must be undertaken before embarking on the project; if in doubt, ask the relevant questions.

Once underway, a commission usually involves two stages: creating a rough version, referred to as a sketch or visual, and then the final artwork. All illustrators have different approaches to how they start a job, but all agree that reading, digesting and understanding the brief is crucial. Before embarking on the illustration, the first step is to understand the publication. Read previous copies to gauge the profile, look al who it is aimed at and research the tille. Discuss with the art director why you have been chosen for the job, and ask if there was a particular piece of work or publicity thai prompted the call. It is not unusual for a piece of previously printed publicity to be still working on your behall five years later, are you still working in this particular way? It is wise to check before creating an illustration that is unlike the vision that the art director has of your work.

Art directors can have very distinct ideas of how they expect the copy to be visualised, while others allow for an open interpretation by the illustrator. Keeping the art director informed will help ensure lhat Ihere are no difficulties later in the project. Even if you intend to work on the project later in the day or week, read the brief immediately upon receipt. Do this to consider ideas, visual representations and overall elements that may appear in the illustration. Having the subject of the brief in the mind will be conducive to contemplating solutions, and will highlight any potential problems early in the process.

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