Working with an illustrator

So you want to work with an illustrator, but you’re not sure how to proceed? This helpful video should put you on the right track and get your project moving forward.

Lets get started!

  1. You want to stand out from the crowd? An illustration is what you need.
  2. Decide on a style or general look.
  3. Search Hire an Illustrator for an illustrator.
  4. Find an illustrator who matches your expectations.
  5. Message the illustrator and introduce yourself.

Brief the illustrator by including the following information in your message;

  • Image Purpose
  • Audience
  • Usage and Distribution
  • Deadline
  • Project Budget
  • Image Licensing Requirements

If the illustrator agrees to take on the project, fees and contracts are then negotiated, and the client will pay a deposit.

  1. The illustrator sends the client a rough sketch or selection of thumbnail drawings based on the brief. The detail and quality of these drawings will vary from illustrator to illustrator.
  2. Revisions, if needed, are made. Normally 3 rounds of revisions are included in the contract.
  3. Once the sketch work is approved, the illustrator will produce the final artwork.
  4. Low resolution copies of the final artwork will then be sent to the client for approval.
  5. There may be some minor revisions at this point depending on how detailed the original sketches were. Major revisions at this stage will normally require additional funds.
  6. Once the artwork is approved, the illustrator will send over the high resolution files.
  7. An invoice will then be issued. If it’s not paid instantly, it will usually need to be paid within 30 days subject to the contract.

Note: Depending on the client and illustrator, it’s not unusual for the illustrator to withhold a high resolution copy of the artwork until the invoice has been paid. Corporate or editorial clients often do not pay a deposit upon signing of the contracts unless previously agreed upon by both sides. There are always exceptions, but communication and clarity is key.

On Contracts: The contract between the two parties should be a reflection of the negotiations and conversions had before work commenced. It is generally bad practise to have terms hidden within a contract that have not been made clear or previously discussed, for example talking about a usage license while the contract states the job will be work-for-hire. Both parties need to read the contract and know what’s in it. Don’t blindly start working or pay a deposit on a job until all the terms have been agreed. On many occasions boilerplate contracts can be used, which are easy to revise so that they meet the agreed requirements of client and illustrator, and avoid any conflict or nasty surprises.

Doing the boring bit properly will help make the fun bit awesome! Happy and confident people produce their best work (and win awards!) when they’re under pressure, but not when they’re stressed out over the technicalities. Our members have access to free boilerplate contracts that can be modified to fit the needs of the project.

Video Credit: Marcus Cutler

4 thoughts on “Working with an illustrator

  1. Thanks Darren, this will help us all. Very often people want work but don’t understand that illustrators have to pay bills too. Contracts can be tailored to fit the exact purpose for the work and payment schedules can be flexible as well.

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