The 2nd annual Illustrator’s Survey is up now! We’ve teamed up with Ben O’Brien and we’re asking for anyone who worked in commercial illustration in 2018 to please fill in the survey and spread the word! #WeAreIllustrators
Last year I launched the first Illustrator’s Survey and with an overwhelming response was able to put together a well-received report containing some very thought-provoking statistics about the illustration industry and those working in it throughout 2017. This year I’m working alongside Hire an Illustrator to do the same, looking for responses from anyone who has worked as a professional illustrator (whether full or part time) throughout 2018. If you have been working as an illustrator over the passed 12 months then please do take ten minutes to respond to the survey and of course help to spread the word amongst your fellow illustrators!
The survey will run until the end of January when we will compile the results to be released in early February.
2018 went so fast and it was our 11th official year of serving our members; we don’t know about you, but we consider that an accomplishment. This year has been an amazing year and we can’t quite believe it’s nearly over with 2019 just being round the corner.
Over the last several months we introduced the Art Card Collections, which replaced our Mail Shot Packs. We were a little worried our illustrators wouldn’t take to them, but we shouldn’t have been concerned as they’ve been a big success and everyone loves them. In the new year we’ll hopefully be expanding the program to allow clients to order cards that they’re missing and let the general public to get in on the action.
We also announced our 2019 exhibition which will be at The Framers Gallery in London in April and will feature many of our talented members. For the first time this won’t be a showcase of our illustrators’ previous commissions, but will be a collection of new and creative works inspired by Jules Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires series of books. We’re very excited about the show and can’t wait to start showing off some of the amazing pieces we know our members are going to create! Read more: Amazing Adventures: An Exhibition of Art Inspired by the Works of Jules Verne.
And last, but not least we started our Artist in “Virtual” Residence (AiR) program. So far we’re on artist number two (Nathan Shelton) with several more lined up for the coming months. What this entails is working with a specific artist over a 1-2 month period who fulfils our creative needs and creates some cool merchandise for us too during the process. Working directly with the artists has been so much fun and I wish we’d started doing this years ago. A big thank you goes out to Tom Martin for being our first AiR and the test subject for the initiative.
During the following dates we’ll be operating a skeleton crew with regards to job requests and members’ questions… and our laptops will be turned off completely if we find we’ve eaten too much Christmas pudding or become a little too intoxicated during the family gatherings.
24th December 2018 – 1st January 2019
Wishing you all happy holidays, Darren & Jane Di Lieto
The festive snowmen were created by “AiR” Nathan Shelton. Merry Christmas Nathan! 👋
Member Note: Please be aware that news submitted over Christmas and the New Year period may not be published on the site until 2nd January and there is normally a little bit of a back(yule)log.
Presenting Amazing Adventures: An Exhibition of Art Inspired by the Works of Jules Verne. We’re partnering up with the Little Chimp Society again to bring our members the opportunity to be part of an exclusive exhibition and publication next April in London. The show will feature original works and high quality digital prints from our international community of talented illustrators, traditional and digital artists.
All of the artwork will be influenced by the Voyages extraordinaires series of novels by author Jules Verne: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Round the World in 80 Days and so on. This will be our first event where works are being produced specifically for the show, if you don’t count our involvement with Mail Me Art many years ago, and we’re really excited about it. So excited in fact, that our recent Artist in Residence Tom Martin has already produced a Jules Verne-inspired spot illustration for us for this very blog post – we can’t wait to see what our other illustrators create as well!
A special members’ update email will be sent out in the next few days with instructions on how to sign up for the show, and the requirements. We’ll also get events pages up on Facebook and Eventbrite as the gallery is already locked down and there’s no point in wasting time… and when it comes to the show, we’re hoping to see as many of you there as possible. It should be a fantastic event!
If you don’t want to miss out on future updates, make sure you’re signed up for our email newsletter and following our Facebook or Twitter accounts. Also if you have any questions or just want to say hello, leave a comment below.
Over the previous month of October, we had our first ever Artist in Residence (AiR), Tom Martin – or more accurately, Artist in virtual Residence! This has been something new we had wanted to try out for a long time and we’re very glad that Tom was kind enough to come along for the ride.
The residency involved one of our members (Tom) fulfilling our illustration needs over the period of one month. You would have thought finding an illustrator would have been an easy task for us, but things aren’t always that simple. Our first problem was that any artwork produced would need to appeal to our members and also draw in a wide audience of art directors and commissioners, so we didn’t want to go for anything too niche or risqué. Secondly, and most importantly, we needed to take into consideration that whoever we worked with would be a full-time freelance illustrator and we didn’t want them to be turning down commissions due to being too busy with working on pieces for us. You need to remember that part of our commitment to our members is that we’re constantly networking and finding them new opportunities and connections, so making sure that whoever was our AiR could handle the additional workload was essential.
When we asked Tom if he was interested in being our first AiR, we hadn’t quite ironed out all of the details, so there was some trial and error, but essentially we gave Tom directions and then allowed him to guide us. It was a misstep that we had Tom creating Halloween artwork for us in October that would be turned into physical items at some point, as lead time hadn’t been taken into consideration with all the excitement. There was no real need to worry about that though, as we’ll be getting the stickers and pins made up for April to show people at our next exhibition and we’ll have plenty in stock to give away as promo items to lucky clients when next October comes around. However with that in mind, from now on if an artist is working on something seasonal for us, we’ll get them to do it one or two months beforehand.
We really can’t wait to have the pins and stickers made and in our hands! The artwork looks great and we’re really pleased with the website background that Tom created for us, it’s brilliant! There were several other images that he created for us as well, two of them specifically for future posts on this very blog. You’ll have to keep an eye out for them.
We love Halloween and we hope you do to. It definitely tops Christmas when it comes to festive holidays. To celebrate, here is a selection of all of our members’ spooky posts from the last week to today.
If you’re a member and you’re looking for the Art Card page, please click here.
Getting a comic book from script to print can be a complicated undertaking, with lots of moving parts to consider. We’ve complied this article to help simplify the process and hopefully explain how the relationships between the illustrator, writer and publisher work in general without going into too much detail, but while still covering all the main talking points. Although this article is written with comic book writers being the primary audience, we do encourage comic book artists and others in the creative field to read it too.
These questions were devised and answered by Jason Piperberg (professional comic book artist), and edited and updated with additional content added by Darren Di Lieto and Jane Di Lieto. Feedback was also given by comic book artists Matt Timson, Brendan Purchase and Christine Larsen.
So, should I hire a comic book artist?
If you are working independently to publish your comic or graphic novel and you want to get your book into the hands of an adoring public, absolutely, yes, you should hire an illustrator – or more specifically a comic book artist. Independent and self-published comics are a vital part of the publishing industry. A lot of new writers and artists make their mark in the independent (indy) market, which can be a natural stepping stone into the mainstream market if that’s what they want. New ideas and creative stories keep the market vitalised and interesting, plus, everyone needs to start somewhere, so stop dithering!
For those who are more inclined to work with a publisher that will hire and handle the illustrator, you may want to submit your script directly to a publishing house for consideration. If a publisher decides your story is right for their brand, it’s very likely that the they will hire the illustrator directly without the author’s input, although some do require an artist to be attached to a book before it’s pitched to them. Either way, you’re only going to know what each publisher’s requirements are by finding and following their submission guidelines, and in most cases these will be available on their websites. Continue reading →
We’d like to introduce our newest background, created for us by the very talented Emily Hare. We love Emily’s artwork and thought that one of her paintings could work really well with the site, so after discussing what was needed for of our backgrounds, we left it in Emily’s capable hands to come up with some ideas.
Here’s the first attempt and the work in process illustrations…
At this point Emily decided to go in a different direction, something a bit more cuddly. Although we did really like the previous image and were advising on direction, we gave full creative control over to Emily and we trusted her to complete the task at hand.
And here is the final piece…
We think Emily did a brilliant job and we love our new background! Please note: Emily may have already given the dragons names, but we’ve decided to call them Myrtle and Xaddrarth. 🙂
This year we will be retiring our mail shot packs and refocusing our efforts on collectable postcard-sized art prints. They’re going to be high quality and of limited runs. Our hope is to build a collectable series of prints that will also work as a promotional device that our client base will treasure and retain. There will be more than one set as our clients work in a large variety of markets within the illustration industry, for example we’ll have a children’s series, a separate editorial series, and so on. Our hope is that this new direction will lay the ground work for our physical promotional items for years to come and create a buzz that will expand our customer base beyond our dedicated contact lists.
We’ve been sending out mail packs and printing postcards for just over ten years now, and we always aimed to make the process as simple and accessible as possible for our illustrators. We believe we achieved what we set out to do and the packs have always been very popular with our clients. It has now got to a point though were we believe that we need to evolve and do more than what we were doing to continue to stand out from the crowd. We’ve always had more success with our physical promotions than other companies have had, but that has probably been down to our unique and guarded contact lists. Also, maintaining a healthy relationship with our clients – and potential clients – doesn’t do any harm and I’m sure is appreciated.
We’re not going to be making a sudden switch to the new collectable prints, as we would like to test the water and get some feedback from our long-term clients and members first. The plan is to phase out the regular mail shot packs over the next 3-4 months, so until then it’s business as normal. Keep sending us your cards and designs and we’ll keep sending them out.
2017 has been a fantastic year and we’re already planning for 2018. We can’t wait to share with you what we’ve been working on… Showcase 2, hint, hint! As you can probably imagine, we are very excited about the coming year and the sooner it gets here the better. But before it does, it’s time for a short break to recharge the batteries. During the following dates we’ll be operating a skeleton crew with regards to job requests and members’ questions… and our laptops will be turned off completely if we find we’ve eaten too much Christmas pudding or become a little too intoxicated at the Christmas party.
Right! Time to get you up-to-date with all of our recent improvements. It was long overdue, but our entire website (including the administration area) is now accessed via https rather than http. Along with making the site more secure, it puts us fully in line with what the public and search engines expect these days. All old links will automatically redirect, but feel free to update any links you have from your websites or social pages to include that all important S.