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

The Seven Deadly Website Sins for Freelance Illustrators

This is a list of the things that illustrators sometimes do that they really shouldn’t – or in some cases that they don’t do. Generally, it’s the really simple stuff that tends to be overlooked and for the life of me I have no idea how it happens half of the time. What freelancers sometimes forget is that they’re running a business and they need to present themselves as such. Uploading your artwork to the internet for your own satisfaction is a far cry from landing the client you’ve always wanted or being hired for a private commission. For a viewer to become a client, they need to get from A to Z with as few obstacles as possible. Shall we begin…

  1. Not having a personal website with a custom domain name. Building a custom website is fun and can enable you to really show off your work and talent, but if that’s not for you, it’s OK to use a platform that uses templates where you just insert your own content. All of those systems allow you to have a custom domain name, whether you buy it through them or a 3rd party, so there’s no excuse not to have one. In the digital world, it’s the difference between having a business card or scribbling your contact details on a napkin . Show you’re a professional by having a custom domain name for your portfolio. It can take as little as 5 minutes to set one up and cost less than a couple caffè macchiatos each year.
  2. Not having your name on your website or using too many different names. Or using a business name, but not telling the client the name of the person to address their email to. This one is a pet hate! It’s less common these days, but there was a trend for a while for illustrators’ websites not to display the artist’s name, full stop. I don’t know if this was an oversight or not in some cases, but if you ever had to get in contact with any of these illustrators and their name wasn’t in their URL or email address, you could feel the annoyance in their reply when you’ve addressed them with just ‘Hey’. Tell people what your name is! Don’t make the client feel uncomfortable before they’ve even got in contact with you.
  3. Not showing your email address or any alternative contact method. You’ve created a beautiful website to showcase your amazing artwork and then you reveal no way for a client to contact you. Why?!
  4. Keeping your social networks more up-to-date than your own website. Social networks may be easier to update, but this just looks lazy and like you don’t actually care about your personal brand. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
  5. Having broken links to your social pages on your website where the URLs have changed when you’ve faffed around with your usernames. It’s like moving home; make sure a redirection is in place and everyone knows about your new address including your website. If you don’t, users are going to get lost and become irritated. It’s the little things like that which can put clients off when they’re on the fence as to whether to approach you for a quote or not.
  6. Showing work of varying quality: either be crap or amazing, not both! You need to make sure you’re showing your best work and the quality of your portfolio isn’t being dragged down by including work that isn’t your best. Sometimes it’s better to show too little work than bulking it out with older work or pieces that should have been archived in a private corner of your hard drive and become a distant memory. Be proud of everything you produce, but also be aware of what works and what doesn’t. Quality over quantity and don’t listen to your mum.
  7. Not having a consistent style or not showing a degree of separation between your different styles. This one has some similarities to number six. If you’re a jack of all trades and you’re approached by a client, there will always be a concern in the back of their head as to what to expect from you when you deliver an illustration. If you have more than one style, you want the client to be able to say before they commission you that they like your children’s illustration, or your pointillism artwork, or your horror pieces. But you need to have shown these in their own sections on your website and the styles need to have not cross-pollinated between the sections. Don’t make it difficult for the client to tell you want they want based on what you do. Keep it simple! Get them from A to Z as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

There are many more things an illustrator should do to optimise their operations and workflow than the list above, but we just wanted to highlight the most common mistakes we’ve seen in the wild over the years in relation to illustrators’ websites. Please feel free to leave your pet hates and advice in the comments below. We’ll add the best ones to the article.

Archangel illustration image credit: Brian Allen

More advice…
Professional conduct for freelance illustrators
To agent, or not to agent: that is the question

Professional conduct for freelance illustrators

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If you create artwork or illustrations based on instructions or a client’s brief and you get paid for it, you’re a professional illustrator. So with this in mind (regardless of whether you personally consider it just a hobby or yourself an amateur), you need to treat all of your clients and potential future clients with respect. I’m not saying that you won’t continue to get paying work if you don’t show respect for your clients, but when you don’t you’re damaging the general image people have of professional illustrators as a whole and this does have a knock on effect.

We’ve seen an increasing trend in recent months where freelance illustrators are just letting off a bit of steam by the way of posting rants or comments on their social profiles. This is fine if their privacy settings have to been set up to only allow their actual friends see their posts, but with a good number of illustrators this isn’t the case. Their profiles are public for all the world to see. As a company that promotes illustration and helps connect illustrators with clients, it’s quite disconcerting to see people moaning about clients in such a public way.

The bit that normally riles people up on both sides, when it comes to commissioning an illustrator, is budget and what a client can afford. This is where an illustrator’s professional conduct needs to come into play. It’s quite simple really…

Scenario A –
Client: I need this and have £600.
Illustrator: I’m afraid I can only do what you’re after for £1400.
Client: I’m sorry I can’t stretch to that, maybe next time.
Illustrator: Thank you for your interest.

Scenario B –
Client: I need this, how much would it be?
Illustrator: I can only do what you’re after for £1400.
Client: How about £600.
Illustrator: I’m sorry £1400 is the minimum I charge for this sort of job, maybe next time or let me know if you can find any more for your budget. Thank you for your interest.

Scenario C –
Client: I need this and have £600.
Illustrator: I’m afraid I can only do what you’re after for £1400.
Client: How about £900?
Illustrator: If you can stretch to £1200 you have a deal.
Client: Yes, I can do that.

Scenario D –
Client: I need this, how much would it be?
Illustrator: I can only do what you’re after for £1400.
Client: How about £200?
Illustrator: Thank you for your time, if you have a more accommodating budget in the future please keep me in mind.

Clients either have a set budget for the job or they’re looking to get what they’re after at the lowest possible price. There’s no reason to be offended if they can’t afford you. That’s just the way things are.

How to burn bridges and put people off hiring an illustrator in the first place…

Following any of the scenarios above, the illustrator then hops on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social networks and shares something like… “Client wanted me to illustrate 4 covers for £200! LOL.” … This status update is public and then gets 200+ retweets or likes, as people enjoy gossip and coffee shop chatter. It also gets 30+ comments from other illustrators saying how disgusting and insulting an offer like that is.

Now, all that’s been accomplished is that the illustrator’s ego has had a jolly good stroking. The illustrator could have made sure their privacy setting were set to allow only close friends to see the comment if they only wanted to let off steam, but many don’t even touch their privacy settings and they post comments like that for anyone and everyone to see. If potential and future clients see the comment it’s not going to put them in their place and make sure they offer proper remuneration when they approach an illustrator, all it’s going to do is leave them with a sour taste and doubts. I wouldn’t say it would be an extreme case either that someone thinking about hiring an illustrator might see that and then decide to hire a professional photographer instead or (heaven forbid) go with stock for their project.

Professional illustrators who make sniping comments like that have a lot more influence on the industry as a whole than they realise. The price range that illustrators charge is so much wider than in other professions due to the uniqueness of the work they produce. It’s not easy for a client to compare one illustrator to another, but they often still do. This means illustrators need to keep themselves in check at all times and not just when dealing directly with clients. By all means let off steam, have a rant and chat with your mates, just make sure it’s in a private forum rather than a public circus.

Positivity breeds positivity; don’t get stuck in a social network echo box for the sake of a like! Showing people what a joy illustrators are to work with shouldn’t just be the task of a few, it should be the default setting for anyone who loves illustration and working in this wonderful industry. Don’t get pulled into the gutter, reach for a higher standard. Be a professional.

Image Credit: Andy Potts (2011) for the Design Week Supplement

Have you found what you’re looking for?

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Following on from the recent redesign and rejuvenation of our website, we’ve continued to make modifications as the dust has settled and we’ve seen what worked and what needed to be changed. Our first stop was a small modification to our search criteria that should have a big impact on usability. When the redesign was launched we suddenly allowed all of our members to select a job title from a predetermined list and this was then searchable on our search pages. This didn’t work as the majority decided they want to just be called an illustrator, so now the job title is no longer searchable, but is displayed in their portfolios next to their name. What has been added to replace the search aspect are two searchable job descriptions. This should allow members to add the terms that help people find them without feeling they need to keep their options open by not committing to a specific title. This change in the options available to our members and within search system inspired a blog post I wrote about job titles for the LCS a few days ago. Read: Finding your niche as an illustrator!

Self-Portrait

As a side note: Since the redesign had been a longtime coming, I decided early on I would try to remove as much of the 9 years worth of bloat as possible. I may have gone a bit too far. Information about our postcard printing and mailers has now been re-added to the members’ administration along with a viewable archive of all the previous member-only updates. A new addition though is a series of downloadable and useful content that should be in every freelance illustrators’ digital toolbox. If you’re a member, login and have a look. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Image Credits…
1. ISO&AGENT Magazine cover (cropped) by Mario Wagner.
2. 2010 Self Portrait by Marcus Cutler.

ICON8 – Part 3: The Grand Finale

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This is the third and final part of Pat Higgins‘ ICON8 experience.
Darren Di Lieto

Part 1: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/874/icon8/
Part 2: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/882/icon8-part-2/


I woke up on the final day of ICON to a huge mess of styrofoam food containers, dirty clothes and empty bottles. The obvious signs of a fun night. Once again, I made it to the Art Museum just in time for the continental breakfast. Much like the other days of the conference, breakfast was a good time to grab a coffee, make new friends and trade contact information.

Saturday’s presentations began with Chronicle Books. Christina Amini (Editorial Director, Chronicle Books) and Kristen Hewitt (Design Director, Chronicle Books), joined illustrators Lisa Congdon and Susie Chahremani for an informative talk about Chronicle’s relationship between artists and editors, the collaborative creative process and working on projects that you enjoy.

On the first short coffee break of the day I received a panicked phone call from my brother (who came along for the ride but was not attending ICON). I was informed that due to a miscommunication/booking error we needed to check out of our hotel immediately and that most of the hotels in the downtown Portland area were booked up due to the combination of ICON and some other conference that was going on. At this point I headed back to the hotel so we could figure out accommodations for the remainder of our trip. We called around to a bunch of hotels with no luck. Somehow during the call to the last of the hotels on our list, Ryan convinced the manager into giving us the presidential suite for the price of a regular room, as well as checking us in immediately. The room was pretty awesome… It had a living room with two couches, an office, a bedroom and a jacuzzi. I wanted to hang out and enjoy the room but also didn’t want to miss any more of the speakers.

I made it back just in time to catch the last presentation before the break. I spent my lunch talking to some of the familiar faces and new friends that I had met over the past week, then headed back to the third floor of the Portland Art Museum. The rest of the day was full of really great speakers and topics. Brian McMullen talked about weird books for weird kids, Lisa Wagner and Jason Holley (who were in charge of the amazing and ever evolving stage design) spoke about working together, and Souther Salazar showed the crowd how work is play. After that, Justin Hall educated the attendees on the history of queer comics. His talk was quite interesting, as I am not very familiar with this sub-genre of independent comics. Equally interesting was Robynne Raye’s story about suing Disney for copyright infringement. Don’t Bring a Mouse to a Dogfight and don’t steal people’s shit!

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The day concluded with a keynote by Damian Kulash of the band Ok Go, who spoke about making music videos, being creative by accident and playing around. What really impressed me was that it seemed like the band had a lot of fun making the videos. That’s always something that’s really important to me… I want to be having fun and making something that I’m proud of, whether it’s illustration, graphic design or making/playing music with my bands. After that, Mark Heflin (ICON Executive Director) and Ellen Weinstein came up on stage to close the conference. They brought up a bunch of the behind-the-scenes folks that made this amazing event happen and it was all over.

Except it wasn’t over. We still had the closing night party! The theme of this conference wasn’t “Work and Play” for no reason. The attendees made their way back to their hotels and then to the Crystal Ballroom. We were treated to an open bar, a buffet full of food and a DJ while we mingled around. Later on in the night the headlining act, Portugal The Man, played a special set just for us ICON attendees (and I’m sure a few people who managed to sneak in). It was a great way to end this amazing week.

ICON 8 was an awesome conference and as attendees we were treated very well. I still don’t know how I was able to cram so much action into one week. Workshops, presentations, lectures, double-decker buses, happy hours, art shows, food, drinks, music and more! Needless to say, the trip to the airport was a bittersweet one. I was worn out after that week of work and play but I’ll miss Portland, OR and all of the new friends that I made while I was there. I’ll see you guys at ICON9!

Image & text by Pat Higgins, to see more of his work visit: illo.cc/25631

ICON8 – Part 2: Business Cards & Art Shows

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Following on from Pat Higgins first blog post about his trip to ICON8 this is part 2. – Darren Di Lieto

To read part 1 visit: https://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/blog/874/icon8/


Friday morning I woke up at 7:55. Somehow I managed to make it to the continental breakfast at the Portland Art museum by 8:00. After a cup of coffee and a bagel I was able to pull myself together and start interacting and socializing with my conference peers. On a side note, trading stories, business cards and promo materials with like-minded creators from around the world was one of my favorite parts of ICON. I can’t imagine any other profession where business cards are fun to get and are literally a work of art. During these moments of the conference, I couldn’t help but thinking of it as a total inverse of the business card scene in American Psycho.

After breakfast the herd headed upstairs to the Main Stage where we were greeted by the conference emcees, Vanessa Davis and Mimi Pond. These two were great. They told us about the sold out workshops, “Complaining About Having an Illustration Assignment” and “Complaining About Not Having an Illustration Assignment” as well as the elusive “Lunch on Your Own” presentation, which they never did find. Vanessa and Mimi continued to entertain as they introduced the presentations throughout the day. “What the Fuck Are Infographics?” (presented by New York Times graphics editors, Jennifer Daniel and Alicia DeSantis) taught us that “infographics are a style and a marketing ploy” to get people to click on a link and that it’s really better described as visual journalism due to the research involved. The Clayton Brothers talked about their collaborative efforts and Jan Pinkava showed us all some of the ways that illustration is moving forward with technology with Google Spotlight Stories such as “Windy Day” and “Buggy Night”. Sam Arthur told us the impressive story of Nobrow, a publishing company from the UK. They are printing some of the most interesting and amazing things and working with some of the most talented illustrators out there (plus their books smell great). One of the most informative speakers of the day was Linda Joy Kattwinkel, who had two different presentations about legal issues, “Protecting Your Work in the Age of the Internet” and “Work Made for Hire and Copyright Termination Rights”. The day concluded with Craig Bartlett’s, “An Animator’s Charmed Past Life”. He told us about working on “Rugrats” as well as the creation of his animated series, “Hey Arnold” and how it was inspired by his childhood in Seattle and Portland.

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Immediately following the lectures was a happy hour in the downstairs area of the art museum. Both the crowd and the line for the bar were insane, but it was nice to get a couple drinks after such a full day. Once happy hour was over, there was a double decker bus waiting to take us to the Land Gallery, where the ICON 8 Work and Play group art show was held. This was an amazing show featuring art from 70 ICON attendees (including myself). The only downside to this event was the heat. Not sure if it was the weather or just the amount of people in and out of the gallery, but it was almost unbearable. If you want to check out the work from the show go to buyolympia.com. Those time limited prints are available from that site from July 22, 2014 until August 24, 2014.

Motorcycle

While at the gallery show, I met up with my brother and some other friends. Once again it was party time. We headed to a bar across the street from the Land Gallery for a few drinks. By the time we realized what time it was, the double decker shuttle bus had made it’s last trip back to the hotel. The six of us decided that the party must go on, so we walked outside to figure out where our next stop would be and how we would get there. We got a few steps away from the bar and my friend Kevin pointed behind me. Some woman was standing next to a motorcycle that had fallen on the ground. “That’s my roommate’s bike!”, she screamed at us. I explained to her that one of us would have noticed if we knocked over a motorcycle. As I was helping her pick up the bike, a big angry guy comes out of the bar and starts screaming, “What the FUCK?! That’s my roomate’s motorcycle! That’s a custom paintjob!”. As soon as he said that, one of our group says, “How many roommates does this guy have?”. As soon as I heard that I started laughing. The next guy to come out the door did not think it was very funny, as he started yelling at us along with the rest of his friends,”Whoa… who fucked up my bike? Do you know how much I paid for this paint job?”. No sooner did he say that than another smartass comment comes from our group, “This guy paid all of that money for a custom paint job but he skimped on the kickstand? HA!”. At this point I was multi-tasking: Trying my hardest not to laugh while at the same time working to convince these people that we didn’t knock over the bike. Before I knew it, the three room mates were arguing about what happened and whose fault it was. We took this as a cue to leave. We ended up hanging out at some punk rock bar, which reminded me of home. We were a little late for the show that was going on so we just hung out and had some beers. Eventually it was time to end the late night and head back to the hotel.

Image credits Pat Higgins, to see more of his work visit: illo.cc/25631

Art PACT

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We’re super-pleased to announce that we’ve entered into a pact with Art PACT! hire an illustrator members are eligible for a $10 discount off PACT membership, while members of PACT can get 10% off an annual membership when they join us!

But what is Art PACT, I hear you cry? Well, if you don’t already know, Art PACT is a fabulous resource for illustrators – think interesting articles, reviews of clients, sample contracts, advice and good old fashioned encouragement to succeed in the wonderful world of illustration. We heartily encourage you to go and take a look: http://www.artpact.com/

A review of the Comixology Submit process

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*Guest post written by Heather L Sheppard*

Recently, I completed work on the first issue of my own comic/storybook ‘Sunrise’, a small, wordless story about a silent little monster on his search for the sun.
I wanted to publish it myself – to learn the whole process of creating, printing and selling my book myself, as I still think it’s one of the best ways to learn – to experience it for yourself. To pay for this, I decided to print each of my 4 planned issues as limited edition paperback copies, and sell them myself both online and at comic conventions – the problem being, it turns out people really like it, and 75 limited edition copies weren’t going to last long!

So I had to come up with another plan – lots of people wanted to read it, but I needed a platform to publish it on which would allow others to easily read it, yet not devalue the limited edition copies that so many people had bought in good faith. I completely intend to sell the final ‘full’ version of all 4 issues in a nice, solid hardback, but that is still a year away, at least! So I thought ‘Why not sell a digital copy?’ And so I began to look into alternatives.

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There were many methods, most involved selling a PDF version on my own digital stores, which I wasn’t entirely happy with. Not only is a PDF a bit of a bother to read, you can’t sit with your child and read through the book together – and that’s still something that I find important. I even thought about making a book app myself to sell on the iOS and Android stores. However, with my experience with making games for tablet and phone devices, I knew how much of a pain in the behind this would be – I can create the art and menu systems easily enough, but then I’d have to hire a programmer (which, despite knowing many, I couldn’t ask them to work for free!), a testing team and most likely the tablet and phone devices needed to test the app – which is far easier with the limited amount of Apple products than it is with the plethora of Android-using phones! And then I would have to hire a PR team to get the word around – all of which is a little impossible with my teeny tiny budget! So I had to give up on that idea almost as soon as I had it.

Earlier this year though, popular digital comic outlet ‘Comixology’ opened the doors to small-press comic creators with ‘Comixology Submit’. Brilliant! A way to get a digital version of Sunrise on so many phone and tablet devices, as well as computer screens, in an easy to read way – and best of all, I didn’t have to invest any of my own money in it! So, as soon as I could, I prepared a tablet and phone-friendly version and submitted it.

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There are a few things to take note of – as far as I could tell, there were no guidelines, so you are working a little blind. I worked with traditional iPad3 screen sizes (2048 x 1536) but this wasn’t big enough. Comixology contacted me to ask if there was a bigger size, so I decided to make it bigger. I can’t remember how I came to this file size, but 2292 x 3056 was accepted. I think the huge file size is to do with their guided view system, which is fair enough – it is essential for those reading on smart phones! Secondly, it takes a long time for your comic to go through the submission process. Sunrise was ‘Tentatively accepted’ nearly a month after I submitted it. After that, it took another 6-8 weeks or so to appear in-store. This is definitely not a quick process and you are not guaranteed to get on the store at all. Thirdly, once your comic is in-store, you can’t see what your sales are. This does annoy me slightly, as I like to know how well my personal work is selling – and Comixology is telling me to trust them with something very important to me, which I find quite difficult when it comes to big companies. Another thing is, that instead of getting your monthly share sent to you each month (like Redbubble, for example) you’re sent a cheque every quarter IF your comic sells over $100, which worries me a bit – what happens if you only made $99 that quarter? Does it roll over into the next quarter? My comic hasn’t been up there an entire quarter yet, so I can’t give an answer. I do worry about them sending a cheque though, rather than wiring it to my bank account. As I have found out in the past, by receiving a cheque in US Dollars my bank will charge me extra to put it into my account – usually about £12 – which is annoying, and what happens if I move house while the cheque is in transit? I know there’s only a small chance of that happening, but it still worries me!

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But, even with those cons, there are a lot of ‘pros’ to submitting your work to Comixology Submit.

Firstly – a new, huge audience from around the world! Suddenly, you’re getting reviews and 5 stars from people who would never have found your work before. I now have access to the American market especially, which I would never have had on my tiny little table at UK comic conventions (I will most definitely still be at UK conventions though). Secondly, some of the people at Comixology found Sunrise in the submit section, and included it as the very first thing mentioned on the Podcast – even stopping their talk about Batman, to talk about Sunrise! My partner and I were sat open-mouthed while we listened to it! It was so nice to hear people I’d never met, talking about my little book in such a positive way. They even bought a physical copy of the book afterwards! Success! Even with the cons I listed, this Pro made up for everything 🙂 Thirdly – setting up your comic for Comixology is completely free for you. Yes, Comixology will take a 50/50 cut from your sales (after credit card fees and fees from tablet and phone companies for having the app on their store, which happens with every app), but the cost of hiring an entire team to get your comic on the app store yourself will cost you even more than Comixology’s fees. Plus you won’t get the same level of PR or open up to an entirely new market, like you will do if you go with Comixology. I have worked on many iOS and Android games and one thing I have noticed is, it is very difficult to get people to notice your game/app if you are not one of the top 10, or even the top 50! Comixology will help you with that. And lastly – submitting with Comixology means you are not bound to an exclusive contract – you can still sell digital copies anywhere else, which is perfect for the small-press creator!

So, in my opinion, if you have your own comic and you’re looking for a digital release, try Comixology. It won’t cost you anything to set up, so you have absolutely nothing to lose – and maybe even something to gain. Just keep in mind that it’s definitely not a quick process, and sometimes you can feel like you’re working blind.

I’ll post another update in a few months, once I know whether I get my first cheque or not!
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Images and text in this post are copyright of Heather L Sheppard.

Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career

Time for another book review, one which I’ve been meaning to do for ages!

‘Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career’ is written by Charles Hively of the wonderful and highly regarded 3X3 magazine, 3X3 Annual and Creative Quarterly. Having worked extensively in advertising and design as an art director and creative director, in addition to having been an illustrator, Charles is ideally placed to pass on his extensive knowledge of the industry from both sides of the fence.

The book covers important areas such as treating illustration as a business, making a website work for you and maintaining visibility. The final section of the book consists of essential Do’s and Don’ts. Charles tells it straight throughout, no waffle, just good, solid advice from a man who really knows what he’s talking about.

This is, of course, a nicely laid out book, easy to read or flick through, and at 10 US dollars (8 GBP/9 EUR) buying it certainly won’t break the bank. Overall, a fantastic resource that is crammed full of common sense tips and vital information to help you succeed in your career. Definitely one to add to your book collection!

Publishing info –
Title: Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career
Author: Charles Hively
Publisher: 3X3 Magazine (2010)
ISBN: 978-0981940540

The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice

Written by Simon Stern and published by the Association of Illustrators (AOI), The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice is a great reference book for freelancers, agents and anyone else who needs to get their head around the minefield of business and legal issues relating to the UK illustration industry.

It contains lots of good, practical advice on everything from arranging contracts to copyright issues, bringing together a huge amount of important information in one place.

There is plenty of sound advice about pricing, negotiating with clients, licensing agreements, royalty payments and working with agents, plus a very handy ‘Terms of Trade’ contract that you can photocopy/scan and use yourself. We particularly liked the chapter on copyright which tells you what you need to know and where you (and other people) stand in nice simple terms.

As you would expect from an organisation like the AOI, The Illustrator’s Guide is nicely designed and contains fantastic artwork throughout. The book has been split into ‘Must read’, ‘Should read’ and ‘Read when needed’ sections, as well as providing a number of useful appendices. The chapters are very clearly laid out, making it easy to dip into the book as needed and Simon Stern has managed to write about a very difficult and dry subject in a way that makes it understandable and relevant. A must for any UK illustrator’s bookshelf!

You can buy a copy of the book here: The Illustrator’s Guide to Law and Business Practice (Association of Illustrators)

Publishing info –
Title: The Illustrator’s Guide to Law & Business Practice
Author: Simon Stern
Illustrator: Various
Publisher: The Association of Illustrators (2008)
ISBN: 978-0955807602