I’ve been busy in recent weeks and have worked on lots of interesting projects! Including an editorial commission for London Drinks, which you can see on my lastest blog post, timely updates to my website, and also sending out marketing correspondence, that includes my email newsletter! (Which you can sign up to at the bottom of this webpage).
In today’s blog post you will discover my new editorial illustration commission for Mary Christie Foundation. You’ll encounter my sketches and development work involved in the project, the ideas behind my work, to the final cover illustration. I’ll go into more depth about how the project unfolded, which will hopefully give you ideas and inspiration for your next project.
If you’re unfamiliar with this blog, I publish regular content on everything from illustration, freelancing advice to my design work. If you’re new here, check out my previous blog posts on how to create a stunning graphic design portfolio, or how to improve your illustrations to maximise your website.
So how did this commission come about?
Mary Christie Foundation Magazine Cover Illustration
I was asked by Mary Christie Foundation to produce a direct, striking and eye-catching magazine cover. Mary Christie Foundation is an organisation that supports and gives attention to mental health awareness for young adults, teenagers and the next generation of thought leaders. It’s a brilliant publication which was an honour to create an illustration for.
This issue is all about student activism in the University environment and how it plays an important role in the state of mind and actions of these individuals.
The brief asked myself to create a direct editorial illustration that represents student activism in the educational environment. The publication’s subject required to include a strong character that leads from the front, students that represent the activism group, that all perfectly describe the issue’s subject matter.
After studying the brief in detail and understanding what the client desired, I got a firm understanding about what was required. During a clear and good conversation with the Art Director too, I began the process of sketching out possible compositions which could be used.
This is an important step in the process as it lets me see how the illustration is developing, and to send to the client for feedback – which is where an illustration can really develop.
Once the pencil sketch is approved by the client, the next process is colour sketches. Colour combinations really help sell the illustration and gives the client a good understanding of how is the final illustration is going to look. This is a crucial element of the development stage as it’s the last approval before the illustration is created.
This is my standard way of working which is effective and keeps every happy! (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!).
The Final Cover Illustration
The illustration below describes a young adult looking directly at the viewer, who is both determined, knowledgeable and direct. An active group feature behind to represent the activism as a group, in an University campus environment.
I’ve used a limited colour palette of orange, red, blue, yellow, and some use of brown and green for the trees. This is my friendly and warm illustration style, that hopefully encourages readers to the publication.
I wanted the magazine cover illustration to focus on the main character in the middle. This individual gives a powerful sense of the publication’s tone and subject.
I’ve used my usual painting mediums of gouache, watercolour and digital to form this editorial illustration, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! To be given another magazine cover to illustrate, which I’ve had the opportunity to illustrate for on a few occasions, was a complete joy! I love this type of commission and I’m always on the look out for more! This project was a lot of fun to be involved in.
What I Learn From This Project To Help You!
Like any project I’m involved in, there’s always new things to learn and develop. It’s this ongoing exploration and acceptance of learning that can turn myself from an average illustrator to a world-class illustrator (well, that’s the hope and goal anyway).
So what are my top things that I learnt from this project?
– Never stop learning and keep experimenting
I’ve definitely made the mistake in the past of not experimenting and sitting on my laurels, but what a mistake! The only way to improve is with these two attributes.
This project taught me how important is colour in an illustration. After I sent the first final illustration to the client, it looked rather ‘dark’ and a almost night-scene, something which I didn’t intend on. I intended on a bright and colourful sky, but it didn’t look this way. After editing the piece digitally this was corrected, but it showed me just how important colour and communication work together.
If you’re not confident with colour, give yourself more time when producing your colour sketches. If the colour sketch is signed-off by the client, it’s important that you stick to it when producing the final illustration – as it can’t go wrong if you do!
– The Development Stage is Crucial To Success
Every part of an illustration project is important, from creating the final illustration and absolutely nailing it, but an illustration’s development is the most crucial stage in my eyes.
This is where an illustration is born, and if you’re not careful an illustration project can also fall apart. I’ve had a previous occasion where the client just simply didn’t like the rough development sketches I was sending them. The problem here was that my illustration style didn’t suit the brief (which didn’t help), but it’s crucial that you place emphasis on your development work.
Experiment with your compositions with thumbnail sketches, your ideas and do some more mind-mapping if you think it will help the illustration. Read the brief back to front and know the brief better than the client!
– Quickly Understand How A New Client Likes To Work
When you’re experienced in the freelance illustration game, you can see that every client has a different working style. Some like phone calls, some like solely email, and some like a mixture of elements (from email, phone, meeting up – you name it!).
For an illustration commission (or any creative project to work), you need to be on the same wave-length. It’s your job as an illustrator to go out of your way to make sure they are as happy as possible. If that means a late night Skype session or emailing them regularly to ensure the project is going well, then do it!
Do whatever you can to gain trust, understanding and suit how the client likes to work. This is especially important for new clients. You will then be recommended by your client’s to others, and then the power of word-of-mouth really kicks in. Then you’ll have a better chance of more illustration commissions in the future – result!
Discover More Content!
I hope you’ve enjoy this illustration and the development of the project. Do let me know what you think of the illustration in the comment section below, I’ll love to hear from you! I love this type of illustration commission, so if you want a magazine cover illustrating, I’m your man!
If you’re new to this blog or website, take a look at my previous work for Londonist Drinks or some of my illustrated portraits. I have a portfolio bursting with creativity, ideas and experience of working with top clients, so if you have a creative project in mind, give me an email or message on my Contact page.
If you’re looking at taking a look at my previous blog post’s, I have everything from how to maximise your use of colour to 3 tips to champion self-belief as a freelancer. I’m committed to create a creative blog which is bursting full of consistent content.
I want it to be your number 1 place to help you succeed and become a better artist, illustrator to freelancer. Come along on the journey and see what you can learn and develop!
Many thanks for listening and visiting my news page today. You can follow what I’m up to on my Twitter, Facebook or Google + pages, I’ll really appreciate it if you do, and don’t be afraid to say hi to me! Many thanks again, and have a great day!