Illustration Process

For commissioned illustration work, i’m happy to work to a brief, or help create something suitable if there isn’t one. Likewise, if there isn’t a client-side Art Director to work with, I’m happy to take the reins in making sure the end-result is something everybody is happy with.

My usual process is pretty straight forward:

  • All pieces of work start out with me simply making notes: What comes to mind when I think about the subject matter? How do I want it to feel? What style is appropriate?
  • Then I start making thumbnail sketches. Sometimes I make pages and pages of them and they end up being crude, awful looking things which only really make sense to me.Sometimes, though, the idea can develop quite quickly and I end up with a sketch that is not too far away from the final thing.
  • If the work is for a client, I try to make the sketches a little more polished and share a few different ideas and options for consideration.
  • Once the final direction is agreed, I construct the final image. I say ‘construct’ as the final part of the process is almost always done digitally.

MY TOOLBOX – I don’t rely on one distinct illustration style, instead I guess I have more of a toolbox which I can draw from depending on what sort of mood I want any given final image to have.

I do seem to gravitate towards certain ways of conveying things, though, and as such I very much enjoy working with textures, halftones, and a ‘hand made’, sometimes vintage, aesthetic.

If you’re interested in hiring me and have a specific style in mind this is something we can discuss and nail down beforehand.

FORMATS – My preferred software for creating illustration work is Adobe Photoshop, outputting finished work in JPG or TIF formats, as required.

Where work is to be screenprinted I provide colour-separated artwork, either as a layered PSD file or as PDFs.

I can also design in Adobe Illustrator if a piece of work requires the flexibility of Vector format, however some art styles suit the format better than others.

USAGE RIGHTS – Artists and designers commonly retain ultimate copyright ownership of their work. When a piece of work is commissioned by a client, it comes with its own agreed Usage Rights outlining how (and often for how long) it may be used.

For instance, the Usage Rights granted with a t-shirt design might allow the artwork to be reproduced on t-shirts (and/or other agreed garments) and for promotional use for a period of 2 years after the date of commission.

In this example, the Usage Rights would not allow the client to also use the artwork on stickers or posters or other items to sell. Nor would it allow the artwork to be changed or adapted into new versions.

In this way, the potential usage of a piece of artwork is factored into it’s value and therefore included in the costing of the work.

Of course, a client may prefer to own the full rights to a piece of artwork, so that there are no limitations on how it might be used or adapted. No problem – this is typically known as a ‘Buyout’.

While this may seem restrictive to folks who have not commissioned art or design work before, it’s a pretty standard practice and, obviously, it’s in my interests to make sure you as a client are able to use the work in the best way you can.

If you have any questions at all about Usage Rights and how they might relate to your project, feel free to drop me a line and i’d be happy to discuss.

Army of Cats Creative Studio Illustration Process
Army of Cats Creative Studio Illustration Process
Army of Cats Creative Studio Leeds International Film Festival Poster
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