20 Pieces of Advice from 20 Art Directors

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In preparation for their upcoming online workshop Building a Freelance Illustration Business, Illustrators Salli Swindell and Nate Padavick followed up their article 20 Pieces of Advice from 20 Illustrators by asking art directors for a brief, top-of-mind response to the following question:

“Why would you hire a freelance illustrator a second time?”

Art Directors are a very busy bunch and we thank them all for their time and thoughtfulness.Read on for their insightful responses. Also be sure to check out Salli and Nate’s educational and inspiring online workshop: Building a Freelance Illustration Business here.

 

HANNAH RAHILL

VP Associate Publisher, Ten Speed Press

“I would hire a freelance illustrator for a second time if they over delivered! Skill, flexibility, patience, and collaboration are what I value most.”

 

KATHY MCCONAUGHY

VP Creative Development , American Greetings

“I would hire someone again based on the quality of work and how hard I had to work to get it.”

 

JULIE GOH

Art Director, Going Places, Malaysian Airlines In-Flight Magazine

“I would hire a freelance illustrator for a second time if he/she was someone who is conscientious and delivered his/her work on time. It’s very likely that he/she would have already been producing the kind of work I like as otherwise I would not have hired him/her in the first place.”

 

CECI BUTLER

Art Director, Design House Greetings

“Well I am assuming that I like their style and art or I would of not have hired them the first time. I will hire them again and again if – I find the artist easy to work with – fun, pleasant, open to feedback. They have to be willing to tweak their designs to fit our needs and art direction. I know that many artists are concerned about their look and their brand but we need to ensure that our product will sell and if that means we need to alter the image we need to have artists who are willing to work with us.

If they provided the above and get their work in on time and in a professional format I would hire them again.”

 

LYNNE SHLONSKY

Senior Art Director New Product Concepts, American Greetings

“Awesome delivery of the goal ON TIME.”

 

CAITLIN WILSON

Associate Product Manager, Mary & Martha

“There are 4 things I look for in every freelance illustrator we work with:

~The illustrator’s raw talent
~Their ability to take a design concept and creatively flush it out
~Effective collaboration and communication with director ~Timeliness.”

 

JEREMY BLACK

Managing Partner, Jasper + Black

“We work with design talent globally and two attributes set apart those we work with again: project management and communication:

Project Management: It’s critical that our collaborators understand the importance of managing against deadlines. There is nothing more frustrating or disappointing than receiving questions about the project a day before it is due. We need our collaborators to set aside time to think, develop, revise, and finalize. Decline a project if you don’t have the time, I’ll respect you more for it.

Communication: From confirming the receipt of a creative brief, providing a timeline and budget, to discussing the creative brief in further detail, communication is critical. Know when the phone is better than email to communicate, and vice versa. If you have specific questions or want to provide an update, use bulleted emails … it helps even the poorest of writers to organize their thoughts.”

 

FOREST EVASHEVSKI

Art Director, Wall Street Journal

“I usually hire an illustrator a second time if they are easy to work with and timely.”

 

TOM VITUJ

Senior Director of Creative, Design Design, Inc.

“I would hire an illustrator a second time if:
~Their designs were current and on trend with what I was looking for.
~They were flexible and easy to work with.
~Their art files were very well organized and complete. ~If I needed additional art to complete a product…such as art for a gusset on a paper gift bag or a border on paper tableware, and they were happy to oblige.
~They used our contract and made few or no revisions to it.

 

COLLETTE KULAK

Senior Creative Planner, Hallmark

“My answer would be that they meet or exceed my main goal of the project (assuming it’s a visual one). They deliver what I’m looking for and hopefully more…over and above would guarantee a second time with them.

Note – deadline also plays into it of course, a fast worker is a dream but the end goal is to get the visual I need. ”

 

MARY ANN HALL

Editorial Director, Quarry Books and Rockport Publishers

“When you get the work, and you just say YES. This nails it. This is finished, perfect, thought-out, ready to sail. Or, if you want a little tweaking, they are flexible and happy to accommodate, explore different options, and just keep trying things until everyone feels it’s right. Either scenario leaves me wanting to work with someone again.”

 

PATTY FLAUTO

Color & Design Consultant

“Low maintenance – they need to prove themselves before asking for this, that and the other.”

 

KRISTEN HEWITT

Design Director, Chronicle Books

“The main thing I would consider before hiring a freelancer for a second time, apart from the quality of their work, would be the experience that I had working with them the first time. Was it a good work experience? Were they pleasant to work with? Were they good communicators (i.e., did they ever go M.I.A. for a period of time and/or never email me back—more people than you would think do this!)? Were they (relatively) on time with their deliveries? These are all questions I would ask myself and the answers would factor into my decision to work with a freelance illustrator again.”

 

LORI PEDRICK

Art Director, Yankee Magazine

“My answer would really be related to collaboration. Of course skill and ingenuity is key but one of the most important things for me when working with freelancers is the ability to collaborate and offer resourceful solutions to problem solving and a collaborative spirit knowing that with editorial there is a team-like atmosphere and remembering that they are working for a client and while they are being hired for their aesthetic and style, there needs to be some level of flexibility.
As a side note, I always tell any creative who asks about how to pitch to a client, you really need to know their brand and their following or their brand identity and who their core readership is. I wouldn’t propose your work unless you really know that brand and feel that your work is suitable. That is the best way to get noticed, show the client how your vision fits into their brand.”

 

MADGE BAIRD

Managing Editor, Gibbs Smith

“I would hire an illustrator for the second time because the first time they were able to creatively respond and adapt to art direction for the first project.”

 

ROGER FRANK

Partner/Creative Director, Little Jacket

“If the working partnership was as remarkable as the work product, then I’d gladly hire a freelance illustrator a second time.”

 

ELIZABETH STUMBO

Art Director, Meredith Corporation

“I would gladly hire an illustrator a second time who has proven that they can be flexible and are not only willing, but happy to make changes to their artwork to better align with editorial content and opinion.”

 

DAWN EIDEN

Studio Director, CSS Industries

“I would hire a freelance illustrator the second time around if they met the deadline, provided organized, user friendly files, understood the product and end user and checked in before the assignment was due for feedback.”

 

SALLY FARR

Art Director, Telegraph Media Group

“If I had had a good experience working with an illustrator before, I will use them again. It’s a given that I like their work for the appropriate job. Keeping to deadlines is key, and where clients are involved, it’s even more important, as with those jobs, we have to take into account various other people and deadlines too.”

 

SALLI S. SWINDELL

Co-founder of They Draw & Cook, Studio SSS

“I would hire an illustrator again and again if I could sense a bit of their personality and joy in the art. Otherwise it feels like assembly line imagery. I like to think the artist enjoyed the project.”

Thanks to Salli Swindell and all the Art Directors who shared their thoughts. Be sure to check out Salli and Nate’s upcoming 3-Day online workshop: Building a Freelance Illustration Business.

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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 07/27/15 under business
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