Illustration Horror Stories


  • SVS OG

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    Art by Laura Balmaceda

    Hi Everyone,

    Our newest episode just dropped: "Illustration Horror Stories."

    Feel free to share any personal illustration horror stories that you have had and what you learned from those experiences!

    Just in time for Halloween! We sent out a call for illustration horror stories and got some good ones. We share some of those, along with personal stories, and share lots of advice on how to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes when working with clients.

    Click here to listen to the episode and to see episode links.

    Hope you all have a great weekend!


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    @Jake-Parker That was such a great episode! I expected to laugh, which I did, but came out with actual solutions to handle each situation if it ever happens to me. Great information!



  • Wow this was a really insightful episode. Thanks for doing this. I learned a few things I didnt even think about before.



  • @Jake-Parker, loved this episode! So glad you guys decided not to mention SVS this time!



  • @Jake-Parker Great episode! Very curious to hear what happened with Jake and this mystery client.

    Also, great work Laura Balmaceda!



  • Great episode. I have been guilty of taking on work when I don't have the time, which led to many all-nighters, getting sick, and the work not being as good as it could have been.... Also guilty of underestimating how much time something would take. I've turned down many jobs this year, and have started to overestimate the time, because it's better to be early rather than late.



  • @Justin-Moss, Maybe we should take a cue from Lee & ask about it after each podcast. 😃



  • @Miriam Great Idea! Hopefully, we will find out soon.



  • Great episode! Reminded me of my own 'horror story'... which was totally my fault. Years ago I was working a piece for an organization that worked in direct contact with international ambassadors to a certain country - (which shall not be named). I was given the art direction to create an image that incorporated the outlined shape of the country into the artwork. It was a horrid idea. And I said as much when I emailed in the artwork to my contact and said, "Well, it doesn't work because that country looks just like a floating piece of turd in a toilet!" (I was referring to the shape and tone of the design, which they also wanted - brown). It looked really bad. But, rather than say anything or give further instruction, my art director just hit the FORWARD button. Yes. My comment went straight to that country's AMBASSADOR. They were super offended, and I had to write a formal apology letter, and bow and scrape and plead... it was so embarrassing. Fortunately they forgave me and allowed me to finish the project because they liked what I developed, however, now I am MUCH more judicious in my comments...you just never know!



  • @jasondmcintosh Omg, that's awful,🤦🏾 but makes for a fantastic story. 😅



  • @jasondmcintosh That sounds horrible!

    One of my first commercial clients was a bit of a horror story for me, though not quite as bad as that! A local council contacted me wanting a poster for a children's art festival. Very short deadline. We agreed a (very cheap!) fee and I started. I sent them my roughs and they said they liked my ideas, except now the festival is space themed instead of art themed so I need to add in rockets and planets etc etc. They completely changed the project and obviously had not planned anything at all. Then I sent colour studies. "Great but can you do work like this?" And sent me examples of illustrations which were more of a mature graphic style (bold colours and no linework) and not at all like my portfolio which is very 'cute'. I also struggled to get communication back from them quick enough to complete to such a short deadline. There were so many changes asked of the finished artwork, I produced something I suspect neither of us were happy with. I wouldn't have agreed to it if I had have known the kind of work they actually wanted.

    Months later they contacted me (shortly before the festival and after the poster had been published in their brochure for months) and said "We have changed the dates can you change them on the poster". I would have done this for free if it were a small change, but they'd originally asked for the poster in about ten different formats and huge file sizes, it would have taken me at least an hour. They also had (simplified) PSD files (which I gave over begrudgingly as they required them in the contract) so they could have done this themselves however I suspect they didn't know how. I asked for a small fee of £30. Never heard from them again 😆


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