Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Identifying Illustration

When searching for illustration there are so many items to consider. Do you have a specific style in mind or a medium or is it a topic?

Styles are usually broken up into the several categories (I have provided some illustrator links as an example for some of the categories - these are not preferential but merely a sample to identify the style):

3D - 3D is an illusion of depth, these illustrations are always digitally composed.
Kim and James are a good example of the cartoon-ish side of 3D, think of it as a printed animation. 3D illustration is also represented in many technical styles as well.

Abstract - Most people are familiar with some form of abstract art whether you took art history or not. Master examples are Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky to name just two. Abstract art is undefined - meaning it's a free form of shapes, colors and expression. Abstract art doesn't have to define a whole object or depict something in it's natural form.

Collage / Cut paper - It's essentially an assemblage of images and sometimes mediums to form the actual art piece. A great example is Amy Guip, who is a photographer and an illustrator combining both mediums into a what some refer to as a hybrid... others a collage. A couple of examples of a strictly illustrator collage artist are Sally Vitsky and Amy Devoogd (who does use Illustrator but still uses her x-acto knife and liquitex).

Technical / Instructional - a pretty self explanatory style. This style usually applies to an illustration that is mapping out specific knowledge that is to be understood by the viewer and explained to the viewer like maps, specific product designs, medical, and more. Baker Vail at Small World Maps and Beau Daniels are good examples to take a look at for this style.

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Design and Illustration

Design and Illustration seem to go hand in hand. It's more than just drawing (although drawing in free form is an art in itself) but it's typography, it's logo design, it's environmental, industrial, packaging, product and more design. Illustration plays a huge role in all these aspects whether it's a spec phase or a completion phase.

Illustrators and designers work together to problem solve and conceptualize. The illustrator and designer can be the same person or they can be a team collaborating.

With illustration and design it can serve as an icon... e.g. apple, nike, coca-cola, starbucks. A successful illustration/design can leave a mental imprint and can stand on it's own.

Design and illustration play a huge role in our world and things we pass by and objects we observe everyday that affect our living.

Check out AIGA's design archives (design, illustration and photography all at work):
or head over to the Graphic Artists Guild (they are the producers of the Directory of Illustration that ends up in the hands of thousands of art buyers and photo editors).

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Use of Illustration

Just like photography, illustration is equally as important in advertising... yet somehow it does get overshadowed by photography.

There are a ton of different genres of illustration and more than photography there are different mediums (watercolor, pen and ink, oil, etc). I think sometimes the lack of illustration use can sometimes be attributed to the overuse of stock photography to illustrate comps. Comp artists and stock art is not used that much anymore in design and ads and even in the classroom.

I always thought that it seemed much easier to bring in an illustrator to convey the idea that's in the art director's head rather than spending days looking through stock photography to find an exact example (or even better three stock shots and spend time composing them in Photoshop).

In advertising the term illustration is used as a commercial term but I don't think it always correctly represents the group of artists. Sometimes clients gets nervous hearing illustration and think cartoonish or line drawings. Illustration is so much more than this. Were Cezanne, Miro, and Monet illustrators in their day? It only takes a little searching and looking through websites and portfolios to become inspired for the next project.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photo Consultation

PDN posted online yesterday a video presentation [here] of a consultation between photographer Jamie Kripke and consultant Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua, owner of Burns Auto Parts Consultants. In the videos Leslie and Jamie discuss key points to his portfolio, his website and his work in general.

I agree with Leslie that in portfolios there has to be a strong opening image and a strong ending, because if anything those are the two images that will be viewed the most by creatives in the portfolio.

Also she's right...plastic sleeves suck. Most portfolios still have them and we deal with it. The fluorescent lighting in offices is one of the main reasons plastic sleeves are bad. The other is people handling the pages everyday, there are fingerprints, creases, scuffs, and dirt that get left behind on the pages which makes viewing the images a tad difficult.

The other major agreement I have is keep the continuity of your brand succinct. Your website, portfolio, and promo pieces should all tie in together. A creative or art buyer never has to guess or be unsure of whose work it is and why it doesn't sync together.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


When searching for photographers or illustrators for a project the first thing I do is go searching through websites to see what work is appropriate for the project at hand before I call in books.

The past few days I've gone through only half of the websites in my arsenal... this is my first step in researching, the next step is combing through promos, PDN, Creativity, Communication Arts and other sources. Since I'm looking through so much and am also working on a timeline I can't go through the entire website but skim over it.

Here's the thing if the site takes to long to load or I can't get to the images I need fast enough, I bypass it and move on to the next name. It may seem like I'm missing out or cutting someone short but when I'm going through 100 or more websites in a few days I need to work quickly and methodically.

I thought I'd share a couple of the websites I really like and the reasons why they work for me when searching. (Please note: these are not in any order of preference and the reasoning is just my personal preference.)

Monaco Reps

Their website is so easy to use. I scroll over the artists' names and get a preview of their work. This feature is great because if I'm looking for a product shooter I'm going to bypass names that show portrait photography. The other feature that I think is incredibly helpful on this site is that once you click on a desired artist name you are directed to their artist detail page which lays out all their galleries, biography, a link to their website and current news. Succinct, simple, and so easy to use.

Francesco Lagnese

His website is so clean, not a ton of links to dig through to get to desired imagery or contact information. I like the scrollbar feature on his site because I can control the speed at which I look through the imagery. I also like how he incorporates tearsheets and the use of the images in their commissioned layout. The main focus of his site is his imagery which is what I'm looking for.

Daniela Wagner Photographers

Their website has a lot of flash animation/java script but it works brilliantly for them. I can scroll over the photographer's name and see what genre of photography is his/her specialty. Once I choose the photographer I am interested in perusing more, the imagery shows up in the main frame of the site. I can choose from the menu to look at publication work, portfolio, the artist's website, etc. A main image appears but to the right of it is one of my favorite features - the image previews. So I don't necessarily have to view each image larger but I can peruse through the thumbnails.

These are only a couple of sites I like and that make my job a bit easier. I have a ton of others but prefer not to make this a ginormously long post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Brand Essence

We always hear about clients and agencies defining their brand strategies and identifying their brand essence. Other than being great buzz words they really apply to each one of us.

It's about identifying our key attributes and the personality of ourselves (the brand). What is the desired brand experience we want to express to our clients, employers, co-workers, etc.? Just like with a client's advertising and marketing, these ideas can drive the tone of our communications.

It's about breaking through the pack to make yourself stand out. What characteristics make you a different experience than another photographer/illustrator (or in my case art buyer)? It goes further than just skills and it's more about how one perceives themselves as a whole and what they stand for.

so what's your brand essence and does it stand out in your communications?

Monday, July 21, 2008


Greg Betza of Studio 1482 sent a question my way a little bit ago and I thought it'd be great to address here, especially since we don't get to chat too much about illustration.
He wrote:
"any advice on how to approach art buyers who are typically approached by 'style-centric' illustrators?"

Here's the thing, Greg has a portfolio full of work that spans from advertising and editorial to book jackets and storyboards. However in taking a look through Greg's work, I thought that while there were different mediums and applications of his artwork, there was a flow that tied them all together.

I always recommend doing your homework before you embark on marketing. Knowing your audience and pitching yourself and your talent correctly is key to landing a potential job. Check out the company's website and find out who the clients are. Do these clients use illustration in their ad campaigns and if so how are they used? If not, what would the added value of illustration be?

Approach the art buyers with your best work, send an email promo with a great example and brief paragraph of your recent project and direct them to your website. Send a snail mail promo with a beautiful printed piece and if you're ambitious write a note on it. Or call up an art buyer who you would love to work with or who has clients that you are passionate about working with and schedule a portfolio review. (I always say face to face meetings are the best... get a feel for the agency, the art buyer, and potential work).

If you have different bodies of work like Greg does and not a particular set in stone genre that represents your creative use it to your advantage. Approach the art buyer with your work and express the fact that you are versatile... as long as you have great examples of these different pieces. If you go in representing that you can do so many different genres but are mediocre in some areas and clearly strong in others, it will work against you.

With illustration, art buyers do tend to search out specific styles for the project at hand, especially since there are so many genres. Best advice I can give is to stay on the radar, send a new promo piece every three months, follow up with maybe 2-3 check in calls a year (say hello and set up a meeting once a year with new work if you can). The key is to not border on annoying and stay on the fine line of promotion and staying in good graces. Over-promotion can cause aggravation so find what works best for you and your target audience.

Best of luck!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Terms + Conditions

I caught this article [here] over on Richard Wong's blog, Field Report: The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography about Facebook, MySpace and your rights. The terms and conditions in regards to creative content has been revised on both sites.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I decided to check out the site after I saw a tweet from APE. MagCloud is an online publishing company that allows the user to generate their own material and create their own magazine. The user designs the piece and uploads the pdf while MagCloud takes care of the printing, shipping, subscription management, etc.

Jonathan Saunders is the first photographer to create an issue [here], which looks like it will be a quarterly thing.

Artist Chat

Artist rep, Jessica Oldham, had an ingenious idea to feature on her blog. Artist chat [here] with Emiliano Granado (you may remember him from PDN's 30). She turned the camera and the focus on him to get an insight into the artist's head.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Interesting article [here] from B&H Photo about incorporating GPS metadata into your photographs. Of course it requires more hardware and accessories (as if you probably don't have enough already).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 4th photos

Photos were sent in from Raymond Adams, a interior and architecture photographer from New York. He has been shooting a personal project of unusual American flags. These images were all shot with his iPhone, check out his site for his other iPhone projects at

Friday, July 11, 2008

July 4th photos + Artist Friday

Sean Murphy sent in a plethora of photos for submission and he is also this week's artist in the spotlight. His style is light and fun in a slick and cool way. His photos are a peek into Americana life, reflecting the culture and way of life of his subjects. He specializes in lifestyle, portraits and music (which includes the new Weezer album - one of my favs). Clients on his roster include AOL, Febreze, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Playstation, Miller Lite and many...many more.

Sean is located in California and represented by Michael Ash Partners.
Check out his work at

Apple iPhone 3G

The new Apple iPhone 3G is officially on the market as of 8 am this morning.
See what AdWeek had to say about the marketing [here].

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getty + Flickr

The news flurry going around is Getty offering licenses for Flickr images.

PDN story here.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer article here.
Rachel Hulin's, Shoot! The Blog, report here.
A Photo Editor's blog post here.

I myself am very curious to see which images and photographers (novice, amateur, professional?) are chosen. Getty already owns, a micro stock site which offers images for mere dollars. What will the Flickr images fetch?

July 4th photos

Lucas Cichon sent this along from a previous series he worked on. He had this to say "this is an old photograph I took in late 2001, after 9/11. It is of the old New York main post office. I was working on doing a series of lone people in busy areas, all at night. Probably because I know when it was taken, this picture has a lot of emotion for me."

Check out his work at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 4th photos

Jacob Pritchard spent the 4th in rainy Brooklyn, which didn't stop anyone from celebrating or taking photos. Jacob is a freelance photographer in New York with a background in journalism. He has some intense portrait shots in his portfolio. Check him out at

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

US economy

AdWeek Nightly News is reporting larger agencies cutting US and North American ad growth [here] in addition, the slowing economy is cutting into online ad growth [here].

We just have to work even harder at our jobs and our creative and to think outside the box.

July 4th photos

I'll be posting a week of art for July 4th submissions this week with some nuggets of information here and there. If you have any photos or illustrations send them my way by this Thursday.

Robert Kneschke, a German stock photographer, took these shots on July 2nd near the river Rhein in Cologne, Germany for a free stock production.
His site is in German but you can see his portfolio and purchase the stock images at

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I'm leaving for a July 4th holiday and won't be posting until Tuesday.
Don't forget to send in some photos/illustrations [see here].

Have a great 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The first 10 minutes

I saw this article [here] linked on the Wired and Hired blog.

I thought it was very interesting for myself (a current job-seeker) but also for the appointment seekers looking to get just 10 minutes with an agency or magazine.

Sharing Information

A fellow art buyer posted the following question on a forum that I thought I would share here. How do you feel about reps asking "Who else is bidding the job? And what other photographers are we bidding against?"

There were differing opinions. Some felt it was fine to share and be honest, others felt it was better to keep it to themselves until the job is awarded (thinking more photographers and reps will be more competitive in their bidding).

Another comment was that "it should be an even field, they should be estimating/bidding based on the project, not who they are up against."

The reason why some art buyers will not share the information is because they are looking for a true competitive bid. Some feel that photographers might pull out of the bid process if they feel they have a disadvantage with people they are bidding against(which has and will happen). Another buyer mentioned "not sharing this information at the beginning of the process can help assure that production budgets are not being compromised or shared between competitive photographers/reps before a final award decision."

Here's the deal... Most art buyers will be honest with you in the bidding process because while we are working for the agency and ultimately the client we are also an advocate for the photographer. Whether or not the art buyer is comfortable sharing the competitors information is a side note. We'll give you the budget up front if we know we have a number that we have to hit. Otherwise it's a normal bidding and negotiating process. What we normally won't share is where the numbers are coming in between the competing bidders.

As for my opinion, I don't see any harm in sharing the information of who is also bidding on the job as long as the parties are responsible with that information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Le Book Conections

Le Book has posted a little information about their recent Connections event in New York City. Here you can find a list of the exhibitors with accompanying photos and quotes. It was quite the beneficial event with a reported 3,000 creatives in attendance.


I'd like to congratulate Heather Morton on her blog post (a tough doozy but necessary based on the information). It's an unfortunate circumstance but the photographer featured in her week seventeen lounge has been pulled. She gives the reasons why [here] and has some other info to avoid this ugly little "p" word.