Working in the picture book industry is a dream come true for many of us but unless you treat your business as a business, you may start losing out on future projects.
There are many lists out there for what you should do to win the favor of Art Directors but not enough of them are riddled with sarcasm. Very few lists need a wink qualifier after each bullet. So here’s my list, in no particular order, of ways to make Art Directors run in the other direction. Some of these might even make an art director quit her job and move to another country and sell fruit by the side of the road. If you're not into sarcasm, simply invert this list, fold it diagonally four times and then toss out a window.
How to Make an Art Director Run Away
- Take your time replying to emails.
- Skip proofreading your emails- it only wastes precious drawing time.
- When you’re on the phone with an art director, consider clipping your toenails.
- Go see that movie. Deadlines are suggestions.
- If you forget to size your illustration properly, the client can fix it in Photoshop.
- Avoid getting input from fellow creatives; they’ll just tell you to change stuff.
- Bored with the project? Annoyed with the AD? Talk about it on social media (and do it using all capital letters).
- Final art at 72 dpi. Yup.
- The sky is blue. Always.
- Inconsistencies with recurring characters from one illustration to the next add charm to any project.
- During business hours always answer your phone: "Thank you for calling Movie Phone." It's hysterical.
- Work in progress updates are not your responsibility. Wait until your AD messages you after you miss a deadline.
- There’s no need to follow up once the final art is in the hands of your AD.
- Not sure about something? Guess.
So, you get the point. Common sense rules. Does it drive you crazy when a cashier doesn’t smile or say “thank you”? Then be friendly when speaking on the phone with YOUR clients and potential clients.
A good attitude, an openness to collaborate, and your best work will serve you and your career well. Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to have an email signature that includes your phone number. And consistent branding on your website, promotions and invoices. (Not ALL my lists have to be sarcastic!)
Ed Shems | edfredned illustration & design
Ed Shems is an illustrator of books for kids who also creates animations for clients, editorials for magazines, pictures for the education market and pancakes for his kids.