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    A Paizo Publishing cover by illustrator Lucas Graciano, who's also worked for Blizzard and Wizards of the Coast

    5 things art directors hate the most

    If you want to break into any art field – read on, and take heed! Doing the following will quickly send busy art directors into a rage…

    Dave Seeley is a book cover illustrator veteran, and features in an 8-page ImagineFX feature on breaking into the industry © SFBC

    Dave Seeley is a book cover illustrator veteran, and features in an 8-page ImagineFX feature on breaking into the industry © SFBC

    01. No research

    Don’t send your portfolio to a company unless you know what it does and that your work is relevant to it. For instance, Paizo’s style is high fantasy.

    “Getting anime, editorial or children’s book illustrations immediately tells me that this was a mass emailing,” says Paizo’s managing art director Sarah Robinson.

    02. Poorly designed websites

    What’s the point of having a slick-looking website if your contact details are hard to find or, worse still, missing altogether? Make sure your site is easy to navigate and up to date.

    “It’s so frustrating to see someone’s great portfolio at a convention, or their latest pieces fly by on Facebook, only to look them up afterwards and see work that’s six to 12 months’ old. You want your website to seal the deal,” says Irene Gallo, art director at Tor Books.

     5-things-art-directors-most-hate

    A Paizo Publishing cover by illustrator Lucas Graciano, who’s also worked for Blizzard and Wizards of the Coast

    03. False representation

    Art directors tend to hate it when the work you hand in isn’t the type of work they’ve seen in your portfolio. They’ve most likely hired you because they’ve seen that you do particular things well – and that style or quirk of yours is what they’re after.

    If you want to try something wild, new and different for an assignment, discuss it with the art director first. Surprise art directors by being great, not by being surprising.

    04. Resistance to change

    There are lots of people involved in the publication of a book and their opinions are all valid – from sales to marketing, from the author to the publisher. Amends will happen on your covers.

    “I never want to work with an artist who I think will become overly defensive about their first sketches and ideas. We should be working together to create a good piece of advertising.

    “We all love it when that’s elevated to the level of art, but we always need to be in service of the book first of all,” says Irene.

    05. No communication

    You shouldn’t need to talk to your art director every single day, but if you have a problem with anything to do with the project, let them know and discuss it. There might be a simple solution.

    Equally, if your art director has a question, respond to it promptly – if you’re off the grid when they need you, you’ll drop off their list of preferred artists pretty quickly.

    Sources

    About Amir Hamzeh

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