Getting Illustration Clients – review – The AOI


by Jo Davies and Derek Brazell

Published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts

ISBN PB: 978-1-3501-4698-3 eBook: 978-1-3501-4699-0 ePDF: 978-1-3501-4700-3

Review by Karl Anderson Foster

The pitch
A well-executed guide to the many questions that those new to the illustration profession will need answers to as part of their career. The knowledge that the book offers comes direct from commissioners, clients, agents, associations, and practitioners of illustration. After reading this book you will learn that professional illustration is ever evolving and the opportunities to develop your practice are everywhere.

The review
Getting Illustration Clients provides clear and succinct answers to this question. It achieves this by using large images and multiple spotlights on Art directors, Art Editors, Art buyers and Illustrators. The chapter summaries are a great way to refresh your memory and to help you to navigate each chapter. This book sets out its purpose from the outset, getting illustration clients. What do you need to understand before you can build upon your desire to become a commercial practitioner in the world of illustration? It’s divided into six chapters, plus at the end there is an activities section, a glossary, and useful links.

How Does Illustration Commissioning Work? (This chapter shows the who and how of the commissioning process and how to approach clients). 

What Do Clients Want? (What to put into your portfolio and what are the main areas where you can find clients).

How To Get Yourself Seen? (Promotion, contact lists, building your digital brand and other ways to be seen). 

Being Your Own Client (How to be an author of your own career and working within an ethical framework).

What Do I Need To Know About Getting The Brief? (Contracts, agreements, agents, and organization skills).

Illustrators On Getting Clients (We hear from some illustrators about their work experience).

Davies and Brazell have a pragmatic understanding of the subject matter that is easy to follow and encourages planning, recording, and entrepreneurship in the curation of one’s own career. There is a thorough understanding of the world of work for an image maker who works in the field of illustration. The book does not have a lecturing tone, which I believe will make it invaluable to students and early years practitioners alike. Personal reflective comments are found in each chapter that seek to encourage a constructive engagement with the business of illustration.

What I also find refreshing is that illustration is not seen as some golden age classic Industry. Instead, there is a vibrant indication that illustration will and must change and that technological exploration has always been at the heart of great illustration. The authors previous publication Becoming A Successful Illustrator would make a wonderful companion piece to this impressive and well researched volume. 

In conclusion

This is book is an important exploration of how to gain an understanding of how to work in the illustration arena in a manner that will bring a greater sense of belonging and business success. It is important to understand what is happening out in industry. There are rules, there is complexity, and experience will help with the management of this as a career in illustration progresses. This book can provide them with inspiration to take the work seriously as it encourages an enthusiastic and positive outlook. The contributors to Getting Illustration Clients have given their time to one end; Illustrators need to be bold and open to seeing what’s out there. It is important to sweat the small stuff after all.

Getting Illustration Clients by Jo Davies & Derek Brazell

Cover artwork by Tania Yakunova


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