Illustration is the fine art of adaptation. My illustrative process varies with the direction and requirement of each commission. Variables are always part of the required result, and the process must integrate and balance aesthetic ideals with content, time, budget and format necessities. The objective is to satisfy as many of the requirements as possible, within their natural , sometimes frustrating limitations.
Given those variations and limiting factors, a communicative process is essential in balancing aesthetic values, and the very real, and mostly necessary realities of commercial enterprise. After initial discussion with the Client and/or Art Director, I prefer an exchange of loose thumbnail sketching to find a concept worthy of a proportional, and content accurate, final sketch. Agreeing on concept and content details at the thumbnail stage saves time and expense lost to premature reference, model, or research efforts . If a color palette is an issue, without simple verbal agreement, a color sketch or comp may be necessary if time restraints allow. The time spent on these early efforts is key to a successful painting. Putting paint and brush to work, is the “easy” part, as long as the variables have been addressed as thoroughly as possible in the beginning stages.
The ultimate goal is effective communication, whether in an editorial, advertising or institutional venue. If an illustration is going to be as successful as possible, communication must be an integral part of its preparation, as well as its reason to exist.