Rather than feeling limited by a client's idea, I find that the challenge of expressing precisely his/her idea in my own aesthetical terms forces me to think harder, to search deeper and ultimately to create a much stronger and interesting image than if I had been given total freedom of style, format and subject-matter. I try to illustrate a literary piece between the lines, and I feel that an illustration must reflect at once the client's idea and my identity. First and foremost comes the need of the client, then my understanding of such a need and the elaboration of a concept. This is the most taxing and important phase of the work, often the one that will require most time. A thorough sketch (or sketches) will allow me to explain the concept to the client and structure the image (composition, balance, etc.) until his/her unequivocal satisfaction. The final painting, although still an emotional and creative task, will rely at least as much on technique and my ability to translate our early discourse and sketches into a factual image, as it does on pure imagination. In my case, it is usually a quicker stage, as all but a few challenges have already been resolved.