-by Eric Fortune

Often we see works of art that leave us inspired with dribbles of saliva flowing down the sides of our mouths. Sometimes that’s just an excuse for random dribbles of saliva that flow down our mouths for no reason. What we’re experiencing is the end result of long hours of work without the frustration, dookie sketches, obscure chicken scratches, that huge phase(aka the ugly phase)prior to finish, and artist’s block etc.

Not every job that lands in our email is going to have the same potential for inspiration, cool imagery, or creative freedom. However, it’s our job as illustrators to take these challenges and consistently create engaging, quality imagery from the given narratives. This is something that I and I would suppose everyone else has dealt with at some point. Depending on many various factors there’s an ebb and flow and compromise that sometimes occur. For example, how strict are the parameters of the job? How much creative freedom are you given? Sometimes the client is set on a concept that doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room and the job becomes more of a technical exercise. If the opportunity for concept isn’t available then make the best technical piece that you can. Every once in a blue moon there’s a flash of inspiration that happens with little effort. The art director loves your idea and it turns into a killer piece of art. Wham and Bam. I’ll take more of these please. However it works out we should all have certain standards for the art we create.

Here are some sketches I’ve been struggling with. Sometimes I get stuck on predictable ideas and compositions that I just have to grind through before something more inspiring comes to mind. Sometimes it takes time for a good idea to strike. With looming deadlines that extra time may be a luxury. These are all factors that we illustrators work to refine and become more efficient at. Something that I still work on.

There is definitely a different dynamic when working on a personal piece of art where time and freedom are more available. I personally feel I create much better work with a certain amount of artistic autonomy and have the time to see the painting through. Whether or not such an image would sell more books or magazines is up for debate. Hopefully, clients are contacting you because they like what you do. Hopefully, the work you are representing yourself with are works that you yourself like and enjoy working on.