5 characteristics of illustrators that publishers and designers want to ask them to work with

5 characteristics of illustrators that publishers and designers want to ask them to work with

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I’ve been working for over 15 years on a variety of magazines and books, and as a designer, I’ve worked with a wide range of editorial staff.

In this article, I’d like to list the characteristics of illustrators that make you want to ask them for work from a designer’s point of view, based on my experience.

If you are looking for a stable illustration job, I believe working for a magazine is the right choice, especially monthly and bi-monthly magazines.

I hope this article is helpful to anyone who is thinking “I want to work for a magazine or book as an illustrator”.

5 characteristics of illustrators that publishers and designers want to ask them to work with

出版社やデザイナーがつい仕事を頼みたくなるイラストレーターの5つの特徴

Here are five characteristics of illustrators that I think publishers and designers want to work with.

  1. Work fast and have a consistent touch
  2. Draw easy-to-use illustrations based on the content and anticipation of the usage
  3. Good at drawing a picture of an abstract matter
  4. Be able to draw quality illustration without people and animals in it
  5. Give us a draft answers any request

Work fast and have a consistent touch

仕事が早くてタッチが安定している方

Even if the delivery time is short, an illustrator who can work quickly and has a consistent touch of art will be highly valued.

When magazine and book work takes longer to edit and shoot, there’s not a lot of time given to illustrators and designers. Rather, it’s pretty tight most of the time.

No matter how tight the schedule is, if you draw a rough draft quickly, the designer will be able to proceed with the layout based on it.

It’s much easier to layout your illustrations because designers can see the composition of your illustrations.

If designers can’t even get a rough draft in time, they have to layout with only the ratio of the width and height.

However, this doesn’t allow designers to make the most of your illustrations. Designers can’t help it when they really don’t have time.

But if you are a fast worker, there is a better chance that your illustrations will be used in a good way, which means that your work will look better.

There are also times when a designer has to work with an illustrator for the first time but the designer needs to layout right before the deadline with no draft.

In such cases, he/she refers to the most recent issue in which the illustrator’s work appeared.

If the touch of the illustration is not stable, the image of the finished illustration may be different from the latest touch, which means that the design and the illustration will be mismatched.

A stable touch makes it easier for editors, designers, and illustrators to visualize the finish of the illustration, reducing the number of revisions to the illustration and making it easier to work.

Draw easy-to-use illustrations based on the content and anticipation of the usage

企画の趣旨に沿いつつ、使われ方を予測した上で使いやすいイラストを描いてくださる方

We rely on illustrators who understand the purpose of the pages and can draw illustrations that illustrate how it will be used.

For example, if you want to draw an illustration for the front page of a special feature that is more than 10 pages long, you can express an illustration like below to expand your choices.

  • It should be attractive enough on the front page.
  • High-resolution data with no problem if only a part of the illustration is enlarged. In the second half of the pages, I may use a part of it in a clipping along with other elements.

On the other hand, if you only use it for the last page, it’s more helpful to have an illustration that we can easily recognize even if it is small.

If you need only an illustration of a person’s face, it is often easier to draw an illustration with a variety of facial expressions and gestures, not just one draft.

If it seems necessary, you can suggest and make variations to expand the range of expression.

Also, prioritize the illustrations for the first page over the back page. Editors and designers will also find it easier to work.

If you’re illustrating for a professional magazine in a field you don’t know much about, you should always look at the pages that aren’t relevant to you.

Even if the request is made on short notice, just knowing the terminology and the content of the magazine will help the meeting go smoothly and be of great value.

Good at drawing a picture of an abstract matter

抽象的な事柄を絵にするのがうまい方

Those who can illustrate matters (investment, aging, illness, lifestyle, etc.) that are difficult to express with photographs, and things which we should avoid direct expression (such as the human body parts), are very valuable.

Business magazines and medical journals require a touch of softness that is not too harsh, but just right. Illustrators need to study the overall direction of the magazine on a daily basis, the color scheme, and the way the illustrations are used.

From the illustrator’s point of view, it may not be a very interesting job. However, there is no doubt that you can become an illustrator who can be relied upon as a valuable asset.

Be able to draw quality illustration without people and animals in it

モノだけのイラストでも大きく使えるクオリティで描ける方

There aren’t many illustrators who can make an quality image that doesn’t include people or animals, or even just things (cookware, supplements, etc.) look very presentable. However, this is a surprisingly common request for magazine work.

For example, your illustrations for a literary magazine may be the only image element on the page.

Illustrators who are able to draw atmospheric images that match the taste of magazines and works of art are relied upon in times of urgency.

This is a difficult commission, as is the illustration of abstract matters. But if you want to get a steady job offer, I think an illustrator who can do this has a significant advantage.

Give us a draft answers any request

どんなリクエストでも、ひとまず要求に答えた案を出してくださる方

Even if you are asked to answer an unreasonable request, it’s easier to work with someone who gives us a proposal that meets the request at first.

If you are working for a medium for the first time, you may receive unexpected requests about the touch of the illustration even if you’ve had them check your portfolio in advance.

For example, in the illustration of a person, the publisher may ask you to put on a pair of shoes, to draw the fingertips properly, and so on.

It’s hard to ask an illustrator to work with who doesn’t even try to answer requests.

In most cases, the publishers do not ask for it out of spite, but rather they consider the age group and preferences of the readers and dare to consult with them.

If you are an illustrator who can explain your ideas by comparing them with the original, it will be easier to summarize the opinions.

Conclusion

出版社やデザイナーがつい仕事を頼みたくなるイラストレーターの5つの特徴

One last time, I’ll summarize five characteristics of an illustrator that publishers and designers want to ask you to work with.

  1. Work fast and have a consistent touch
  2. Draw easy-to-use illustrations based on the content and anticipation of the usage
  3. Good at drawing a picture of an abstract matter
  4. Be able to draw quality illustration without people and animals in it
  5. Give us a draft answers any request

Racing against time is almost always the biggest theme in illustration work for magazines and books. Magazines in particular have a demanding schedule.

However, once you’ve built a trusting relationship with a magazine, you’ll often be asked to continue working there, so if you’re looking for a steady job, I recommend to work for books and magazines.

It’s a good idea to check out the magazines you’re interested in daily and study them so that you can draw the illustrations you want when you have a chance.

5 characteristics of illustrators that publishers and designers want to ask them to work with

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