One of the greatest frustrations that I have had is the publisher's
(whether it be magazine, book etc.) seeming ignorance of what it takes to do
good illustrations in terms of time, quality and reasonable pay. I feel
somewhat relieved to know that it's not just me!
I like to play the role of activist whenever I meet or interact with a
client or publisher, to show them WHY I charge what I charge, and just HOW a
trained scientific illustrator can actually save them time and money in the
I figure no one else is going to tell them this, and the secret saleswoman
trapped inside of my illustrator's body gets to shine when I'm selling my
Also, Client Ed 101 goes a long way to help out your fellow illustrators--by
keeping quality and integrity high, and not undercutting each other, we can
have a semblance of a good standard of living!
If need be, I explain the steps involved in producing a careful and esthetic
illustration. Many people think that one can simply set pen or brush to
paper, or the computer equivalent, and have an instant picture. They don't
consider research, photographic and other references, models, the
preliminary sketch, the revision, the scan, and all the other elements of a
final piece. When the client begins to understand the process, they may
better appreciate the value of the work.
Perhaps most important is the client's perception of your competency. I
like to provide service, service, service to my clients, and take pains to
be a 'hassle-free' vendor. It's my job to make life easy for my client.
That extra consideration pays off in repeat work, and long-term
relationships. Some of my clients have become good friends!