How to endear yourself to an art director – pt. 3

III. EXECUTING THE ASSIGNMENT (not the art director):

DO commit to attitude of reliability and cooperation.

DO return phone calls promptly.

DO suggest calling back if you feel too emotional to be cordial.

DO confirm phone conversations with e-mail memo.

DO adhere to a WRITTEN schedule with frequent “check-in” dates.

DO agree how final art will be shipped and who will cover expense (incl. insurance).

DO read text several times before beginning project.

DO discuss book size, # spreads/singles/spots required, art size (including gutter, bleed, crop lines, etc.), jacket, endpapers.
DO discuss art materials, color pallet.

DO follow text, except as specifically agreed to/requested by art director.

DO expect to divide text into spreads if asked.

DO submit thumbnails, character sketches, dummy as requested.

DO brainstorm ideas for illustrations, including concepts for subtext, characters,
setting, scenes, book design.

DO research when necessary and BE ACCURATE.

DO share your artistic/design sense throughout the process.

DO be prepared to accept suggestions or requests.

DO provide consistency in characters’ faces, sizes, clothing, proportions. (Setting, too!)


DO make corrections, changes or “do-overs” in a timely fashion. (Yes, you will have some of these.)

DO communicate problems as soon as they are known to you.

DO ask questions when they arise.

DON’T assume.

DON’T deviate from approved sketches without art director’s OK.

DON’T try to do the editor’s job, but make suggestions if you feel compelled to do so.

DON’T communicate directly with the author without the publisher’s blessing.

DON’T hold the project hostage and attempt to re-negotiate your contract.

DO remember your sense of humor.


And may you live happily ever after…