Quick turn around. Illustration design on a half day deadline.

What can get done in a day, or even half a day?

I've had a few  illustration designs recently that had very tight deadlines, mostly to get artwork to the printers and meet submission deadlines. You might think commissioning original illustration work on a quick turnaround might sound a little crazy, but in truth it might be just what's needed.
With a tight deadline, preparation is everything. From the concept design to final piece, it's easy to fall into certain traps.

"We don't have time,  just download some stock photography".

Stock photography can help, but if you don't  allow for enough image sourcing time in your concept pitch, an hour or more can be quickly lost downloading half a dozen images that almost-but-don't-quite get the right message across. They then need to be approved by the client,  and if not accepted, it's more time lost.

Illustration offers a far greater level of flexibility than stock photography. Sketch proposals can be generated quickly, then refined to get a very specific message across.
Full figure drawings, detailed backgrounds and tight accurate light and tone all take time to get right, there' no arguing that. There is no shortcut for good artwork.
Creative and resourceful  thinking on the other hand, (that elusive part of the process that looks very much like sitting still and doing nothing)  can really save time.  Again it's in the prep. Here are 2 examples;

Wring out the clowns

A thin loose sketch style doesn't pack that much punch, but it's ok for a background. Do I have time to draw five well known comedians and get them all looking right in a day? Nope. How about just the heads...or as I've done here, use the flood theme of the event to save time. Half a head each, partially submerged.

Improvised Space Opera

I've used photography here for a background, but an illustrated star field wouldn't have added much time. Avoiding references that may breach copyright while getting the right message and making it funny was import. There are at least five people in the show, but time doesn't permit - no full figures. So for an illustration,  just a hand and a visual gag.

Design Graphic and Illustration update

It's been a busy year here at JCU, with a lot of illustration work appearing on the slate where once it was mostly web. From Album Covers for Rock bands to the trickier end of design, finding the right style for infographics describing IP Cloud solutions, times are as busy as they are diverse. 

The super intensive 'Where's Wally' parody was a real challenge, while putting together my old comedy pal Dan Nightingale tour poster (go see him, he's ace) was a real pleasure. The biggest job came earlier this year with some proposed designs for a Welsh visitors centre converted from an old church. Inspiration came from the wonderful architecture, knights and wolves and er, bees too. The increase in illustration work had been a real joy.

Illustrating a point, drawing conclusions

Sitting in my office doing some illustration I had a flashback to my first 'real' job as a designer back in the late nineties. There were two bosses,  they were chalk and cheese. Where one saw creativity the other saw only hard-to-define labour costs. I was working on graphics for an 'online shop' selling the new DVD format and did some Sci-fi inspired illustrations, so the website would have some nice original content. Boss #2 saw that I had a sketch pad and pencil drawing out ideas. He stopped me and got me doing something else, can't quite remember...scanning dvd covers or something like that. The point was he didn't like what I was doing.

Publicity illustrations for PR company JWCPR
Publicity illustrations for PR company JWCPR

I'll grant you this was in Sunderland in an office next to a warehouse in 1998, but I was employed as a designer for his emerging website company and he couldn't bring himself to accept what I was doing was work. He liked to see the the finished work and show it off, but couldn't deal with seeing the creative process, certainly I felt I had to hide the early stages of a project from him. Eventually I got frustrated and left.

Now  I've the benefit of hindsight. Being self-employed I have to balance budgets between the creativity and the more practical leg-work, or more specifically hand-work, and can guess that concept work will take that little bit longer than I think it will, so I budget based on individual projects. Boss #2 came from a different background to me, if a cost needed cutting the first thing to go would be the 'airy-fairy nonsense' of drawing pictures - the 'hand-work' needs doing. However that needs guidance, and as I'm doing both it's important to find a good balance between the two, so at the end there not just something to see, but something to show off.

Responding to new design.

After lots of blood sweat and toil here it is, the new website.

It's been at least 5 years since I last updated the site.  Back then the idea of animation in HTML was little known,  flash was still king and people were talking about WAP compatibility. Technology and the web has moved on so much since then, as the web does. The shift towards the new HTML5  is in full swing making designs that are compliant with the phones and tablets and a whole new set of standards.

The new website uses wordpress, jquery, svg vector graphics, CSS3 and Edge animate. It will continue to grow with new portfolio samples, expanding with more  forward thinking features.