Business as usual! Part Two

I was recently at a friend’s exhibition opening and stumbled into another creative friend. We talked a little about those creative matters, and he then came out with this statement that I had not considered. Some 4 years ago I decided to drop everything I had going for me regarding income and solely concentrate on illustration. That meant all my graphic design work, my web design work and my lecturing work was to halt and I was to take up the more complex and less prosperous activity of illustration. His comment was; “You were very brave to give all that up for the idea of succeeding in illustration.”

I never really thought about it like that. Luckily part of my illustration income came from selling my art online, so some 50% was secure as long as I could make sales (a very turbulent process). I chose to do it because my heart felt safer there. I loved the process, the fact I could spend hours doing a piece of art and not loose that motivation or willingness to make it great. It was simply natural, and not risky.

What does make this business a little risky is the interactions you have with the people who are responsible for paying your way. I have a lot of good clients, don’t get me wrong, and a plethora of bad one, which could be greater if I do not try to halt their ways before I take eon a commission. Just recently I have had a few cases where the clients have presented me with enlarged mobile phone photos that are out of focus and bad composition and asked for a caricature render. Then have the gaul to ask for modifications after seeing the rough and OK’ing the rough.

The whole point of sending a rough render is so that clients can determine if the sketch is what they were basically asking for. I was knocked a little when someone said that maybe the clients don’t have your artistic eye, in order to visualise the final artwork. Maybe so, but if you sketch out a face with the promotions that are required for the caricature, I think it is pretty clear if the drawing looks like the person in question, or not.

Anyway, that aside, one other aspect that some clients have is assuming that you are sitting around all day waiting for them to contact you with some project. When you tell hem you are busy, or booked solid, they often come out with comments like; “It won’t take you long.” or “I am sure you can squeeze me in.” I have learnt from that mistake, by offering a top of the schedule fee. If they want preferential treatment they can pay for it. Seemed to have stopped them begging to be fitted in!

I think the thing that gets me the most out of all the woes with clients, is their inane belief that they know more about design than you do. One good example that pops into mind was when I did a fresco mural for a fast food store and they also asked me to do a menu design. They said during the break in the painting, lets go for lunch at home and go over the menu design. So we sat down over my laptop, opened up the menu and was joined by their son. The son whispers something in the ear of his father, to which the father says. “Can we try the logo over there in that corner?”. I said I had concerns as it would clash with some of the other elements in the design. He demanded I tried as his son thought it would look good. I did the adjustment. They sat for a few minutes looking at it. Did say, “Oh you were right.” Instead said; “Can you move it back, it didn’t look good.” If they only listened to the professional designer. Stay tuned for my own version of Clients From Hell!

Don’t forget in 2020 I will be starting a Patreon Page: As part of the incentive of the work to be achieved on the page, a series of caricatures will be done, like the Abraham Lincoln one, called “Celebrity Sunday: Posers“. By patronising the channel you can receive a series of rewards and extras. Be sure to look out for the page in the New Year.

If you are interested in getting commissions of my work, check out my website here: or my Fiverr Pro account here:

all work copyright © Rob Snow | creative 2019