Monday, October 29, 2012

Emma D Dryden drydenbks LLC (children's publishing & consutancy

Photo by Sonya Sones
How did you get started working in Children’s Books and what do like most about it?
[EDD:]  I was an avid reader, writer, and drawer growing up and set out to write and illustrate a picture book text during a senior project in High School. I learned quickly how very, very hard it is to write a picture book text after I’d managed to write about 10,000 words of my own Greek Myth! Needless to say, I never did get to the illustrations, beyond one for the title page, and that particular book will never see the light of day! But it didn’t diminish my interest in stories and illustration for children and I had no doubt from the time I began college that I wanted to work in some way with authors, illustrators (the proper word for “drawers”), and books for children. I was an English Language & Literature major and landed a great (unpaid) job with the Viking Children’s Books during the summer between my junior and senior years, where I soaked up everything I could from many wonderful people who are still my colleagues and mentors to this day.  What I love most about working in Children’s Books is the variety of stories and the variety of books on which I get to work—I am not a specialist, in that I don’t focus solely on picture books or any one genre, format, or age group. Rather, I have been trained—and my interests lie—in being more of a generalist, working on picture books, poetry, MG, and YA fiction and fantasy. 

You have a pretty impressive background in publishing. What publishing houses have you done work for?
[EDD:] After my summer job with Viking Children’s Books, I applied to all the major publishing houses in New York City and took a position with Random House. I worked in the Random House Children’s Books imprint for four years and then became an Associate Editor with Margaret K. McElderry Books, which at that time was an imprint of Macmillan. When Macmillan was bought by Simon & Schuster, the McElderry Books imprint moved over to S&S, where I stayed throughout the rest of my corporate career, eventually becoming VP, Publisher of that imprint as well as of Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Since becoming a consulting editor, I’ve continued to do some work on the McElderry Books list and have worked with several other publishing houses on various projects in a freelance capacity, including Little, Brown, Hyperion, and Amazon, as well as with some wonderful start-up presses.

Are there any projects that you worked on with an illustrator that really stand out for you?
I can think of several that stand out:  Chris Demarest’s line illustration work was well known to me long before I ever worked with Chris. He brought a project to me that had actually been turned down by another house, as it was not what they’d wanted or expected from him—it was vibrantly colored, thickly rendered pastel work, a vast departure from his usual work. The subject was firefighting and firefighters and my first response to the work was, “I want to see more smoke and more fire!”  Chris and I knew we were the right match for his new style of work and not only did we create the very successful and lauded FIREFIGHTERS A TO Z, but that book launched Chris himself into a new chapter of his own career as an artist. It was as thrilling to witness and play some small part in an illustrator’s process of self-reinvention and self-discovery as it was to be a part of such successful picture book making.
                                            Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster
Another project that stands out is working with the UK illustrator, Jane Chapman, who created the brilliant illustrations for author Karma Wilson’s very first picture book, BEAR SNORES ON. Discovering Jane’s bear samples and deciding to pair her with this new author seemed like a good idea—but none of us realized at the time what a bestselling franchise BEAR would turn out to be, and that’s what made that first project so special and fun. As we got started working together, Jane and I talked a lot about the differences in the UK and US markets, we talked about the size differential between bears and badgers, we talked about the way a hare’s feet would look when the hare’s jumping…and so on. In other words, we talked about art and we got to know one another, and we shared a great love for a good story. It’s always a very special time when you’re seeing an illustrator like Jane bring characters and settings to life through sketches and then through color work—it’s a quiet, don’t-say-too-much, hold-your-breath time that explodes into a nervous-energy, I-think-we’ve-just-created-something-great, this-is-going-to-be-big time.
                                                 Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster
Working with David Catrow on all of Alan Katz’s SILLY DILLY books has been a total treat, as Dave is a pro who has a way of interpreting an author’s words in such unexpected, clever, and uproarious ways—he always surprised me with his quirky (aka twisted!) sense of humor, smart sense of white space, and intelligent zaniness.  Working with E. B. Lewis on a new author’s first picture book recently (so new I can’t really talk about it!)  has been a spectacular experience as I’ve had a chance to sit with Earl and watch him work magic with a pencil stub—making one small stroke on a page and opening up a character’s entire expression or adding one quick sketchy image to a page and turning a stone wall into a thriving landscape.  Illustration is magic!
                                            Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon and Schuster

Can you tell us a little about your involvement with SCBWI. How do you think the organization is helpful to authors and illustrators?
[EDD:] I started to speak at SCBWI regions all over the country when I was a young, hungry editor and I came to love the organization for the collaborations and friendships it allowed me to forge with people all over this business.  It’s an organization that instilled a lot of confidence in me in my own work as an editor and I found many authors and illustrators through SCBWI events and connections. SCBWI was especially important to me when I got laid off from S&S—the founders, Lin and Steve, and the R.A.s showing unwavering support for my work and assuring me I still had a place at the table even though I was no longer acquiring manuscripts or artwork for publication. In my role as a consultant, I found myself learning a lot about new publishing options, digital publishing, and about balancing life and creativity and I wanted to do something to share my new knowledge and perspectives with the SCBWI membership. I’m thrilled now to be on the Board of Advisors and having an opportunity to participate in SCBWI decisions from my unique perspective as editor/publisher/ freelancer/consultant.  
I think SCBWI is most helpful to authors and illustrators for being a supportive, informative community to artists at all levels of their careers. 

What are your thoughts about the direction of the quickly changing landscape for children’s books?
[EDD:]  The publishing landscape is definitely changing and I find it all very exciting. Otherwise, I’d find it appalling and hide my head in the sand—which is just not acceptable or conducive to anything! Seriously, though, I think the advances made in digital publishing options, self- and indie-publishing options, and printing options are inevitable and interesting—and my goal is to remind authors and illustrators of two things: One, that story matters most, no matter on what device or platform it’s being delivered to children; and two, it’s critical to apply the very best practices of business when exploring the new terrain. To my mind, best practices include, among other things, staying professional, maintaining patience and self-control, recognizing the value of editorial critique and feedback; being willing and open to revision, being collaborative, and focusing on creating the very best art you can. These—and flexibility!—will keep you in the game as the rules of the game seem to be changing.  And as anyone who reads my posts knows, my word to the wise is always FLEXIBILITY in this current landscape. 

You have started your own company and offer services. Can you tell us a little about how your services help illustrators? 
[EDD:] drydenbks LLC is a children’s editorial and publishing consultancy business. I offer all sorts of editing services to authors at various stages of their careers and/or manuscripts. I also consult with people on a myriad of topics related to children’s books and publishing: agents, rekindling a career, trying new styles of writing or artwork; writing a strong query letter, business protocols, how to make a career change or career move; how to create apps, the marketplace needs and demands, evaluating a portfolio or website; and much more. I am interested in all aspects of this business and am open to anyone’s questions or ideas—and if I can help figure out some answers or best next steps, then we’ve got ourselves a consultancy!  You can find out more about my background, what clients and colleagues have to say about working with me, and my services at  HYPERLINK ""

I’ve been hearing a lot about  uTales. Can you tell us how that works and your involvement?
[EDD:] uTales ( HYPERLINK "" is a terrific eBook platform launched by a young man from Sweden with a passion for children’s books and a delight in artwork and storytelling styles from around the world.  uTales is not a publisher, but it’s more of a library of eBooks (all picture books right now) that have been created by uTalers—picture book authors and illustrators who have paired themselves together to create books for the platform.  I won’t go into too many of the business details of the platform, as this information can be found on the uTales website, but I will say what I’m most impressed with is the showcase uTales is providing for new authors and illustrators. Some of the books are stronger than others, there’s no question about that, but the books are “ranked” by the children and parents themselves who read the uTales books—and those weaker books don’t get as many “hits” as the stronger books. What I hope will happen with this system is that the creators of the weaker books can learn how to make stronger and stronger books by seeing what books on the platform are getting the hits, by reading the helpful posts on the uTales blog, and thereby working on their craft within a very friendly environment of uTalers who support, help, and advise each other. I was asked by the founder to come on board as the head of what’s called the uTales Quality Editorial Panel (uQEP)—a group made up of authors, illustrators, and educators—to evaluate the books before they go “live” and offer critique and feedback. It’s not a “reject” or “approve” system as much as it is a system whereby authors and illustrators are given a chance to adjust, revise, and strengthen their work before it is put on the platform.  I think uTales is one of a handful of interesting, exciting children’s book initiatives that’s resulted in this digital age.

What do you think are the most important things illustrators should be doing to succeed in the children’s book market?
[EDD:] Illustrators ought to be evaluating their websites and portfolios to be sure they’re as up-to-date and fresh as possible—I’d do this at least once a year.  I would also encourage illustrators to work in new media from time to time—if you work in pencil, try oil or cut-paper; if you work with pen-and-paper, try digital; mix it up a bit and see what results. Editors’ needs for art styles change over time and illustrators don’t want to be left behind because their style that suited the market for the past five years doesn’t seem to be suiting the market anymore.  Illustrators won’t be good at every style and medium they try, but try working in new styles anyway—you could be pleasantly surprised!  (Marc Brown has been working in new art styles for his last several picture books and he says he’s happier than he’s been in a long time! You wouldn’t know from his newest books that it’s the same artist who created Arthur—and that’s very exciting for Marc and for a new audience of readers!)  I would also suggest that illustrators learn digital techniques—they don’t have to love every bit of it, but I’d say they ought to get to a point of being knowledgeable and comfortable with various digital platforms on which to create artwork. This is essential if illustrators ever want to work on apps and it’s also a way to keep artists nimble and flexible artistically.  Finally, just as I tell authors to read, read, read, so too will I remind illustrators to look, look, look—look at old and new picture books, stay abreast of not just the picture books on the bestseller lists, but of what illustrators you admire are doing, of what picture books are being chosen for the Society of Illustrator shows, and look through art directories and illustrator websites. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chris Hopkins

I am really thrilled to be able to share the masterful work of Chris Hopkins. I love seeing incredible craft in an artist's work and his paintings awe and inspire me. He has had a remarkable journey. Enjoy!
You’ve worked on some incredible projects as an illustrator. Can you tell us a little about those?
You must remember that we are looking at a career that has spanned over 34 years. Remember that I am a dinosaur that is prone to forgetfulness. I have been blessed to have been able to paint a large body of work before the digital revolution. 
 Projects back then were drawn  and/or painted as opposed to a final product that had a digital hand in it’s production. I had been doing some magazine illustration while still a student in school however, my career didn’t take off until I started working at Willardson/White Studios. W/W was an illustration shop started by legendary illustrators Charles White and David Willardson. Charlie and Dave did promotion and PR, while Mick McGinty, Rick Brown and myself did the bulk of the illustration. We didn’t get paid too much but we managed to have a great time working on great jobs. We were given specific projects that came into the studio and we had free latitude to execute the art in a way that we saw best. This was at the time of the rebirth of the airbrush whose look and range of use had been  greatly enhanced by the new Iwata airbrush that could handle most any kind of paint. Previously air brushes were largely limited to inks, dyes, watercolors and gouache. Not only was this a time before digital but it was also a time of vinyl records with 12”x 12” album cover packaging. I was able to work on a flow of record album jobs. Most were unmemorable however two that I recall well  were “Only A Lad”, Oingo Boingo’s premier album on A&M Records and Styx, “Paradise Theater” also on A&M.

The most memorable part of the Oingo Boingo project was working with the band’s leader Danny Elfman. It was caffeinated high octane fun without any real caffeine or preservatives. “Paradise Theater” was a large project that included full color front and back art as well as hand painted lettering, poster designs, inside album art, a center label 
painting, a 45 sleeve, outdoor board design, point of purchase display and a design that was lazer etched into the vinyl. I was only 26 years old at the time and I felt as though I was given a commission to paint the Sistine Chapel.
While at W&W I painted advertising campaigns for clients such as Levis and for Nike. After three years I left W&W and struck out on my own. Jobs came pretty fast and furious at that point. I immediately painted theme art for The America’s Cup, and reestablished what would become a long time relationship with the NFL that resulted in a full array of projects from posters to magazine art, trophy design, paintings for cards, portraits for the NFL Hall Of Fame and theme art for Superbowls, XX, XXI, and XXIII. By this time I had given up airbrush in favor of traditional oil painting however I still did a little airbrush when it was called for.
One of the last airbrush pieces that I painted was the advance marquee one sheet for the movie, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. At that time film work was an illustrators staple in LA. Some of the other film promotion I contributed to were, “The Return Of the Jedi”, “ A Christmas Story” and many others. It was some years later that I worked on my last movie project, a set design painting of a large muraled dome for the film, “The Pagemaster”. I continued painting for numerous publishing clients including most of the large NY publishers. In 1991 during the Gulf War I was requested by the US Government to create a painting that would pay tribute to the troops at their impending homecoming.
I would be in competition with such artists as Peter Max and other better known art professionals of the day. Whether the powers that be were drinking that day or for what ever the reason my piece was selected as the theme art for the Desert Storm Homecoming.
 After That event I was able to paint numerous pieces that paid tribute to those who had served in Viet Nam, an issue that was still a point of contention at that time. It was an issue that I felt strongly about as I never thought that the men and women who came back were ever treated with the respect that they deserved. In that season of my career I was drop kicked into the sports world . I worked with various athletes and organizations that would sell my art with proceeds going to worthy charities. I became a member of Steve Young’s Forever Young Foundation that gifted to the Ronald McDonald House, Winners on Wheels and many others. After so many years in this business I could go on but I fear the boredom factor has already become intolerable.
In the past few years you’ve moved into doing fine art. How did that journey happen?
Illustration had moved into the digital arena. I had a choice to either adopt and embrace the computer as my tool of income or go back and be totally traditional. Since childhood I have always wanted to feel the pencil scratching across the paper and the brush dragging and pushing paint across a surface. I would tell people in jest, “Real men don’t draw with mice.” I have nothing against digital art, it was simply a choice that I felt passionate about. I just love to paint and draw. In time I started to feel the consequences of my choice and gradually moved from the illustration world into the gallery world. Even there I felt my freedom as an artist being curtailed as I was encouraged to paint images that would have a certain salability as per my name recognition. For years as an illustrator I had painted pieces at the bequest of others most often painting forgettable pieces with only the reward of a paycheck at the end. (I suppose the paycheck part isn’t all that bad!) I was honing my skills as a byproduct of all those years of work. 
I consider myself a life time student and I am by no means a master of anything however I have gotten better through the years and felt as though it was time to paint what I desired. Although I enjoyed painting landscapes and still life’s the stimulus wasn’t sufficient. I really wanted to paint a narrative of the human drama that is a part of our history and a key part of various cultures. 
You’ve done a book, Eagle Dancing that has breathtaking beautiful art in it.Can you tell us about how that came about and the research involved? 
Once again I tripped and fell into this subject. I was mentoring an extremely talented young man, Gyibaawm Laxha, from the Tsimshian First Nations tribe. His father, David Boxley, is a Culture Bearer and master Tsimshian carver/artist. My family and David’s family became fast friends. I began painting his story, and some people took notice. Evelyn Vanderhoop  a dear friend and a master weaver from the Haida Nation put me in contact with two benefactors who were each seeking an artist who would delve into and paint this subject. One benefactor wanted a narrative of contemporary Haida life the other wanted very large scale paintings of Northwest Coast Native History. Both projects required much research, field work and travel. I was able to speak with and get the help of tribal chiefs, culture bearers, noblemen and
 archaeologists/anthropologists. The culture is both rich and fascinating. My wife and I attended many potlaches and honorings and have established life time friendships. I had a solo exhibition of the work at the Forest Lawn Museum and published the book in time for the exhibition.
Where can the book be purchased? 
The ordering info can be found at this link. However if there is a problem one can contact me at my email address through my website.
You’ve also been doing extraordinary work for the Air Force. How does that work? 
The Air Force and I have become the perfect fit, (in my opinion anyway). As a member of the Air Force Art Program I have been able to travel to remote areas of the world sketchbook, camera, and paintbox in hand to record different cultures and our men and women in uniform. There is always a certain amount of down time in these areas which enables me to record the people, animals and general goings on of the area. Not tourist sites but the real nitty gritty. 
However I spent a short time in Afghanistan and I will admit that the nitty gritty there is probably better left alone. I also paint historic narratives for the Air Force and have embarked on a large project in conjunction with the Pentagon that deals with the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The first and only all African American fighter squadron that served during WWII at the time of Jim Crow. Once again the accurate narrative can only really be achieved by much study, travel, and interviews. So far I have found the story to be an incredible journey of triumph and honor in a battle of two wars one domestic the other abroad.
Is there a site that people can go to see more of your work? 

Where can people purchase your work?
The only gallery that I am currently active at is, Grand Teton Gallery in Jackson Hole, WY.
Or one can contact me through my website,

What do  you love most about what you do?

The predictable answer: Everything! I have loved this since I was in kindergarten. In all of these years that love has only increased. I also love the fact that my wife, Jan is a very gifted fiber artist and that all four of my children have artistic talents including our only son Justin, who is a professional illustrator and composer in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wilson Wiliams Jr.

How is it that you came to be an illustrator/artist?
Drawing is always the one thing I was good at and enjoyed doing. It’s always served as a personal companion, therapist and means of emotional release. It only made sense for me to take that on as my career of choice.
Did you go to art school?
Yes, I attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fl. I wish I could go back and do it all over again! There was so much more I could have taken advantage of. That’s ok, I’m making up for it now.
Were there 1 or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? Was there any other artist or person that influenced or continues to influence you now?
My Mother and Father have always been a great influence since they were supportive of me from the beginning. Early on I would say that it was bullies and prejudice strangely enough. Children not wanting to be friends with me for whatever reason forced me to go into myself a bit and entertain myself. I did that by drawing. In those moments I found my passion. Later on I would say it was a group of peers that I shared in high school as well as my high school teacher that helped show me that a career was a possibility.
What inspires you now?
My family, my childhood experiences, peers, nature, other exceptional artists and the world around me. I find that I get visual ideas from everywhere and I have to keep notepads or loose paper all over the place so that I can write down those ideas when I have them.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
My personal work, when I have the time to do it, is largely watercolors and pastels. Sadly, the mediums I like to work in are not as conducive when working for clients. (For me) Before I started working full time freelance I made sure I had a portfolio that was all digitally created.  I do this largely to maximize the ability to correct the work. I work in Photoshop and Illustrator to create my professional work.
What types of markets do you do art for?
At one time I worked full time for a sports apparel company and did a large amount of licensed work. Now I primarily work in the children’s market and have had the opportunity to do work for the licensed, religious, educational, trade children’s books, magazines and toy design markets.
Are there links to your images you would like to share?
Of course, I am always working on expanding my visibility online which means multiple places to view my work. But here are the most up to date.
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I’m still working up the guff to do school visits and whatnot but that is definitely in my future plans. For now my biggest secondary interest is the website Once Upon A Sketch.  On the blog my business partner, Norman Grock  and I are dedicated to provide information about other aspects of the children’s market. We think too many children’s illustrators think that the only place their work fits or can be profitable is children’s books and magazines. We want to dispute that and show them other aspects of the varied markets that bleed into the children’s market that they may have not considered.
Are there other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I am reading and learning and teaching myself to write. I know how to tell visual stories with my art and now I’d really like to be able to give voice to the stories that pop into my head. In the process of learning I have a new found respect for talented writers and scribes. This is not an easy road by any means!
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Books, gift or home products?
Yes I do, the best place to see those items is to visit my blog and look in the left hand column. I try to post all my books there.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I grew up watching my Mom go to work every day to a job she didn’t enjoy but endured so that we could survive as a family. I didn’t want to endure the same sentence of misery. So I am glad that every day I get to wake up and work on something I can be proud of and have joy while creating it. I think that joy pushes me forward and helps me want to help others find it as well! Thank you so much Patti for taking the time to interview me! If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me through any of the websites mentioned above. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scott Hull Associates, Inc.

Is there room for a nice guy in the artist representative business? At least one has found a niche: Scott Hull, proclaimed "Visual Ambassador" of Scott Hull Associates, has been nice to clients for 30 years now, treating each one with the respect and integrity ordinarily reserved for mission statements.  
So, how did you get started in this business?
As a designer-turned-creative-entrepreneur, I’m well aware of the demands of creativity in the corporate world. Early on, I learned the ins and outs of the business, and realized I enjoyed assembling the right team to pull off a project as much as the hands-on designing part. This realization led to a new creative alliance serving other artists, art directors and designers, and over three decades later Scott Hull Associates has served over 9,000 customers.  Providing visual branding in partnership with global advertising agencies, design firms, and Fortune 500 companies. Ranging from start-ups to well-known brands like the Harry Potter book series, Target, Starbucks, Panera, United Airlines and locally the Great American Ball Park.
Scott Hull Associates... how many associates?
We have 20 artists, and an equally talented group in management.
And what's different about your group? 
We were put on this earth to help build artists' confidence and creativity. We didn’t invent art, we didn’t invent service, but we did pioneer this approach to artistic solutions – it's totally service-oriented. More than making pictures. We've been doing it this way for about 30 years. 
What does a 30-year-old artist representative agency know that a 5-year-old agency might not?
You get a better sense of the cycle of things. There's a feel for what's a fad and what will really endure, but I don't try to predict the future of the profession anymore. If you're right, everybody hates you, and if you're wrong, well... they remember that. 

We do see time and time again that emotional involvement has to be there at every step in the process. Caring doesn't just make art more fun to create – it gets results, because the human element really intrigues and engages people. That's one of those enduring truths.
Are you an artist yourself?
I am an artist who can bring original thinking to a problem, someone who can cause change, that’s why successful entrepreneurs are artists.  You might recoil in fear when you find out I’m both a businessperson and an artist.  
What’s your role in this process?
I liken my role to that of a casting specialist who works with the movie director (art director) to match just the right talent for each project’s unique needs. The result is work that, not only has earned the Scott Hull Associates’ illustrators acclaim but most importantly, consistently surpasses the client’s marketing goals.
What is one trend you do like?
Well, motion. It's just very exciting to be able to recreate – or convincingly simulate, anyway – real life's real dynamic nature. Video, ipads, mobile, gaming, the web... images move these days, and it's really fun to see. Video is the new audio.
What other changes have you seen over the past few years? 
We're noticing the movement back to organic, hands-on design, which of course is nice for us. Agencies and design groups seem to be searching for a way to connect with their consumers, not just get their attention for a fleeting moment, and illustration is a natural fit.

Along with that has come a proliferation of illustration styles. There's so much out there now that designers can be very specific about what they're after, and make sure they find the perfect art for their application. That also works out well for us, having so many really diverse illustrators to choose from. 
Where do you see challenges for artists now?
I guess it's in doing the best piece for the assignment while at the same time cultivating your own personal style. That's hard. It's not just worrying about whether your work will be perceived as art, but if it will be perceived as *your* art... and still get the message across.

I a digital-everything world, will there always be room for hand-drawn illustration?
I think the digital revolution *makes* room for organic illustration.  When it started, everything kind of looked the same, and people started noticing their thirst for something unique, something real. A beautiful illustration stops people in their tracks now as much as it ever did. More, actually.

What brought you to representing artists?
My background and education were in design, and I actually started out in my career as a designer. The years I spent doing that showed me that I like assembling great teams even more than I like doing the design itself. That experience also gave me insight into the designer mindset, which has been tremendously helpful, as you'd imagine. 

What is your strategy for dealing with difficult artists?
What do you mean, "difficult"?

Oh, lazy, arrogant, rude to clients...
Easy. We don't take them on in the first place. Our firm's reputation is in the hands of every one of our artists, on every one of their assignments. A fumbled job by them is a poor reflection on us, and it includes clients against coming to our group in the future. SHA focuses our efforts on illustrators with talents for art *and* people; otherwise you're always apologizing for somebody else's behavior.

What's one client you'd love to see on your caller ID – who could really be using some great illustration right now, but isn't?
Donald Trump or a call for my own reality TV show.

Do you have any amphibian-based metaphors regarding the current state of the design community?
Yes. Picture a frog being dropped in a kettle of water. If the water is boiling, he'll jump out immediately, but if it's just warm, he might settle in, thinking it's a frog jacuzzi. When the temperature rises - gradually, gradually - the poor frog stays put, not detecting the change in his environment, until eventually he's stewed.

I see.
The design community really needs to be more aware of current changes in our environment. Too many of us keep operating as though it's five years ago – or fifteen – when we need to be responding to changes in the ways people gather information. I feel like design is following, when it should be leading the way.

Some clients have guidelines about graphic standards and how to maximize their effect. What advice do you give them for measuring the effect of an illustration?
Well, it's tricky, and illustration probably is harder to measure than standard design techniques. You know when you have a good one, (and you know when sales go up) but that intangibility – that certain quality of a piece of art that comes from a human being – does frustrate number-crunchers sometimes. You can't duplicate the success of a great illustration because you can't duplicate the illustration. It's just not a science, even though some people would like it to be.
So... you're an agent.

Why aren't you, um, slicker?
Well, it's not who I am, and it's not really our business model either. 
We're founded on honesty and stability – making the process simpler, more straightforward. We think it's great that there's so much good art in the world, and even better that there are so many folks who want to make use of it, and best of all when we can help put that together. Nowhere in that business plan is there a clause about talking fast and confusing people. 

So that's it, huh? You match artists with clients?
– And make sure the project runs smoothly, and confirm that everybody agrees on goals and compensation, and assist both parties in realizing any hidden potential for their creations, from optimizing publicity to licensing opportunities, and handle interviews and such, yes.

Wow. So you keep pretty busy, do you?
I try to maintain.

Say I'm a designer. I've got Illustrator; I've got Photoshop. Why shouldn't I just create an image myself, instead of hiring an illustrator?
I know. It's a tempting option, and it's hard to let go of the creative process and let someone else (an illustrator, a photographer, a director) offer his or her input. Plus doing it yourself is quicker and cheaper. But in the long run, I believe illustration is actually more effective – and cost-effective. There's an immediacy and an authenticity to the work of a talented illustrator, and it just shines right through. Designers' willingness to share in the process always seems to pay off. 

I love seeing it come together...