I went to see a couple of people with my portfolio. Firstly Bernice Binder at Oblong Classics (book publisher), who alongside her colleague Abi Wasabe sat down and gave my work some decent time. They seemed genuinely into it and as Oblong Classics has really well designed meeting area it was very pleasant, and one of those meetings where you feel both parties conceived a working future. After that I went to see the AE of Urge Magazine at Footpath Publishing called Arogan Blok. When I phoned a week ago he said, ‘Yeah come in today,’ (what?) I couldn’t. Arogan was still perplexed by my inability to drop everything and come galloping in so started the viewing with more questions as to why. So trying really hard to overlook this and thanking him (immense donkeynut) for fitting in with me, we moved on. He made sharp intakes of breath as he flicked through the work as though this ambiguous affectation was the only possible way of expressing himself. Finally he said he liked the flat colour but thought the biro stuff 'a bit poetic', another ambiguous comment, which I took as an insult. I was unsure as to whether he’d liked my work or not, with the emphasis on not.
Once again I took the opportunity and asked the very helpful receptionist to call an art director on another magazine to see if he could spare a moment to see me. He could. Ed Flan, from Mash Magazine, came down, flicked thought the work and commissioned me there and then. Great! The job was not the sort of thing I normally, or ever usually get. The brief was a really tight idea, which he even drew for me (how helpful). Unfortunately the more he drew the more I could see this was not my favourite type of job (or Art Direction) but I kept positive and told myself ‘I can deliver this inappropriate idea’ especially for £400. By the time I left the building I convinced myself Ed Flan’s decision to commission me was a stroke of brilliant insight.
I haven’t had a reply from Ed Flan even though I sent in roughs yesterday. I really hate this type of delay and having just spent ten minutes trying to compose a suitable email needing answers to such questions as, when is the deadline? I decided to send my job acceptance form in and hope for the best (not the greatest strategy). This is what I sent:
1 full page colour illo
date: roughs – 24 May
date: artwork - ?
Terms of copyright licence:
ROUGHS: Subject is botox and 'beauty' treatments.
|Ed Flan rough 1|
|Ed Flan rough 2|
Brace yourself for a harsh truth; I am at the mercy of people who couldn’t give a monkey’s (thumb doctor helping me with my dodgy thumb is exempt). All I do is wait; I’m waiting to be paid for the Postaramakama cancellation, I’m waiting for jobs from all those who promised to commission me and my thumb is waiting to see a hand doctor (I don't mind waiting for that one).
Is it wrong if the only thing you take from religion is to pray for work? It probably is.
Ed Flan got back to me with quite a few changes, which doesn’t surprise me considering I’m still trying to stop thinking about the awful drawing he kindly did for me in reception. What he’s after is so far away from my style of work I’m starting to worry I will not be able to deliver.
It’s Monday afternoon. The artwork for Mr Flan went in this morning, the phone hasn’t rung and I’m having one of those days where I just don’t feel I can (a.) ever acquire appropriate commissions and (b.) remain an illustrator
|My bad illustration.|
Once off the phone I opened the file and set about making his bad idea stronger. Two hours later I sent the stronger artwork in and waited. He still hasn’t sent my job acceptance form back. He still hasn’t emailed.
I received a reply from Ed Flan:
Sorry for my slow response, here’s the feedback from my editor:
Please make the line stronger.
Needs more colour hits: Make the pink pinker and leave green (yes, I have no idea either).
More detail on the bottle and make the needles darker as I will be using these as cut-outs.
Great. And, 'cut-outs'… I thought I was doing one illustration and cut-outs means they intend to use bits of it all through the article. Not what was agreed, no wonder he won’t send my JAF back. The thing is I’d probably still do it for the same money. What I can’t stand is people not being straight about usage. I think my head might explode! In situations such as this there’s only one thing I can do - leave the flat.
After an hour of coffee and work on my latest script I’m back and I’ve made a start on the Flan changes.
Up early this morning. I’ve written ten pages of my script and am now working on the Flan illustration. I emailed Flan:
Hi Ed, only got your message this morning (I lied) and working on the illo now. I felt I needed to re-think the colours a bit having taken on board all your editor’s comments (lie). Hopefully finished later today.
I still haven't received the signed job acceptance form. If there's a problem with it it's best you let me know so we can sort it out.
All very best,
Full speed ahead with the changes!
It’s now late afternoon. At 1 pm I sent the final artwork but I made a fatal error – I sent in two! I should not have done this! Why? Because this is what happened:
Ed Flan’s email reply:
Great illustrations… but too strong now.
We can live with it, apart from…
(Then a long list of twiddly changes detailing bits from each illustration, which he directed me to shove together to make one final and completely shit illustration. Noooooooooo! Oh yes.)
I wanted to shout, ‘Please can I read this article myself so I can interpret it in my own visual language; a visual language I have been developing for years that fits with my sensibility, palette etc etc!’ but I didn’t. I listened to Ed go on about colour and meaning that I’m sure meant something in the world of magazines but it didn’t resonate with me. As he spoke I felt as though I was probably a very shit illustrator doomed forever to listen to faux arty stuff I disagreed with. Ho-diddly-hum.
|This is me.|
To be continued...