The Devil needs some changes

Nastya Selezneva, February 14, 2019

If clients were to define the edits, they would call them "fundamental changes that need to be made free of charge yesterday." If an illustrator had to explain what “edits” mean, he or she would say it is the matter of taste or that awkward situation when it is easier to do what one is asked to than to get to the truth. Over the years, we have got used to making changes, but the topic of edits periodically ruffles the souls of illustrators and deepen the producers’ old wounds.

Illustration by Valery Zarytovsky

Therefore, today we are going to tackle that issue again and tell you (as well as to remind ourselves) what should be done in order to enjoy the working processes, not running laps around the client’s moods. After all, people master the profession of an illustrator for hundreds of hours to get psychological comfort as well as realizing their creative potential.

“Stick to the brief,” says Nastya Belan, Bang! Bang! Studio producer. It is essential that you set things up before you start working. No one who has ever worked on a commercial illustration having a very general brief ever laughs at the picture "No brief is grief". When you work and have to edit something that has been mentioned in the initial task, you do it. If a client (or an agency) comes up with some extra ideas, they should pay extra too.

Even if the edits don’t go against the brief, it’s your (or, rather, our) task to make sure their submitting is reasonable. Do not expect other people to care for the comfort of your work: if you work for yourself, you are responsible for all the stages of the working process, including the way the clients should inform you of the changes you should make. You should get all the edits in one email, it saves a lot of time and energy!

If the clients ask to make some changes that the technical task did not include, you need to define the cost of additional work. Nobody likes to pay extra, so if you want the extra hours of your work to be paid for sure, work with the agency. Protection of the illustrators’ time is one of our responsibilities. If you are a confirmed freelancer, you should learn how to deal with customers at some courses and read books on management.

Each project has a deadline. Have some deadlines of your own: reserve a specific time period for working on the whole picture as well as for stages of your work.

Take care of yourself. The same client has the same approach to work on different projects. Do not get used to having things uncomfortable. Try to agree on everything that is important for you in advance. If you cannot reach a deal, mentally thank the client for the experience and work with those who share your view of how work should be organized. Do not worry about it, creative people have to refuse to work on some projects now and then. Treat yourself as a professional, and people around you will treat you the same way.

Defend yourself. Prepays and contracts are not the terms of large corporations, but the realities of the work of those who value their health and time. These things will help you keep calm and enjoy your work.

As an icing on the cake, we wanted to tell you a scary story about horrible edits an illustrator had to make. But Bang! Bang! Studio producers just do not let such things happen. Perhaps you have some experience to share?