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Difficulties with Art Director

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Hi,
I have run into something I do not know if it is normal.

I have only illustrated one book for a regional publisher and the process went fine with the art director at the time. There were a few changes and I was able to meet the deadline no problem. They seemed very excited about what I illustrated and even said they think it will be a great seller.

They asked me to do a second book and I find out there is a new art director.
I received the contract and let them know the amount of time I need to do the sketches and the color spreads. They send the text and there are only a few directions for what they want as far as the artwork is concerned. I proceed with the sketches. Once done I sent them to the art director.  I also, sent over 3 choices for covers and she made changes on the one they picked. She took a couple of weeks and sent back the sketches with changes on every single page.

I was a bit shocked at all of the changes she made and asked was I supposed to redo (re-sketch) all of the pages with changes? I mentioned that we were now going into the painting stage of the time line. She wrote back and said that I only had to send in  5 of the spreads and make the changes to the cover and just loosely draw the updated sketches. So, I do this. Then a few days later she sends my sketches back again with more changes. Also, she sent a sketch she did of a completely different cover. This really surprised me. Is this normal?

The cover was completely different than what I did and at no time had she sent me directions to do a new cover. As an artist I find this offensive. Does she really think I should paint her illustration?

I am easy to work with but with all of her changes I am very concerned that the time line and deadline are out the window.

I emailed her asking if she can extend the deadline and made the comment that I wasn't comfortable painting her cover idea and that I would be fine just being the interior illustrator for the book and she has not responded. I resent the email but thought maybe coming here could help me understand better what is expected of me.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
#1 - January 20, 2022, 11:40 AM
« Last Edit: January 20, 2022, 11:57 AM by kay-meadows »

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I'm not an illustrator, but I do freelance as an author. My first thought is to read your contract carefully. Does it cover requested changes and the time line for them. There is often a timeline for them to get back to you as well as for you to resubmit sketches. That part is not uncommon as far as I've heard. It is unfortunate that you weren't given much direction to start with though. Knowing what's expected sure does save time later. Sorry I can't be of more help and that this is happening to you.
#2 - January 20, 2022, 06:12 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Thanks for commenting. In my contract it doesn't say anything about how long it would take them to get back to me for changes. That's what is really concerning me. I'm on a learning curve here because things went relatively smoothly with the first book. They had very tight deadlines howevere. I didn't have a lot of time for sketches or painting the spreads. I asked for more time on this book but with all of her changes like I mentioned I'm still working on sketches. So the time line is shot!    :-\
#3 - January 20, 2022, 07:15 PM

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Kay, I would suggest you make an appt. to talk with the new art director. It's very difficult when you don't get a lot of direction to begin with only to find out that there are multiple revisions to be made. I'm not an artist, but in my writing contracts, there are generally 1-2 revision passes specified. I have worked with one publisher that kept changing the specifications on me and it was very frustrating and then they killed the project because they didn't know what they wanted in the first place. I wish I had a kill-fee in that contract. I'm sorry you are having a difficult time with the new art director; maybe it will be solved with an honest phone-call or video-call. Good luck! And please let us know how it turns out.
#4 - January 20, 2022, 07:24 PM
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https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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Vijaya Thanks for your advice. I am taking very good notes and I will know what to counter on the next contract.  ::-)
It looks like I am going to have to call because I haven't had a response to the second email. I will let you all know what happens.
#5 - January 21, 2022, 08:54 AM

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Following up on what happened after talking to Publisher.
I spoke with the publisher about the art director. He hired her because she is an illustrator and thought this would be a good thing. He admitted sending over the cover sketched out wasn't a good move and that he is going to have to work with the director about how to approach the illustrators better when trying to convey an idea. I was able to express my concern over all of the changes and he understood that this too will have to be better managed. So I asked for more time and he is working that out. I wanted to say appreciate the help I got here!
#6 - January 25, 2022, 09:50 AM

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Seems like it's working out. So glad!
#7 - January 25, 2022, 11:05 AM
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Glad things are progressing in the right direction.
#8 - January 25, 2022, 09:33 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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