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Working with an Illustrator - My Commission Process Explained

10th October, 2019

Like most illustrators I'm frequently being asked to quote for commissions.  Some requests come from Art Directors and Commissioning Editors who generally come armed with a brief, know all about what to expect, what they want and when they want it.  However, many people contact me who don't really understand the process from start to finish, or only have a vague idea.  This blog post is for those people, although even the more experienced among you may find something useful here too.

As I love to draw maps and walk in the countryside what better way to illustrate the process then with a walking-map-themed illustration that guides you through the process from first contact to successful project completion.





1. First Contact

You get in contact with me, usually via email or phone and ask for a quote.



2. Ideas & Discussion

You may already have a very clear idea of what you’re after and how you want to use the completed design or you may need a bit of help. If you haven’t commissioned an illustrator before please be aware that there are some things I really must know before I can provide an accurate quote. Here is a list of the key things I will need to know/we will need to discuss.



3. The Brief

The Brief is just another name for your list of requirements from the commission. If you didn’t provide a brief at first contact then our discussion and the answers to my questions will have provided enough information for me to put together a brief with you.



4. My Quote

My quote will be based on what you’ve told me about your requirements (The Brief). If your requirements change over the course of the project then this may affect the quote amount.



5. Acceptance

On acceptance of my quote I will email you a formal ‘Commission Acceptance’ contract which includes standard Terms and Conditions and license information. I will also email you an invoice for the deposit which is usually 25% of the total quote.



6. Rough/1st version

Depending on your project I will email you the initial pencil sketches or first version of the illustration so you can review and comment on the design. We will discuss your feedback and work together to find a way forward.



7. Design Review & 8. Tweaks

Once the design stage is progressing you will have further opportunities to give me your feedback Again, we will discuss your comments. Any amends/tweaks will be incorporated into the design where possible. The final version of the design will be sent to you for approval.



9. Sign off & Delivery and 10. Final Invoice

Once the design has been approved & signed off I will send it to you in your chosen format. I will also email you my final invoice and, if you plan to sell the designs I will also send over a commercial licence.



11. Project Feedback

I ask most of my clients for project feedback but no one is under any obligation to provide any. It’s very useful for me as I can learn from your comments as well as use your recommendations to advertise my work.


thank you and goodbye

12. Thank you & Keep in Touch

Once the project has come to an end I hope that we’ll be able to work together again. I do like to keep in touch with past clients so I may contact you in the future, but you can opt out if you like.


I hope this blog post helps you better understand my working process. For reference you can download the guide here, but please feel free to contact me with any additional questions you might have.

Illustrated Map Tea Towels

18th June, 2019

Due to popular demand I've finally made time to produce some tea towels featuring my illustrated map of the UK and I'm pleased to say that they have been very well received. 


I didn't just want to stop at one tea towel so I've also designed a couple featuring an illustrated map of central London Landmarks and another brighter, more zingy coloured tea towel celebrating the illustrated architecture of London.


Each tea towel is made from 100% premium natural, 185gsm, 6.5oz unbleached cotton which makes them super absorbent & ideal for everyday use as well as a great souvenir, or housewarming present.

While stocks last, they can all be purchased from my online shop.

Illustrated Board Game for UK Power Networks

15th February, 2019

Welcome to my latest and the first Blog post of 2019 which finds me in much reduced circumstances...I've had to relocate out of my office to another part of the house because of building work. This has some advantages - a lovely view of the garden & closer to the kitchen, but the downside is that I am now in the coldest room of the house and having to work with at least one hot water bottle and a blanket strapped to my person at all times.

Towards the end of 2018 I was commissioned by Propeller Design to create a large-scale illustrated board game for UK Power Networks that could be used in UKPN internal training. The illustration had to reflect the diversity of the main activities & responsibilities of UKPN and be suitable to be viewed from all four sides at the same time by multiple groups of players.

Usually I'm commissioned to draw places that exist but this was different as I had free reign to use my imagination.....a very exciting prospect.  You can see the completed design below. 




I'm please to say that the completed design, my first toe-dip into the world of board game illustration was very well received :)

Illustrated Map of Liverpool & Happy Christmas

19th December, 2018

Well, it's almost Christmas & what a very busy year I've had - hence this being the the first time I've had a chance to write any news since May! There's been lots of news, just no time to write about it.

I've been pretty much working flat out on commissions and just about managed to eak out a small amount of time to work on my own projects.

Many of the commissions I've been working on won't be published until 2019 so no sneak previews I'm afraid, but the one thing I can show is an upcoming range of new maps for my Etsy shop. I'm starting in my northern homelands...can you guess where this is?


Happy Christmas & best wishes for the New Year.

New Wholesale Catalogue for Illustrated Map Prints and Cards

25th May, 2018

After many months of prevaricating due to illness, tight commission deadlines and the general busyness of having 3 children I've finally got my new Wholesale Catalogue finished and ready to send out. As anyone who has ever put one of these together you'll know the amount of blood, sweat & tears that goes into it and that's before you come to finding the appropriate busnesses to send it to and then lovingly crafting an introductory email to each and everyone.

I feel I've earned a couple of drinks this evening.

Illustrated cards.jpg


If you would like a copy of my latest Wholesale Catalogue and price list please contact me and I'll be delighted to send one.


In other news...if you are ever on the look out for a good cattery and live in the North Hampshire area then look no further than White Lane Cattery. It's set in beautiful countryside and your cats will have lots of birdlife to look at while they are very well cared for. I've even designed a little map so you can find it easily.

Whitelane Cattery map.png White Lane Cattery Map

Illustrated Map and Visitor Signage for Balmoral

12th March, 2018

I can't believe it's March already. I've been busy, busy, busy since my last post and my family have been sick, sick, sick with various colds, flu etc hence the late Happy New Year post :)


The big news is that I've now completed my wonderful commission for a new visitor map for the Balmoral Estate. Back in mid-November, on my birthday, I was contacted about designing a new illustrated visitor map to accompany the existing Balmoral Audio Tour - what a fantastic birthday surprise. A few weeks later I flew up for a snowy tour of the grounds & to take lots of pictures and notes (with accompanying husband - he was never going to let me visit the Highlands without him).


We then stayed in Ballater for an extra day to climb Lochnagar. I had forgotten just how totally amazing the Highlands are. The feeling of being miles from everywhere is wonderful.  Last time we walked up Lochnagar was 17 years ago, Millenium New Year, we camped and it was blowing a gale - obviously we were younger and more wreckless :) This time the weather was perfect - very cold but still, sunny weather and the views were amazing.....and we stayed in a hotel.




These pictures don't really do the place justice.

Balmoral is well worth a visit I absolutely loved being shown around the grounds. It's such an interesting place & set in the most beautiful surroundings. If I could just persuade our 3 children that being outdoors & climbing up very big hills is fun I'd be straight back there.