After over 15 years and approximately 160 (mostly) monthly illustrations for a company that produces media for workplace subscription services, the illustration you see above is probably the last one. The main art director retired earlier this year, and now it’s been months since I have gotten a call from the company. I was sort of warned this might be coming by some of the people I usually worked with there… the new folks in charge want to move in a “different direction”. I’m sad to see it end because I loved working with the art department there, and it was a very long association. It doesn’t surprise me, though.
This is commonplace in the freelance world. Your work is inevitably tied to the art directors you illustrate for. When editorial or art department personnel change, the last thing they want to do is the same thing the last art department folks were doing. Everyone feels the need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s happened to me many times. I would do a lot of work for a certain client for a few years, then art directors change and it’s over.
This is why it’s important as a freelancer to keep pursuing new work and new clients. Nothing lasts forever. Sometimes the art director who moves on calls you again to do work for where ever they landed, but often they do not because they don’t want to be any more tied to a certain look than their replacements did. You just have to keep on knocking on doors until a new one opens. I’ve found that a new door is always waiting for you… you just have to keep on trying the knobs.
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281 New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550
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