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Working Successfully with Clients: A Class for Illustrators and Designers

Lesson 14 of 19

Phases of a Freelance Illustration or Design Job

Lisa Congdon

Working Successfully with Clients: A Class for Illustrators and Designers

Lisa Congdon

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Lesson Info

14. Phases of a Freelance Illustration or Design Job

Lesson Info

Phases of a Freelance Illustration or Design Job

All right, now we're gonna get into the phases of a freelance illustration or design job. Typical phases are onboarding, so this is you've signed the contract, you've negotiated all the things out of it that you don't want, you're ready to begin. Then there's the sketch and feedback phase and the final artwork phase and then, last but not least, let's never forget this one, the wrap phase, this is a really important one. So let's start by talking about onboarding. So usually, during onboarding, you get introduced to members of the team you might be working with. Sometimes you'll only work with one person the entire project, and sometimes you'll work with two or three people. So those introductions typically happen sometimes after the contract is signed, okay? You'll also get more specific art direction and a fully fleshed-out creative brief or style guide, so this, for whatever sort of skeleton of an idea you had about what you were gonna be doing, this is the time to ask all of the qu...

estions that they couldn't answer until you signed a contract, all right? Some companies have style guides, like I did some work for Airbnb once and they had like this entire PDF that had their brand colors and all of the dos and donts that I needed to abide by in the work that I was doing for them, and a lot of bigger companies have a style guide and you need to read it, and this is the time when you would get sent that information. This is again the opportunity for you to dig in and make sure you have all the information you need to begin the assignment, okay? This is when you ask every question. Make sure you're clear on all of the art direction, the look, the feel, the mood, the style. Be pesky in your question-asking. Better to enter the assignment knowing everything. Do they have any specific inspiration images or reference images they'd like you to use? How many rough sketches does the client want you to present, actually that should already be in the contract. Is there a specific color palette they want you to use? That's not usually relevant until final artwork phase, but fine to ask in the beginning. What format the files need to be delivered, again, you should probably already know that but get clear. What are the dimensions with bleed? All of that good stuff.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 

Establishing yourself as a professional illustrator or designer requires a lot of dedication to building skill, brand and visibility. Equally important, yet often underestimated, is the development of client interaction skills. Working with clients takes practice! It’s not easy and it’s not always intuitive. Knowing how to communicate with clients clearly and effectively is a skill that will ultimately set you apart as a professional illustrator.

Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon has worked with over 75 clients around the world, including MoMA, REI Co-op, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. In this class she will share the knowledge she has acquired during her successful career, highlighting time-proven strategies for working effectively with clients. She will also discuss common mistakes to avoid when dealing with clients.

Lisa will teach you the skills you need to enter into client relationships with clarity and confidence.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to communicate effectively and professionally with potential clients.
  • What questions to ask when being approached by a potential client
  • What to look for in a creative brief
  • How to consider phases and deliverables of a project
  • How to consider fee negotiation.
  • How to read through a contract.
  • How to address change of project scope with a client.
  • And so much more...


Caroline Fidelaire

Great class packed very useful tips for entrepreneurs in illustration and design and great email examples on how to: - respectfully and gratefully communicate with clients in the diverse phases of the production line - negotiate a contract and your fees - how to proceed to bidding for a work contract Lisa is a wonderful speaker. A wonderful class well worth its 3 hours length.

Scavenger Annie

Right from the start of class Lisa offers up her pearls of wisdom. Absolutely jam-packed with information on working with clients, illustration agents & art directors in the commercial world. All very relevant to other careers in the creative realm too, especially when Lisa talks about the language & negotiation of contracts. Clear, concise teaching & my fingers are burning from typing so fast as I made notes! A wonderful class that has motivated me to pursue commercial illustration with my brand Northern Bird Designs. Thank you for the top guidance & inspiration Lisa! Looking forward to the next class on managing workflows.

Neelam Kaur

Lisa has immense knowledge about the industry and she shares the same with Artist Community in the form of Books, E-courses, Workshops. This class is jam-packed with great information which as an Freelance or as an New Illustrator we struggle and feel we had someone to help us understand. And I must say, the Skillshare & CreativeBug Classes other than Creative Live Classes, she focuses it all from an artist standpoint. As a Freelance Illustrator Artist I struggled managing the other aspects of my Art Business which I feel so confident after this class. And most of all I know my worth! Thank you Lisa!