Sketches are More Valuable than Meetings

Sketches are better than meetings

At Union Illustration Co. we avoid meetings like the plague. If we can get it done without a meeting, then that’s the route we always choose. It’s all about productive conversation, and for us, meetings can create more confusion than just doing the work.

Our principal illustrator is known for saying, “I talk with pictures, then the clients ask the best questions.”

He believes a fifteen-minute meeting with a sketch is more valuable than an hour without one. So far he’s been proven correct. He books fewer meetings, solves more problems through a quick email or five-minute phone call, and saves his clients time – all while getting a great result. “It benefits the client. They aren’t nervous that we’re talking about different things or have different mental images. We know we’re speaking the same language when we speak with pictures.”

So what do we put in a sketch to make it work for you?
Time. Sketching is the longest part of our illustration process and where your investment is most valuable.

We spend time looking at all the details, ensuring we don’t miss anything that’s vital to your audience.

We spend time working out the composition, and ensuring it fits the format. Whether it’s an advertisement for a magazine or a web illustration there are always size restrictions. We make sure it all fits in an appealing way.

We spend the time and we are confident that there is value in the artwork. When we get to the final, you’ll be confident that we are on point.

In short, we’ve spent all that time thinking. When you hire an illustrator you should expect them to spend the bulk of their time thinking – for you.

Meeting Sketches

Here’s an example of a typical sketch we make for our corporate advertisers. Lot’s of meetings going on here but a lot or work as well.

In our last blog post {link} we talked about the value of thumbnails for you the client. In this one, we want to talk about why we always provide a sketch (or multiple sketches) before we complete the final work.

You should look forward to your sketch, because we want, and expect, you to be a part of the creative process. As much research as we do – you’re the expert on your business – and you might think of new things we may have missed.

After you get a sketch, it’s time to ask us questions. Our most successful clients ask why we made certain choices, they ask for insight into the details, they question our direction. There is no such thing as a silly question when commissioning an illustration.

Besides, we believe in our solutions, and we’re proud to justify them. But, if we need to make changes, this is the best time to make them.

Some clients want to wait until we do a final piece before they show it to a client or a manager. We believe this is the absolute worst course of action. We don’t expect you to show clients thumbnails, but if you take a final piece of art for approval before they’ve seen a sketch, be prepared for the client to feel insulted, for the art to be rejected, or worse for them to scrap the project.

Rejections happen because you haven’t included all the stakeholders at the most important point in the project. When stakeholders see a sketch, they intuitively know that the work isn’t finished, that they still have a say in the final output.

Some of our clients opt for us to complete several sketches to show their clients. They ensure stakeholders have the opportunity to provide as much feedback as needed.

Avoid confusion, delays and rejection. Take our sketches to your meetings and guarantee a successful project outcome.

Michael Grills

Author Michael Grills

Michael Grills is an Illustrator, Artist and Designer working internationally at Union Illustration Co. from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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