Back in May of this past year, I was looking for a place to stay in Ottawa, for the annual Ottawa Comiccon. I was fortunate enough to have a good friend, Steph, who’s sister and fiance live up there. She recommended that I contact them to see if they could have me sleep on their couch for a few days. I contacted Emilie, Steph’s sister and she was very inviting, offering to put me up in my very own room!
The weekend of the con, I drove up to their house and was greeted by Graham, Emilie’s fiancé. He had gotten some beers for the occasion so I knew I had found a kindred spirit, as I had come with some of my own as well.
While waiting for Em to get home, Graham and I chatted about everything and eventually got onto the topic of the personalized illustrations. Because I always bring a portfolio of my samples to cons, I was at the ready, and had it out for him to look over. Right away he and I started coming up with a scenario of what he and Em would do if they were to get a personalized commission. Because they are old souls, he imagined a 40s style pinup crossed with a fishing type magazine cover, where Graham would be in his fishing garb, with Emilie in a beautiful pose sunning herself on a rocky outcropping of the bank. This would disrupt Graham’s fishing as he stares at the gorgeous woman he had been sharing a picnic with.
Before Emilie even got home, a fully realized illustration had come to life and we were just plotting out details. Of course being a very thoughtful fiancé, he needed to chat with her about getting a commission, which I very much understood! When she got home he showed her the portfolio, and before he even said anything, she was already imagining an illustration as well. They were very much in sympatico.
The collaborative process between me and my clients is a very organic one. Sometimes they need help with ideas, and sometimes they come with fully formed ones. In this situation, it was very even, with me, Graham and Emilie coming up with ideas, in rapid fire succession. By the end of the day, I knew exactly what it would look like with a very strong visual in my mind. It makes me very excited to get to draw something so clearly imagined in my head!
The end product was very close to what we had talked about. There was a bit of tweaking in regards to some of the details, but those change changes enhanced the illustration. This project was especially fun, as I was able to do research into the types of clothing worn during that time, as well as look at some classic pin-up girls from the 40s. Plus Graham and Em, brought a great energy to the commission which makes it all worth while!