This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Transcript: 5/13/10; plus takeaways!

TOPIC: What are your best habits to maintain professional client relations?

Communicate clearly and in a timely manner
Respond to emails promptly
Post a breakdown of commissioning information on your web site
Clients expect honest input: be flexible, but don't be a pushover

Set up a project schedule at the outset
Set realistic deadlines for illustrations and approvals
Emphasize that deadlines cannot be met if client does not respond to preliminaries as scheduled

Work only under contract or an illustrator agreement w/invoice
Sample form: http://melindabeavers.wufoo.com/forms/proposal-acceptance-form
Another resource for forms: Breaking into Freelance Illustration, by Holly DeWolf
Contracts can help you filter out non-serious clients and offer some protection if client refuses to pay for work

Insist on staged payments
Half up front; or partial upon completion of sketches, upon approval to go to color, and upon final approval

Don't be tempted to take a job you know is not right for you, just because it's offered

If a client makes a bad decision regarding art, or requests something you feel will not work, try reasoning: your opinion is one of the reasons they hired you
One suggestion: prepare two mockups, to demonstrate your point
If all else fails, ask client to sign off on request

Document everything
Save emails, notes, reference sketches, preliminaries, everything related to a project, and back up your files

Tweet-up, SCBWI-LA 2011 . . . start saving up now! :-)

Tweet of the night:
@reneekurilla summed up the advice this way:
" . . . be honest about how long it will take you to make the art and don't agree to anything crazy!"

Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 5-13-10

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