20.10.16 by Jeff

Opinion: How to Email an Illustrator

We recently came across an article proposing the most efficient way to communicate with an illustrator, and it’s relevant for anyone looking to hire creatives of any discipline. Illustrator Kyle T. Webster wrote the article to act as “a guideline that will lead to improved communication, fewer revisions, better artwork, and fewer headaches for all involved”.
If you’re a freelance creative and have any thoughts to add, or you’re an art director with a counterpoint, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

1. Your first email to an illustrator should not read: “Hey, are you available for an assignment?”
This kind of email is a waste of everybody’s time, because all of the important information is missing: size and number of illustrations, context, timeline, and budget. In order to reduce the back-and-forth between the individual assigning the art, and the illustrator, simply take a moment to include the important information in the initial email request.
For example: “Hello, John – we are publishing a story about the ongoing conflict between hedgehogs and walruses. We will need a cover, a full page, and two spot illustrations. The deadline for sketches is March 1st, and the finals will be due March 8th. Our budget is $3750. Are you available / interested in working with us on this assignment? Please let me know by 5pm today. Thank you.”
With one email, you have now given the artist all of the info needed for him/her to decide whether or not to accept the job. This used to be the standard introductory email for all assignments. I’m not sure what happened, but I, and many illustrators I know, rarely get emails like this any more. Let’s fix that.
2. Please do not expect illustrators to read minds.
Details are very important. When sending emails about your job, give as many relevant details as possible to an artist, if the assigned artwork has specific requirements. Illustrators are very capable of drawing anything you need, but we cannot guess what that might be if we are not told up front. For example, if you tell an illustrator to draw “a car on a street,” then the illustrator will assume the make and model of the car are not important. S/he will also assume the street can be any kind of street. Therefore, it is not fair to the artist to reject the final art because you expected a vintage Porsche on the Autobahn. Please be sure to communicate all required elements of the art in your earliest correspondence with your artist, and it will be smooth sailing for all.
Sometimes, very little direction is preferred, if the assignment calls for a lot of artistic freedom and interpretation. But, let us not confuse this with a lack of relevant information. For instance, the recent recipient of the Richard Gangel Art Director Award, SooJin Buzelli, is famous for giving her artists a lot of freedom. But let us note that when she assigns work, she actually has spent a good deal of time figuring out a way to distill a complex article down to its essential message or theme. She then sends this one or two sentence summary to a carefully selected illustrator, providing that individual with a perfect launchpad from which to create a unique visual solution. Concise and efficient.
3. Please write back. Please.
This is just common courtesy. I often get asked if I am available for an illustration and I then respond in the affirmative with some questions about the assignment or the budget or some other detail. Then, no reply ever comes. A week later, I will see another artist blog about completing the very same assignment that was initially emailed to me. While I understand that everybody is very busy, and emails are flying around at the speed of light, I urge you to please remember that it is unprofessional and quite rude to simply leave an artist hanging.
We often will put other things on hold or rework our weekly schedule to accommodate a project that we think is moving forward. A simple email to let us know that you will be working with somebody else, the job is cancelled, the issue is on hold, etc. is all we need to move on and stay on top of our other jobs. Thank you.

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19.10.16 by Staff

Sponsored: Introducing Envato Elements


Envato has just introduced a new resource called Envato Elements that offers more than 6000 curated design assets, for any type of project you may be working on, created by global community of independent designers.

Envato is offering a limited time launch pricing of $29/month, which grants you access to commercial licenses to massive libraries of fonts, graphics, web templates (HTML/CSS), graphic templates and soon to come CMS templates. New items will also be added on a weekly basis to each category. Perfect for any one that has a regular need for high quality ready-to-use design assets. Learn more about Envato Elements in the video below:

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19.10.16 by Jeff

Creative App of the Day: Generate


A new version of Generate has hit the app store and this one includes a partnership with Adobe which allows users to go between the app and the Adobe platform allowing for even more creative freedom. Generate has been used by artists like the Flaming Lips and for some of the visuals for the opening sequence to the Wachowski’s Netflix series Sense 8.

Definitely had some fun playing around with the various filters in the app, and the integration of music-triggered effects is cool too. Excited to see where this app goes. Shout out to our buddy Malcolm who created the app, cool to see something like this come out of Vancouver!

Generate is having a creative showcase of the app at Adobe’s space in New York, more info here.

13.10.16 by Jeff

Booooooom TV Guide: Best Animations of the Week


If you haven’t been keeping up, this week there’s lot of new animation work on our video platform, Booooooom TV. We pick the best of the web and throw in some of our own video productions in there too. Hopefully you’ll see a bunch of stuff here that you won’t find anywhere else.

I recommend watching:

1) Benjy Brooke’s terrific short “Power Hungry” (wish it was longer).

2) A film about a record-breaking flight created using an old typewriter.

3) Animation for Sneaks “Tough Luck” – love the drawing style!



19.09.16 by Jeff

Constructive Criticism: Share Your Work


After all the responses last time, thought it’d be nice to do this again! Every week I get lots of emails asking for feedback on work and it’s pretty overwhelming and impossible to get through them all. The Monthly Reader Submissions posts exist for this very reason (so if you want to submit work please continue to share your work through these posts).

I wanted to try out a slightly different post here, one dedicated to providing people with some constructive criticism and feedback on the things they’re making. If you’re brave enough to share an image and link of your work below I will try to provide you with some feedback but also, and more importantly (because there’s only one of me), I’d like to invite other readers to give some polite, helpful, insightful comments to those submitting as well! It’s really hard to step outside yourself and see your own work with fresh eyes, and having a bunch of different sets of eyes provide feedback may help you improve.

Ideally the feedback is honest and direct (but not mean), and people in this community can actually spur each other onto to create stronger work. I realise this is a delicate balance to strike especially on the Internet so we’ll see how it goes.

To submit work or provide feedback open up the full post (either by clicking on the post title, the image above or the link at the bottom) and scroll down to the comments section. Please read the guidelines below!



1. If you share your own work here, please also leave some feedback for others that have posted work. It helps the community!

2. Please don’t flood the comments with a dozen images, just post 1 image that represents your best work along with 1 link.

3. Keep in mind your post may not show up right away because it has an image attached. It may need to be manually approved first so don’t freak out and post a million times, once is enough. This is not about curation, it’s the way our commenting system is setup.

4. If you are providing feedback for someone please remember: Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome. (via)



16.09.16 by Staff

Giveaway: Tom Gauld’s Mooncop


London-based illustrator and cartoonist Tom Gauld probably doesn’t need an introduction. His work has appeared in outlets like The New Yorker, The Believer and The New York Times. He’s also been doing a weekly series of comics for The Guardian’s Saturday Review since 2005 — a collection of which became his second comic book, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack (2013).

His latest masterpiece, Mooncop, is similar in tone to his first graphic novel, Goliath (2012) — a deadpan retelling of the Bible story. Set in a future where the idea of living on the moon isn’t just a possibility but a reality so passé that the one remaining policeman has little to do other than watch the last few colonists move back to Earth, Mooncop brilliantly side-steps obvious drama, focusing instead on things that are far more mundane and all too relatable.

Mooncop hits stores September 20th! Thanks to our friends over at Drawn & Quarterly, we have two copies to give away! They also put us in touch with Tom, who was kind enough to tell us a bit about his process, how he stays motivated and what had him laughing so hard he had to stop drawing! Check out the full interview below and share your favourite book or movie set in space in the comments for your chance to win!

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30.08.16 by Staff

Booooooom Giveaway: Pictoplasma NYC Conference Tickets!


Pictoplasma is headed to Mexico and New York! Pictoplasma Academy will be in Mexico City October 25th – November 1st! Hosting inspirational lectures and daily workshops revolving around the theme of character development, the week-long program is designed to help a select group of participants further their personal style across a variety of mediums – from drawing and illustration to sculpture and visual storytelling. The deadline for applications is September 22nd. *We previously reported it was the 1st, but it appears there is still time to submit!

Following the Academy, Pictoplasma heads to New York City for a one-day art and design conference. Held on November 4th, the jam-packed program includes animation screenings, panel discussions and inspiring talks by artists like renowned illustrator Jean Jullien and GIF-wunderkind Julian Glander.

We’ve got 2 pairs of tickets to giveaway to the NYC conference! So if you can get yourself to New York (or you already live there) simply hit the “Read More” button and leave a comment below! Tell us about your favourite animated character, and why you like them. We’ll pick two winners in two weeks.

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22.08.16 by Jeff

Doodle Hunt Winners + The Big Doodle Reveal


A big thank you to everyone who took part in our Doodle Hunt with Society6! It was a lot of fun seeing all the tweets and stuff from all the hunters! A quick FYI, due to the small hiccup with the mailer we’ll be emailing every single one of you who found all the doodles with a little extra thank you for participating!

What a fun way to bring together the Booooooom and Society6 communities! Special thanks to our official Doodlers, Sara Maese, WishCandy, and Nicole Xu for creating some really terrific artwork for us (to hide)!

And now, here are the Doodle Hunt prize winners:

(2) Main Prizes: $500 Society6 Gift Cards:

Kristine V
Jonah C

(5) Secondary Prizes: $100 Society6 Gift Cards:

David A
Sam H
Phil R
Lucy R
Maria G

Congratulations to these lucky hunters, and thank you to everyone who participated. You will all be contacted via email, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Now for the big Doodle Reveal, have a look below at all the amazing artwork that we commissioned for the Doodle Hunt! Thanks again to the gang at Society6 and to everyone who participated, this was so much fun for us, hopefully for you too!

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