Creating an illustration for an event promotion

Energise your business in 2020 . Illustartion by @sandratsuafer for @headsupcoaching
Final illustration for 'Energise your business in 2020' coaching event for Heads-up Coaching

Creating an illustration for an event promotion

I have been working as an illustrator for Lyndsey Segal from Heads-up Coaching for over a year. I have helped her with the online brand identity for her coaching business and workshops to make her events stand out.

Above is my latest illustration for this event:

'Energise your business in 2020'. If you’re looking for a fresh and dynamic way to promote and grow your business in 2020 – then this event is for you!

I have attended a few of her coaching & networking sessions and I have improved my business plan and learnt how to set realistic goals. I have also become better at networking and self-promotion, which doesn't come easy as an illustrator.

So how do I manage the process for an event illustration like this?

Most importantly, I ask for a good brief, which outlines:

  • the audience (and how to communicate with them)
  • explains clearly the message I need to convey
  • identifies the format and output (where the illustration will feature), quality and print process
  • and outlines, if the illustration requires adaption to a simplified version.

To help me understand exactly what the message is, I will ask many questions and request examples. This will save me time in the long run. Some clients, like Lyndsey, are good at writing briefs - and I love that! I will need that brief to test the final illustration against it.

Draft illustration for 'Energise your business in 2020' coaching event

If a client comes to me, they will have seen my style and will have chosen me on that premise. I have a clear style which is hand-drawn on an iPad, with strong black outlines and filled in with graphical areas of colour. Some of my illustrations are 'flatter' and more graphical than others, some incorporate more shading and layers. Being a graphic designer leads me to a graphical style. [Example portfolio here]. I have remained true to one style and have always hoped that the client will buy into this. I may adapt my style of drawing to each individual client slightly, to give it that personality. My ambition is to create a set of illustration, which represent the client's brand identity and makes their content stand out.

Heads-up Coaching like a strong, bright palette with vibrant and warm colours. I try to maintain this as a visual element throughout all of the illustrations. I use layers of shades and dots to identify the sequential narrative.

I sketch first to outline the ambition and to achieve a clear vision of where I am heading

The beauty of illustration is that an image is able to illustrate the unreal. Illustration is powerful, it can communicate a message, tone and personality in a way words cannot.

We can be creative with our story-telling and 'make-up' new realities. I love that. The illustration can be very specific and describe the content precisely within its own context. Illustrations are the visuals, drawings or work of art that explain, clarify, illuminate, visually represent and enhance a text. With the right tone of voice in an illustration, we can create a certain mood.

Sketching ideas first is definitely the right way forward as illustration is time-consuming. The client will pay for the end-product, not the process, so having a good sketch approach helps streamline this process.

I often start with some research and try to find some metaphors to see if I can create a certain twist telling the story. I sketch for a while and only later decide which path I am going to take, working into more detail with the help of the client who understands the message. It is so important to experiment every time and tell your own story.

Knowing the format and the output quality

From the outset, I will make sure I have the right format before I start. Essential! (proportions, quality, uses, colour palettes etc.)

What will I delivery?

I discuss early what I will be producing / delivering. Here is an example:

  • 2 sketches to visualise the direction. This shows I have understood the brief. This may be a sign-off stage
  • 1 piece artwork, including 2 rounds of amends
  • 1 print-ready artwork e.g. JPG, EPS or PDF.

Asking for feedback early

It is essential to involve the client early to establish if the right direction has been met and if the content is being communicated accurately. Iterations are time-consuming.

I make sure I understand the narrative and message from the outset, which is then reflected in my sketches. [I could do better on that one...]

Checking the final product against the brief. Checking the quality

The feedback from the client and checks against the brief defines if the project has been successful. For me, the benchmark is also 'portfolio': Will it make it into my top 10s? That's important. Can I put my name to it? Not always easy, in a commercial environment, but important to have integrity as it will affect my brand.

I always make sure the artwork is signed off. If after delivery, the illustrations end up within a page-spread and don't fit, the client may come back and ask for amends. Happy to do this, but if it is outside of the brief, I may have to charge more as this will be extra work. I ask the client to consider this at outset to avoid surprises.

Visual consistency for product illustrations

If I am lucky to have landed a series of illustrations, I make sure to note down document set up, colour palette, pen sizes and pen flow. I do this via Adobe Creative Cloud libraries e.g. for swatches and patterns. I also take screenshots of my Ipad Adobe Draw pen setups and leave these within a layer of the projects. This helps with the consistency of visual language for each project, as I may want to vary your style slightly for each client.

Signing the work

Once the illustration is signed off and I am happy with it, I have to put my name to it and make sure I add copyright. See information here

I ask the client to give me a Google review or write a testimonial. I then share, if the client has allowed this. This will help with my pipeline. Shortly after I will ask the client of forthcoming projects to schedule this in.

I love working on events promotion illustrations. They are always new and different and carry so much hope. So much work goes into event preparation and hence this is deserving of quality, bespoke and tailored promotion.

It's nice that I have found a client in Heads-up Coaching who see priority in an illustration and not just a nice to have. Illustration in context can add richness to their story and help promote their events.


Interesting reference: '

'Introducing illustration in your product' by Irene Falgueras