Exercise 03: Writing a Brief Key Steps in Illustration Part 2

Key Steps in Illustration: Writing a Brief

Writing a brief

This exercise asked me to write a brief to an existing illustration my choice in retrospect. What I would imagine the brief actually looked like that resulted in this piece of work. I should also include things like context, target audience, any stylistic aspects, materials, tools.

I decided to look at a recent New Yorker magazine cover because I think they have fantastic cover illustrations, and give a good context – rather than picking a random image from one of my favourite illustrators.

Take a look at the artwork created by  Gayle Kabaker.

This exercise asked me to write a brief to an existing illustration my choice in retrospect. What I would imagine the brief actually looked like that resulted in this piece of work. I should also include things like context, target audience, any stylistic aspects, materials, tools.

Brief: Create a autumn fashion cover for The New Yorker 

Please create an illustration about autumn fashion show, featuring a fashion model in an autumn scene with leaves falling from trees.  The model and the leaves should blend into each other.

The illustration will be the cover image, representing the main story of this issue. It should draw in readers and introduce them to the topic of the latest fashion trends for the upcoming autumn/winter season. The readers are educated, with a global view and interested in world news and fashion.

Use autumn colours, primarily red, orange, olive green, yellow and stick to a warm colour scheme to convey a cosy atmosphere.

Include “The New Yorker” logo, prize and issue date at the top. See previous examples here for reference.

Use water colours/guache style like your usual fashion illustrations, with abstractions and simplified figures that only show mouth in faces. The illustration should not be too realistic, but rather focus on a simplified and modern style.

The illustration should be for the magazine print version (Din A4). The digial version for the New Yorker website is to include a GIF animation (falling leaves).

Please share two initial ideas with the editor to agree one direction, and then work on the agreed version.

Learnings: I do write briefs for designers (mainly web design) at work, and usually give the theme and the dimensions what I need, leaving them the freedom to work on ideas themselves. Over the time I came to understand what they look for in the brief, and that they also like to see previous examples or references what style it should be, as too much freedom also means that there is the chance that all suggestions are rejected.

This exercise helped me to understand that I probably need to be a bit more precise when writing a brief, especially in specifying what should be pictured, describing the style, the context, and colour scheme.

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