Illustrating a point, drawing conclusions

Sitting in my office doing some illustration I had a flashback to my first ‘real’ job as a designer back in the late nineties. There were two bosses,  they were chalk and cheese. Where one saw creativity the other saw only hard-to-define labour costs. I was working on graphics for an ‘online shop’ selling the new DVD format and did some Sci-fi inspired illustrations, so the website would have some nice original content. Boss #2 saw that I had a sketch pad and pencil drawing out ideas. He stopped me and got me doing something else, can’t quite remember…scanning dvd covers or something like that. The point was he didn’t like what I was doing.

Publicity illustrations for PR company JWCPR

Publicity illustrations for PR company JWCPR

I’ll grant you this was in Sunderland in an office next to a warehouse in 1998, but I was employed as a designer for his emerging website company and he couldn’t bring himself to accept what I was doing was work. He liked to see the the finished work and show it off, but couldn’t deal with seeing the creative process, certainly I felt I had to hide the early stages of a project from him. Eventually I got frustrated and left.

Now  I’ve the benefit of hindsight. Being self-employed I have to balance budgets between the creativity and the more practical leg-work, or more specifically hand-work, and can guess that concept work will take that little bit longer than I think it will, so I budget based on individual projects. Boss #2 came from a different background to me, if a cost needed cutting the first thing to go would be the ‘airy-fairy nonsense’ of drawing pictures – the ‘hand-work’ needs doing. However that needs guidance, and as I’m doing both it’s important to find a good balance between the two, so at the end there not just something to see, but something to show off.