We’re big fans of Facebook cover photo commissions because they often enjoy better viewership than the average commission on a wall would get. Think about it- how many people visit your house every day versus your Facebook page?
This Facebook cover illustration commissioned by Abby is one of our favorites. Clay Graham did the art. You can commission a Facebook cover photo of your own in this style by visiting his commission style page.
In addition to having really fun taste in art, Abby is an author. You can learn more about her writing and gain some helpful art commission tips from the Q&A below.
Backstory Behind the Piece – Q&A with Abby
ArtCorgi (AC): What inspired this unforgettable composition?
Abby (A): To be honest, part of it sprang from necessity. I used to be really bad at smiling for photos, so I needed to find an alternative for the back of my books. The idea for incorporating other elements besides myself was probably more inspired by the author portraits from really old books. I’ve seen anything from pictures of an author and his pet bear or an author on his ship to, one my personal favorites, a classically painted portrait, and I thought, well, if it’s not an actual photo anyway, why not make it more fun? I scribbled down the initial idea some five years ago, trying to come up with the most epic thing I could, and it’s been sitting on a post-it on my desk ever since. When I saw your post about grandiose portraits, I decided to throw it out there.
AC: You come from a family of artists, and therefore know a lot about providing adequate information when having art commissioned. What are the top tips you would pass on to those who are completely new to the world of art commissioning?
A: For me, I think the process boils down to four different parts. The first of these is knowing what you want. This includes anything from who you want in your piece, the final size and whether or not you want a background or color, to more complicated things like composition (where you want your elements on your page), specific colors, style, mood or, more complicated still, message, story or branding. Some of these will directly affect your piece. Some of them won’t. Knowing how you intend to use your final piece (who it is for, what you are trying to say to them, and how you want them to feel or react) will help you figure that out. It will also help you prioritize which elements are most important. As my dad (speaking from 30+ years of graphic design and illustration experience) would say, “If everything is the most important, nothing is.”
Secondly, and this can be more subtle, know what you like. This may seem silly or obvious, but knowing not only what you like in art but why you like it really helps. Look at pieces of art you like and find common threads between them. Are there specific colors or tones you like? Compositions? Styles? Materials? Find examples of work you like and don’t be afraid to pass it on as part of your reference materials. Conversely, know what you don’t like. If there is a color or pose you can’t stand, be sure to let them know!
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is communicate your ideas clearly. Proofread your communications. Have someone else read it first if you’re not sure that it makes sense. Being as specific as you can up front will help you avoid edits later, which is really important since you only have one round of revisions. Better to spend that on small tweaks than on sweeping changes you may not like. Give clear reference photos from multiple angles if necessary, and don’t forget to include details on things (when applicable) like angles, colors, tones, mood, story, or composition. Communicate your vision or purpose for the piece if you can, and if you want a specific facial expression or pose, send them a picture of that.
Lastly, and this is the fun one, trust (and thank!!) your artist. This all may have seemed like a lot to take in, but the great thing about working with artists is that this is what they do. They put ideas to page/screen for a living (and a passion!), so when you aren’t sure what you want or which direction to go, give them a couple options and see what they do! They’ll be glad that you trusted them and when you see your final piece, so will you! Thanking them (and the people at ArtCorgi managing the in between stuff) isn’t really a step, but it is nice to do.
AC: What sort of writing do you produce as an author? Fiction? Non-fiction? Historical? Present day? Any particular genre?
A: As an author I mainly write in the genre of young adult, though I have strayed off into others for short stories and (what a twist!) my stageplay, which lands firmly in the realm of comedy. Within the genre of YA, my work usually straddles the lines between action, adventure, sci-fi and fantasy. My work is heavily character driven, either using the characters to ask or answer some kind of question or focusing on the struggles of one or more characters going through some kind of life shift, be it a coming of age story or finding a new point of view. I’m currently seeking representation for my first novel, Machine, and my stageplay, Kleptokiddia (way funnier and way less sketchy than the title suggests), but if you want to contact me or check out any of my work right now, you can find links on the about page of my blog/website, brainnoms.wordpress.com.