What we spoke about at Chromacon

Creatives from WMC New Zealand were delighted to host a panel talk on the last day of indie art festival Chromacon last month.


Daron Parton, Dede Putra, Shannon Jahnel Lanktree, Simon Shaw, Stevie Mahardhika and David Way faced the audience to discuss a wide range of topics centred around the theme of process and storytelling in illustration.


Do designers and illustrators need a tertiary education to be successful?


When asked whether it was imperative to get a degree to be successful in this industry, Creative Director David Way suggested that a good portfolio is more important.


He went on to say that while a degree won’t magically kick start your career, he believes that the people you meet while studying, the ideas you’re exposed to, and the wide range of different practices provide a huge advantage over someone who is simply learning how to operate software online.


Face to face VS online learning

When asked about the merits of learning about design in a face to face environment vs online, Shannon Jahnel Lanktree shared from her own experience attending University.


She put forward the opinion that while students can learn the required software and principles online, there’s a great benefit to be gained in a face to face learning environment where you can engage with other artists, teachers and students, learn how to work in a team, and understand how to give and receive feedback.

Shannon Jahnel Lanktree talks about the benefits of learning design in a face to face environment

‘I gave the example of how I went to Uni to study graphic design, but learned about art as a whole,’ says Shannon. ‘In that sharing environment I absorbed information about different artists, practices and tools, and gained an understanding of how to think differently and openly to help solve creative problems. I believe that it made me a much better creative.’


The process of illustrating a book

Stevie Mahardhika took the audience through the process he undertakes when illustrating a picture book.


He begins by becoming familiar with the publisher’s brief, ensuring that he has a thorough understanding of what it’s about and what is required of the characters he needs to create.


After undertaking research into the types of characters or animals he needs to craft, he begins the character development stage, moving on to storyboard and thumbnails, then to roughs. Once everything is approved he creates final art.


Charging licensing fees for illustration work

Creative Director David Way was asked whether WMC charge license fees for creative work.


‘Yes,’ was David’s answer, who sees licensing fees as a way of providing a manageable costing structure for clients. ‘We see it as an opportunity to charge the client only for the usage they need from the work. If they will never create a national TV show from our character or sell merchandise featuring the character, then we shouldn’t charge them for it. Limiting the usage of a piece reduces the potential value of the work, so that we can keep costs down.’


David Way talks about licensing


Costing and licensing of creative work is always a hot topic! We recently had an internal discussion about creative costing models and will be sharing an article on that subject soon.