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Scott Bakal
"Good News! Winning Streak! Happy!"
posted:
Alien and the Happiness Diamond | Acrylic and Ink
The title of this post is actual art direction!

I'd like to thank SooJin Buzelli for being the first art director to hire me to use my alien character in a commissioned piece!  Largely, this character has remained mainly in my sketchbook and gallery art for the last 2-3 years.  I am really fond of him and all the stories I've been developing over the years.  Hopefully soon, I'll have some product to put out there over this next year.

I actually added this sketch on right at the very end of some other ideas I had going on and in less than 5 minutes of sending her the email, she responded that she wanted the last one.  I even told her I put it in there as sort of an aside and asked if she was sure that she wanted that one.  Yup!  Okey dokey!
One of things that I love which I eventually figured out within the context of my career is to do whatever the hell you want.  I was always nervous about perceptions of art directors and what I thought the 'market' wanted of me.  It kept me stagnant for so many years.  I am sure a lot of illustrators think about this or have thought about this sort of thing at one point or another.

Somewhere along the way in the last 6 years, I gave up and decided to do what I wanted and created the images, use the symbols, draw the way I want to draw and use the colors that I want to use.  To hell with the market!

I understand that I provide content that needs to fall within a conceptual framework often which I am totally cool with...it is the nature of being an illustrator.  But if I am not having fun with it, then what's the point?  The work I've been doing these last years is the most personal and most fun I've had in my career.  With a positive attitude and positive feelings about the art I make comes the work.  I've never been busier.  (Knocking on wood.)

Thank you SooJin for believing in me and some of my twisted visions and all the other artists you hire.  Not only for their picture-making abilities but for their personal visions of the concepts you need illustrated.  Because of this, and I think many may agree, especially when they first work with you, it is terrifying to get the email from you for a job.  We get that one word or phrase and have to translate it into some visual.  Somehow, with this abstract art direction, we have to somehow come up with a knock-out-of-the-park image to stand up to the other amazing illustrators in the same issue....because we all know that each issue is going to be loaded with amazing art.  Yikes!  Terrifying!

In the end, every issue you art direct is eye-candy because of this allowance of personal vision.  Congrats on such good designing and art directing.
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Bakal is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!