Elwood H. Smith
Monkeys Are Professionals. Always.
APRIL 5, 2006
Green Monkey has been in the business of freelance illustration for a zillion years and you'd think he would be resigned to clients making changes to his work.
Sadly, Monkey is just as prickly and dismayed every time a sketch comes back with changes. Luckily Mugwump, his wife, rep, business manager and creative partner, acts as a buffer. Here's the kind of e-mail she gets in response to an e-mailed sketch:
"Monkey, we LOVE IT!!!! Honest to God, we were rolling around the floor, our sides splitting and our guts spewing all over my new 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro. However, we have one or two minor changes. The Editor (that's his real name) wants to lose the pig's hat. The duck would be more convincing if you removed his shoes. I mean, does anyone actually wear wing-tips anymore? And he's too fat. Could you trim him down a bit? The Editor has weight problems. Fat ducks make him nervous. Also, you've put the spider on a motorcycle, which is hilarious, but might send a dangerous message to teens. Better to play it safe and put her in a Honda Civic. Make sure it has side airbags.
"Oh, and one more little tweak--while the elephant is PERFECT, we don't want to get into politics here, so please change it to a snake. We realize it'll completely alter your composition, so you might want to add some other animals to fill up the void. Make them moles or wolverines. Avoid cats--the Editor is allergic to cats. And no dogs. A dog bit me when I was a baby. Dogs creep me out.
"Can we see a revision early this afternoon? Again, Monkey, we LOVE the sketch!"
Monkey begins his usual rant. Mugwump rolls her eyes. Monkey calms down, but is depressed. He swears to the Gods of Commercial Art that he can't take it anymore. He makes a cup of tea laced with rum. Monkey is suddenly ravenous and slobbers together an almond butter sandwich with cranberry sauce. He chases the sandwich with a banana. He belches loudly as he leaves the kitchen. Mugwump rolls her eyes. Monkey returns to the drawing table, whines a little and makes the changes. The client is delighted. They say it's a GO!!!! With only one small change--they really loved that darned elephant. Would it be too much trouble to dump those wolverines & bring back the elephant?
Sometimes Mugwump convinces the client that the changes are arbitrary and severely weaken the art. Sometimes the Editors have the ability to see Monkey's extraordinary brilliance when it is pointed out to them. Sometimes the Word Experts honor the highly honed skills of the Image Experts. And sometimes it snows in July.
Topical: The Monkey Files