Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dear Art Director

-By Lauren Panepinto

I have something fun to share with you today. A little experiment that the secret team of Art Directors at Drawn + Drafted have been working on. (Oh, you thought it was just me & Marc? Not by a long shot.) We've got a lot of projects in the works, from the Make Art Work book, to all the Art Business Bootcamps we've created, to revamping the convention portfolio review process at Spectrum, and we've started a little experiment to help us get a little audience participation. It will help us fine-tune the bootcamps and make sure the book is absolutely covering everything about art business you need to know to have a healthy career as an artist.

So what is this little project? it's called Dear Art Director. Or "Dear AD" for short. Modeled on the "Dear Abby"-style advice columns of old, this is a place where artists can ask all their questions, and a secret panel of Art Directors will answer them one by one. Why a secret panel? Because Art Directors tend to be nice, and we sometimes pull our punches when we talk to you. On Dear AD, we will be talking to you straight and unvarnished. It's as close as you will ever get to overhearing what ADs say when there aren't any artists around. We are going to be laying the heavy truthbombs on you. Be prepared! We may even get a little snarky. But we will lighten the blows with humorous gifs, in true tumblr style!

Ready to play? Check out all the questions and answers that have already been posted.

Then ask your question here.

There aren't any strict rules, but we have developed some friendly Do's and Don'ts during our trial run and first batch of questions:
—DO read the questions that have already been answered so you don't ask the same thing.
—DON'T get annoyed if you get a short answer, or a link to a relevant article.
—DO remember that the art directors are volunteering their time solely to help YOU, the artists.
—DON'T assume you know which code name goes with which art director (we're sneaky).
—DO get ready for a lot of Supernatural gifs.

We've gone outside of the Fantastic Art scene and recruited a number of art directors from The Real World, so answers may vary a bit due to whether that particular AD is from publishing, editorial, gaming, or another field. However, all the advice is applicable, and we are all sharing our notes.

We also have a snazzy custom header in the works, but for now you'll have to make due with my fabulous stock-art stylings. Enjoy!

Daaamn, we're off to a running start. Check out that archive for July posts!


  1. Was just wishing for something like this yesterday! What a great thing to wake up to, especially with so many answers in the archive already!

    1. Awesome! Don't forget to add your own questions too!

  2. You guys are really too great.

  3. You guys are the absolute best for doing this :)

  4. Ha you should say that to the people who keep bitching online that our answers aren't long and in-depth enough, or different ADs are giving conflicting info. SIGH.

    1. Invariably you give the kids a Soto Knick-Knack 364 for $500 and they want a Soto 365. Something about a gift horse and a mouth. What you all are doing is pretty unprecedented.

  5. THANKS GUYS for that tumblr!!!! I already asked stuff there. Anonymously. Cause it's more mysterious.

    1. I like it better when they're anonymous honestly...if i recognize a name it's HARDER

  6. this. is. brilliant. Thank you beyond words for the insight!


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