Creative Questions: Finding a Balance

Creative Questions: Finding a Balance


When creating work for specific clients, you may find yourself asking – how do I form a balance between my creativity and client briefs? Here’s what four artists who have long grappled with this issue had to say.

Sam Ellis, Designer and Illustrator

It’s definitely a two-way street. The more creative you can be with a brief, the more interesting and exciting you can make the work for yourself.

I think it’s hugely important to carve out time in which you’re able to explore work that isn’t for specific clients. Hopefully that way the work you do receive from clients will fit more closely to what inspires you.

It can sometimes feel fruitless, but every pen stroke is a development. Hard work always pays off.

Expressing creativity in tighter, more prescriptive briefs can be tricky. It’s a balance between meeting the demands of the project and still maintaining your own flair. As long as you’re doing what you love the passion will filter through into your work.

Demanding clients can sometimes make you feel unable to express yourself within a project, but with persistence and dedication there’s room to weave your own character and creativity into everything.

Sonia Alins, Aritst and Illustrator

I think that my clients are very important in that balance. There are clients who value the creativity of the illustrator and offer great freedom to work. In other cases, we all know it’s more complicated. If your work demonstrates strong personality and distinctiveness, there is a greater chance that you will feel more comfortable with an assignment and the ability to display your creative personality.

Anjali Mehta, Artist and Illustrator

This issue of finding a balance between my personal work and client briefs is something I’ve always struggled with. Client briefs are usually urgent and require an immediate response, so I may have to stop my personal work process midway and start with something completely new and different.

After a great deal of practice and experience, part of my routine is to ensure I update the notes on my phone/laptop where I keep all of my creative ideas. I rank them in order of importance to avoid wasting time when thinking about what to start creating between briefs. This helps me focus on my next steps.

I work late nights, and once I send in sketches / first drafts, I don’t get replies until the morning, which works perfectly for me. Once I’ve sent off my emails, I spend time researching my next project; this includes finding inspiration, thinking about materials and techniques, planning out the composition and maybe even making a rough doodle. Once these things are decided, work-life seems a little more balanced.

I unfortunately cannot work on personal and client projects simultaneously. I require a very different mind space and energy for both of these areas of work, so I try to take a small break once a brief is over to give my mind a rest. This typically includes concentrating on cooking and meeting friends – then I can begin my personal creative work with the tools I’ve collected, a fresh view and no stress of missing other deadlines.

Isabella Bersellini, Freelance Illustrator 

Finding the balance between my creativity and the client’s brief is never easy. I usually describe my ideas in detail, clearly explaining all the benefits and purposes. I value the client’s ideas and don’t disregard them, on the contrary, I share my whole creative process to ensure the client can participate.

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Art by Ariadna Dane

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