The Art of Illustration: Find, Develop and Express Your Creative Voice | Emiliano Ponzi | Skillshare

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The Art of Illustration: Find, Develop and Express Your Creative Voice

teacher avatar Emiliano Ponzi, Illustrator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Designer's Role

    • 3. Developing Your Style

    • 4. Finding Your Angle

    • 5. Sketching Your Piece

    • 6. Honing Your Message

    • 7. Refining Your Sketch

    • 8. Experimenting

    • 9. Final Thoughts

    • 10. Explore More Classes on Skillshare

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About This Class

The key to creating attention-grabbing illustrations? It's not your tools or trainingit's your perspective!

In today’s fast-paced world, your unique point of view is the key to creating work that stands out. Join award-winning illustrator Emiliano Ponzi as he shares a simple, step-by-step process for creating compelling illustrations that express your voice as a designer. You’ll follow along as Emiliano creates an illustration for The New York Times, sharing his “mental settings” for unlocking personal style, developing powerful concepts, and communicating clearly through design.  

Along the way, you’ll learn how to:

  • Draw on your experiences to find your voice as a designer
  • Develop a routine to tap into creativity, even under deadline
  • Evaluate new projects in the context of your personal and professional growth
  • Design deliberately in Photoshop, using color and composition to communicate
  • Embrace evolution, changing up your style to stay relevant and inspired 

Plus, the class is packed with Emiliano’s favorite tips for solving briefs, working with clients and bringing your sketches to life in Adobe Photoshop.

Whether you’re tackling a client project, working on a passion project or just starting on your creative journey, this 60-minute class is an essential stepping-stone for anyone who wants to find their own unique way to be a great designer, in addition to creating great designs. By the end of the class, you’ll have a simple framework for creating expressive illustrations that could only come from one person: you!

Meet Your Teacher

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Emiliano Ponzi



Based in Milan, Italy, Emiliano Ponzi’s bold textured illustrations employ repetition, a judicious use of line, strong graphic compositions, and the use of conceptual metaphors to define and communicate the concept at hand.

His work appears in advertisements, newspapers, magazines, books, and animations, and has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Economist, Newsweek, and Esquire. Emiliano's honors include the Young Guns Award and the Gold Cube from the Art Directors Club of New York and medals of honor from the Society of Illustrators of New York and Los Angeles.

Emiliano's first picture book, The Journey of the Penguin, was published in 2015 in celebratio... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Every illustration is a dialogue between us, and the colors, and the paper, and the tools. If you are able to improve these dialogue, we can create meaningful pieces. Hi everyone I am Emiliano Ponzi, I'm an illustrator and outer from Milan Italy. You may have seen in my work on the pages of The New York, and New York Times, book covers, advertising, and animations. Today's class is about finding unique tonal voice at Illustrator. What I love to teach issue is not just doing illustration, but your own unique way to be an illustrator, that's a big difference. If you have some blocks, if you're scared that you are not able to deliver a great illustration, I can tell you that through this class, you're going to be able to do that. What we are going to do today is starting with that draft sketch and arriving to the final illustrations. In the process, I'm going to show you all my ground rules, the mental settings to do that. My biggest goal during my daily routine is to evolve as professional. Every job is a new challenging opportunities to be different from anybody else. Really these classes about the process. So you don't really need any specific tools. Please, upload your illustrations to the project gallery, I'd love to see what you came up with. Now, no more talks, just join the class with me. 2. The Designer's Role: I'm so glad that you came here with me to answer together this first and very important question, who are you? Here we are trying to give an answer to this question. We are designer, we are illustrator, we are creative persons, but at the very end, our goal is to creating something that wasn't there before. We are creating something for a certain market, a purpose. That's what's called applied art. The market is asking us to create a unique piece. We answer to these market requests by acting as a filter of the world, so giving them our own personal and unique point of view on the world. Our point of view, it's built after our personal experience as human being but also as professional, every experience we have had, bad or good, affected our final point of view of the world. Our unique point of view is the reason why clients hire us. So we have to be able to deliver a very unique and personal point of view. We are going to try to build that specific skills pointing the attention in this class on our mental processes rather than the final product. That comes later. I'm going to show you my method, what happens inside my mind when no one is watching, and how we can rely on a certain number of steps to build up a solid routine and creating very good illustration from the beginning to the very end. Building a method doesn't mean we have act as robots, but it means to having at least a small mind routine we can rely on. That's useful because if we want to be like high-level professionals, we have to be able to match some market rules. I wake up every morning at six. I work like five hours in a row, I turn on my cell phone because I don't want to be bothered by phone calls because my creative process are very important for me especially in the morning. Then I have lunch, then I work in the afternoon, then I have dinner, then I don't seem to work anymore or I try. So in a way, I have very strict rules. That's my thing and it works very well for me. But you may have a different routine, a different method, but the most important thing is that you have one. In this class, we are trying to develop your own style, defining which is your angle, your point of view. We're going to refine sketches together, and we are going to go step-by-step to create the final image. I'm going to quickly sketch on paper and then I can switch to Photoshop. But you can really use any material you feel comfortable with. As example for this class, I'm going to use an illustration I made last year for the New York Times Sunday Review. I'm going to show you from the small steps to the bigger ones, how I built up every single piece of this image from a very loose idea to the final and publish an illustration. What I suggest to you guys, is like to follow all the steps we're going to go through in a moment from a very loose idea to the final illustration, and I suggest you to take all these bunch of rules and try to apply to a project you're working on. So guys, the question now for you is who do you want to become really? We're going find out together. 3. Developing Your Style: So the way you see yourself as a designer, as an illustrator impacts the way actually you act to be that kind of professional. Our goal is to be great, isn't it? To do that we have to develop our potential day after day in what I call a long-term vision of our career. So the question is; what shape I want to give to my career? So I try to be deliberate in choosing the jobs I want to accept. Every time I get a job offer, I wonder myself a series of questions asking why I should take or refuse this job. Question like, how cool is this job? Is going to give me a lot of visibility? Is it paying enough? Who is asking me to do this job? How this job is going to affect my other deadlines? I'm going to be able to create a great illustration? Do I have enough time to do that? If not, if I have to work overnight, what my wife is going to say not seeing me for the third night in a row? Then I try to match at least one of these question with a positive answer for example, maybe the job is not paid enough, but it's going to give me a lot of visibility because it's for a super cool brand or maybe is not interesting at all, but the client is going to give me a lot of money. Once I decided to take a job, I go straight following my principles in order to fight and win our greatest battle, turn the chaos of the creativity into an ordered illustration that makes sense for us and also for the audience. The first and most important principle for me is the clarity of intent. So what I really want to communicate at the very end. To do that, I also ask some help to the client. I always wonder if clients can tell me what they want to communicate, but please don't tell me what to draw. I can think about that. I'd love to come back to the topic regarding who we want to become. I think there are some assumptions in our field that we would like to explore a little more. So I think that less is more assumption. I had the feeling that it's just an excuse nowadays to be lazy, just to use softwares and to use techniques to place a couple of elements, small elements on a piece of paper and saying, "I'm acting as a minimal artist", but it's way more than that. Minimalism means being able to place hundredths elements on a paper, and then to decide which one is better to take out because it's not adding anything substantial to the final message. So being able to have a dialogue with the image is a great skill to learn because an image is a living creature, is a dynamic relationship with a part of ourself that we are creating on paper for example. So designing a line sometimes suggests to me what the next step is, or maybe filling a part of the paper with a blue shape is adjustment in the next step. Following trends can put your career at risk, that's what they always thought because the word trendy itself means a stylish something that goes on but for a short period of time, but we want to last longer than that. Especially if you are studying and maybe you don't have already an established style, my suggestion is that if you see that a kind of style the style is working very well, please don't replicate it verbatim because that's bad for you because that style is already there, this person is already there. So maybe you want to find your own personal path, and your own personal space in the market. Creativity is a very dynamic process, and so are the action of adding and subtracting elements from our illustrations. That's exactly what happened to me. It took me 20 years to starting again adding elements because my first illustrations were very different from how they look now. I didn't have any rules regarding my style written in stone, but I kept changing if I felt that desire. So for example, I have some very old published images, they look very different from the style I have now. I can see here that my effort was trying to use a couple of colors at most and a texture on top of all the Photoshop layers I was working on, and trying to keep it very very minimal. Also in this image, it's very funny if a think back to the process how I designed the C according to the dispose dress. I tried to design the C in a super minimal way, trying to use not more than a few lines, and now I've done that completely in a different way. That's super funny too. Like these 50 vibe, I was experiencing around six or seven years ago. It was very interesting because I tried to design female figures with these 50s or 70s look, that was something I was super interested in. Again, here working a lot with the lines and less with the shape of things was something very very important for me. My goal was exactly that one, trying to use just a few elements. If you go to some newer image, we can discover that the attention to the light is equally what creates shapes in my composition, and to shape itself is more tied to a realistic imaginary. Also, the attention to this illustration made from the New York, the attention to the brush strokes, to these very painted almost finite field. I could quote hundreds of other examples of how my work is different now compared to the past, but the truth is that we are the master of our timeline. So we can easily go back and forth into a time capsule and we can use the style that better fits our purpose to create meaningful illustrations because what we have on our side is always our unique perspective of the world. There's a voice that is going to identify our style. So at the very end of it, I think that one of the main goal is to develop a broader vocabulary to being able to interpret in a proper way to the world, or at least the task we are trying to work on. So if you just know a couple of words, we're going to use those words to create almost the same sentences, but with what we know, we develop a lot of words. We can create more complex pages and we are going to be able to communicate ourselves probably in a better way. A practice I can suggest if you are still struggling about hearing your internal voice because that's totally normal, it's a building up process. So my only suggestion for now is listen to yourself, you're going to find it. I didn't mean to be like [inaudible] living alone on a mountain, we are not looking for that thing. But on the other side, I wonder if you may want to shut down all the noise from the outside, from the social networks, from the outside influences and maybe try to listen; what is your desire. How you're going to paint an apple for example, or can be any other things? How is my own personal way to depict that thing and what I want to communicate by depicting that object? Maybe you don't believe me, but I'm going to show you that everything you need is already there. 4. Finding Your Angle: I'm happy that now we are going deeper into the process itself that are going to bring us from like a very loose idea to the final illustration. I would like to bother Michelangelo with a quote he used to say before starting a sculpture. He was seeing that everything was already there, and he just needed to get out the useless quantity of marble to reveal the final sculpture. So we're going to try to do a similar process. Now, everything starts with a text. It doesn't matter if it is a text for a magazine, for a book cover, for an advertising campaign, we should be able to turn words into beautiful images. So in this case, we are starting with a text provided to me by the director of the New York Times, Sunday Review, and we're going to try to build up our method by a very easy ground rule, being able to understand what the topic is about in first place, and then trying to find in the text those words that can make us click and create like some meaningful images. Every job is different, we know that. We have like two pages or two pages and half of texts here, you may have like just three lines of text or just one sentence, but it doesn't really matter because you can get all the ideas from the contexts and from your personal vision of the world. So that's just an example, and we are aiming to build a method that works here, but work also in other scenarios. The topic that we are talking about here starting from the title, The Snake Oil of the Second Act Industry. So all these words are about the fake possibility sometimes that American have to starting from the beginning their career, and there are many reasons why they may want to do that because they want an upgrade in their career, because they want to earn more money because they stopped at the University, the college because maybe they had a kid. So in America there are a lot of let's say University offering a new path for a second act of this personal life. But as the word in the title say, the snake oil, it turns out to be that a lot of these promises are just fake promises. So I tried to highlight some sentences to understand what the text was about, and I got immediately that it was about starting over and over. I got also that mostly it's about money, and also there are like people in a certain age who are attracted by this snake oil promises. I went through the text and I already highlighted in yellow some passages, very important to understand the topic itself. Then I started also to highlight in red, the key words or the key sentences, super useful for me to come up with visual ideas. So as I said, try to build an invisible type between a word and an image. So if you think of the word mirage, how you can connect it to some visual from your experience. I'm thinking to the desert situation, super hot temperature, looking at the horizon and seeing things that are not already there or seeing at least this flickering shapes, super boiling into the horizon. There is another one also, I'm trapped. When I last spoke to her, she and her family where in debt in student loans. "Because of the debt, I'm trapped." She said. So this word trapped, trapped connected to the money. Money may be dollar sign, maybe dollar sign can be turned in some dynamic animal. I'm thinking with you, I'm thinking trapped may be like taking someone down in the abyss, so unable to reach the surface of the water but still drowning, and this word starting over at the very beginning, I didn't really notice it in first place, but let's read just the first sentence. We in America believe in starting over and over and over. So in a way this word is making me think to a road or to a game where we can starting over and over again. But there is something fake in this road or in this game. So we just have the perception we can start over but we can't. So I don't know. It makes me think to the Road Runner cartoons, when the Coyote paint like a door in the mountain pretending that that's a tunnel, but it is not actually, so that kind of thing. So there are many many words here super interesting that can help us to come up with great ideas or maybe not, we don't know. We're going to discover later if some of those ideas can become a project or if we have to leave these ideas apart. So don't put any limit on your creativity now. Sketch all the ideas you can come up with very quickly, and then we're going to judge those ideas later. 5. Sketching Your Piece: So now what I usually do is taking some quick notes about the words I highlighted and try to see if I can come up with a quick doodle related to those words. So let's begin with this starting over road runner image I had in my mind thinking, draw a road, that maybe a road. I may want to add also a female figure here because mostly the text talks about females in their '40s, '50s, something like that. Then I don't know what can possibly happen? It's something fake? Maybe close to the horizon there is no street, maybe the street can come back. So bring her in the same loop she used to live in. So the shadow maybe can highlight the fact that there is no actually a street going forward. I am trapped. So I guess I would like to keep this idea of a row, the street, the path. This life, the life of this person, maybe I can change my point of view now, and instead of showing her super small and having this gigantic background, and I can probably changing the proportion and she can be really stuck. She's trying to walk but for some reason the feet are stacked in the concrete here, in the street. Maybe I can just add some lose detail of the background, but I want the street to be the most important element in my sketch. I think that's the right thing to do. The street and the woman. So the woman is the positive figure, and the environment is the evil world, that's not allowing her to do what she wants to go, where she want to go. Mirage. Mirage, we're seeing mirage so we don't really see things clearly or maybe we are just seeing things that are not even there. So, of course I need a horizon line, and then a woman looking at it, and then maybe everything can be like a mirage, beautiful landscape but thick, moving. I'm not sure about that. I'm not really sure. I use to produce a lot of these sketches on paper because they really helped me to clear my mind regarding the final sketching process. I always had some notes here, some sentences or some question mark if I'm not sure about this choice so I can revise it in a second moment. So in this point, I am trying to understand how to convey my message and what exactly want to communicate, being on the same page with the topic of course but being able to add my personal touch. So at this point you have to wonder, which of these express better who I am as a creative person? These are just loose ideas. Now, I have to find the right angle to connect these doodles with my personal point of view. I have to be very brave. Selecting ideas that belong to me and that can become a solid project and taking all these other out, trashing them. To do that, there is only one way, trying to stay very tight with a new version of these sketches. I usually bring these ideas on the computer using Photoshop, and I try to resketch every idea adding all the elements that also the client may want to see before selecting which one is going to turn into the final piece. So we are taking all these material, we are going to redesign everything and we're going to make everything understandable. So if I'm using a desert or if I'm using a mirage here, for example, I really want to make clear that I know how to draw a mirage. That's crucial. So I'm going to start some research I think. I'm going to come up with a particular tools that is going to help you with this research. So read the texts and try to understand the core message, and then try to read it again and look for that words or sentences very meaningful to you to create a visual, and just doodle quickly. Do a quick sketch that we are going to refine together and present to the client in a minute. 6. Honing Your Message: So now that we already sketched these loose doodles, it's time to move with the next step, the mood board. Mood board is just a thing that I learned when I used to work in the fashion industry at the very beginning of my career. Fashion designers use mood boards to try to understand the temperature of their next collection. So I muted these tool from them, and I created a big file in Photoshop with all the reference I may want to need. So the mirage effect for example, the people drowning, the roadrunner, road crazy fake tunnel I mention it. Some loose idea of what it means to be stucked, and I tried to figure out also how as snake oil seller may look like. The whole purpose of the mood board is trying to find the right temperature for our final illustration and not just for it but also to design the sketches in a proper way and to make them recognizable also from others. So now it's really the time to jump into our inner creative circle and try to create some rates sketches that we liked, ideas that we would love to see as a final piece printed on a on a magazine, as a book cover, as billboard. I'm going to start with these crazy road shape. I want to try to use something gray, and let's see. First, I designed the structure, and I try to understand if my idea can stand out. So maybe I may want to highlight the road because it's one of the main characters here. I may want to refine and make this road a little more recognizable as a road itself, something like that. Maybe I need to add immediately the woman here. The woman maybe not that young, maybe not that happy about this denied fake second act. So maybe also her dress can be immediately telling us that it's an average 50 something years old woman. So we have to be able to be universal without being too generic. Maybe to tie this up to the business world, we can add suitcase here, a briefcase, small one. As our friend, the coyote, teaches us, you may want to add a shadow to make clear that that's a fake road. Some nice background maybe a sky because it should look a beautiful landscape, a fake beautiful landscape. I think it's pretty understandable now. So what I suggest is now to provide the client a very, very detailed sketch. Other than that, she's going to be disappointed if you change some element, even maybe some small element. So it should be understandable but not to tie. Also because you don't even know how it's going to look your final image. I still can change the shape of some elements and the proportion between clouds, the woman, the road, and everything else here.So I went through the same process for all these small doodle ideas I had before. For example, this one called sketch five is like the businesswoman taken down by these octopus shaped as a dollar sign. Here is the woman stuck in the road. That one is the roadrunner fake road shaped in a crazy way that makes impossible for the woman to keep going in the horizon side. They created this crazy, falling apart world where these gigantic hole is taken down, clouds, the desert, the road, and everything is in the image leaving the poor woman here very afraid and frightened about what's happening. Then I created also a quick sketch for a mirage that I tried to transform into something more abstract than just a mirage how it looked on my mood board. I tried to turn these into some fragmented world. That still recalls the mirage, but it's something different, more personal. Then I also came up with these other two ideas, this woman stacked in the road with the rain on the side and clouds, the sunny environment on the right. I think they're not good enough to be sent to a client. So I think I'm going to just close them and live in my folder for a while. Probably the ideas we have as first, are the weakest because our mind is still in the process of getting to know what the topic is about. So we are not super safe about every element that we may want to use or not in our composition. So that's why I suggest always to keep digging into our creative mind to find the best solutions that's always arrive later. It's very rare that the first solution is the ready-to-go one. I think you have to be able to switch your point of view in order to deliver different topology of sketches or other than that, they're going to be just variations of the same idea. The way to change your point of view is to keep asking yourself questions about the sketches you are doing. Is the composition good enough? Maybe it's supposed to change the size of the prospective here or the size of the elements, or the way the grow along together. Maybe I can send a client five sketches where the woman is the same size, is super small in the same environment, just changing some silly detail. I have to change also the idea that I'm trying to deliver. So maybe the woman can be bigger in a scene, and the relationship between the woman and the background can change time after time. We are artists, so of course, inspiration is important for us, but a process takes time. So more than inspiration, we need intuitions that we can modeling into final sketches to send to the client. Thanks to our rational side, and there is only one way to do that. Through the sketching process, we can keep digging in our mind to look for the right answer, the right idea, and the right way to present that idea. So now it's time to send our sketches to the client. So it means that we should decide which sketches we want to send, and we should be able to defending those sketches. Means that we have to send only the very best ideas we have. I always tried to send clients from three to five pieces, and I think that helped me a lot to narrow down the number of ideas also I can come up with, and I tried to send the best and especially those that I would like to see as final piece and color the published one. I think that I'm going to send the mirage fragmented world idea to the client. I like it. As second, this void that is taking all the world falling apart. I'm going to send these roadrunner, fake road idea. The stucked one that I like because it's very simple, is straight, is not super brilliant, but still it expressed very well the concept. Then also these other one, where the octopus shaped as a dollar sign is taking the woman down. I also created other two ideas, but really I'm not sure I want to send those. I mean, the others are way more better. For every of these sketches, I am going to write a simple line of text. I want to be sure to express myself in the best possible way. On the other side, client don't need you to write 30 lines of text to explain what you have drawn because, I mean, drawings are visual. So it's supposed to be self-explaining. For example, the number five describing my octopus sign sketch just says taken down by money octopus sign period. So we're ready. I think that what we can do now is just sending these sketches to the client and waiting for his answer. As soon as you hear back from the client with feedbacks, it's time to refine your sketches that I call do your homework. 7. Refining Your Sketch: So I just got the feedback from the client. He wants me to go ahead with the fake road sketch. So now we have to start over again. So we're going to create a very tight and clean sketch. Like a structure so we can feel free to express our creativity inside this structure. I called homework because it's something a little boring or it may sound like that. But as Picasso used to say, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working." So let's do this homework. We're not doing this homework for the teacher, we're doing this homework for us. I'm going to call it final container for our creativity. At this point, I have the old sketch behind the new sketch that I created with this timelines. What I'm going to do is to add color for the background, because at the very end of the image is going to be in color. So I'm going to probably add like a flat solid blue, white blue background so it can be the average color. I may want to use or any way the color I want to use for the sky. Then what I'm going to do, is to creating some prospective lines to be sure that everything I design it is pretty much aligned with the horizon line. I want to be sure that all the perspective lines are in the right position. I really wanted the attention of the viewer is going the direction that I choose. So after that, I'm going to try to quickly build another layer on top of my sketch layer. I'm going to fill with some colors I may want to use for the wall composition. So let's try to select some colors that go along well together. So if I want to depict the desert, probably I may want to use these warm colors. Maybe I need some light, very light, warm white for the clouds, and maybe, some gray, but still warm gray color for the road. I'm going to call this layer color palette. So now I'm pretty ready to start filling like every piece of the illustration with a solid color that I'm going to refine later. Now is not the right time to pay attention to details, but now, we have to understand how colors are going along together, and if the relationship between one color and another is actually working. Our sketch layer is always on top. We're going to try to fill everything very quickly. Like watching a photo from distance. We just have to understand if everything is working. I want that clouds they're all pointing to the horizon line. On the bottom left side of my image, I may want to also add some mountains here so that the horizon is not so flat. I have to add some stripe here. Then the most important element is the woman. So let's try to understand how we can represent her. How her look can be. I'm not super sure of what I'm doing here. As you see, I'm trying to use a limited palette of colors anyway. So now is the right time to hide the sketch layer and the color palette layer and to see how this image is actually working, how colors are actually working here. I'm not sure about what am I seeing here because to me, the relationship between one color and the other is not exactly what I had in mind. In this moment, it's very important to try to picture like how we imagine the final piece. I was imagining something stronger than that. So I'm not sure if it's a matter of the color choice or the relationship between one color and another. So for example, if I decide to change the desert color, the sand color, that maybe I should also change the color of the sky. It should be more solid, more important in the whole composition. The same for the road here. I think that that road is too dark in a way. So the woman here is not going to be visible even if I place the shadow. So let's try to see what happens if I just add the woman shadow very quickly. That may help defining also her figure. Every element that I have in my composition affects the final message and the strength. My final message is communicated to audience. So I tried other versions and at the very end, I am in this place where I'm trying to understand which woman is the best solution for me. They have different hairstyle. They have also different, a little bit body posture. So I'm not sure. I like very much the fact that in that one, you don't really see her face and you don't really see her lips, but it's more subtle. Like you just see the woman with this hair looking up. So it's looking basically at the core topic. So the impossibility and the limit for a second act. Then I decided to go with this color palettes because, colors communicate emotions. These colors are for sure stronger than the previous version where everything was more subtle and the message was not strong as in that one, where all the contrast between very saturated colors and the shadows of the woman, and the shadows here in the desert and these crazy clouds can convey the final message. We finish our illustration now and it took a long road from the very earliest sketch to the final piece. Also, we made some mistakes. Meaning I created some variation that I didn't like until I arrived to the very final piece. Well, in this class, that looked very easy, but is not at the very end. For me, it's very difficult because it's like a mathematic formula. Sometimes, if you don't have the result you were expecting, you have to come back and find where the mistake is. That's why I'm saying that building a method is so important, because at the very beginning, you know already every step you need to arrive to the very communication goal and to the very final piece. So pay attention to the process. Process is the most important thing. When you think it's over, maybe it's not over, and you want to push yourself to find if there are other options to express your message in a better way. That's exactly what we are going to do next. 8. Experimenting: So this is the final version. How it looks on the New York Times website, the client was very happy with it, I was happy with it because it was exactly what I had in mind. It took several steps to arrive to that point. How Chuck Close used to say, "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us needs to get to work." So that's a core point of my whole process. We have to keep digging and digging in our creative minds to find the best solution. For example, in this cover I worked at last year for an Italian magazine called Internazionale. As you can see, I tested several variations here. Was for their summer issue talking about the journey. Journey meant as vacation or as like a new discovery, discovering a new place. I needed to test many variables, and just at the very end, I was able to match my communication goal. Working on many variations is super useful because you can really understand what is working and what is not working, and the effort is just to pick and select what is working, for example, the sun in one illustration, the tiger in another version, and combine the magic formula, the winning one in the final piece that we're going to deliver. Then you can understand if an option is not working, is not leading you in a better place, so there is no need to waste time in finishing that piece, you can just understand from your mistakes and pass to the other option, to the next one. The result is always worth it, especially because we can speak through our products as a designer. So like having a beautiful piece in front of us, it's the only way we can communicate to the world. I know when I'm about to finish a piece because the dialogue between me and the image is over. Also I can feel when I'm close to my communication goal, there is that moment where the piece really has nothing more to give me and to tell me. So that's the time to send to the client. I'm super happy about that because I know that I could potentially keep going, working on the same piece forever. So we have to be honest now. You know if you accomplished a great illustration with a precise communication goal. If you are not, you have to be brave enough to come back and starting over. 9. Final Thoughts: Congratulation guys, you made the lot, and I really hope that this class gave you some tools to ask yourself the right questions, and to build step up or step a method that works, a recipe that works, and that are going to lead you to create great illustrations. One last thing, guys, don't be afraid of sweating over a piece because that's the only way that allows you to learn and to evolve. If you're sweating over a piece, please feel free to upload it on the project gallery. Thank you, guys. I'm so happy that you took this class, and I really hope you can achieve your goal, whatever it is. Go get it. 10. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: