SPIN called me to do the drawing that accompanied the album review of AC/DC's new album Black Ice. The lead single from the album, which they have three and a half stars, is called Rock N' Roll Train. The content of the image was right there in the titles and I gleefully went to work on a sketch.
While I was working on it, I was frustrated with the way the elements were working and couldn't exactly articulate why. Fortunately, the art directors at SPIN asked me to revisit it, considering how I might make it more dynamic. They also said that the way the smoke was drawn reduced the clarity of the image. As a professional image maker, it is hard to hear criticism from others that should have been totally obvious in the first place. But they were right. The train was totally unaffected by gravity and the smoke was in the way. So, I redrew the whole sketch.
The revision is completely superior to the original drawing. The smoke frames the band and the sky now works as a much more active negative shape...basic 2D design principles. I'm so glad the Art Director, Liz Macfarlane, didn't approve the first one, despite my interior grumbling. I revised the Angus likeness and created the final.
Liz felt that the yellow had the effect of de-emphasizing the band. So, we settled on the solution of desaturating the background. Overall, the final effect is a clearer visual hierarchy and tighter color palate.
No illustrator wants to be 'meddled with' during their process, but I must admit in many cases like this one, my work was made better- perhaps a lot better. The design field is incredibly collaborative, and there are benefits if you are willing to submit to the idea that others might be able to judge your work better than yourself.