For the majority of commissioned works clients are usually after something similar to what they have seen before. Whether that be a particular style or technique or perhaps a certain approach that can be applied to their current project. A rough is usually provided as a guide to content and layout and that, together with the artists portfolio, provides a pretty clear idea to what the end result will be. This is something we understand as illustrators and indeed something we have been taught from day one, to develop a recognisable signature style.
However from the artists perspective too formulaic an approach can spell creative death over the longer term if not careful. Tastes in illustration are also subject to change and what was popular one year may not be so the next so it is important to keep moving forward. Personal work therefore is essential for extending boundaries and exploring new terrain. One way or another the results feed back into professional work, often in the most unexpected ways, and this helps to keep things fresh and interesting.
All the examples on this page are images I make when not working on commissioned pieces. Even though I try to avoid formulas as much as possible things I do like to create small series or groups. I've recently started making large prints of some of these which I'm selling via my Shop and perhaps at selected print fairs next year.