Exercise: Writing a brief

For this exercise, I was asked to identify a piece of work by an illustrator that I felt some connection with. I decided to select the illustrator Marc Aspinall.

Marc is a UK based illustrator who’s work echos the golden age of ’50s and 60’s illustration and design. I have been a fan of his work for years, and I also own some of his prints. What draws me to his work is the style of his paintings and how he utilises brush strokes (both real life and digital), to create gorgeous textures, shading and light.

I was then asked to write a brief for my chosen illustration, which would have led to the creation of the image.

Below is my brief, and the image for which it was written:

Brief: New Kid in town

I need an illustration showing the difficulties of being the new kid in any real-life situation. I need the image to show the nerviness of joining a new group of people that already share friendships within a social circle. The article is aimed at teenage girls between 12-16 that are relocating to different areas, and at a difficult age are being thrown in at the deep end, socially and at school.

With a pack mentality in mind and a new person entering the group, I was visualising an Alpha female inspecting the new arrival for approval with the rest of the group spectating the ordeal. The main subject needs to show real innocence, frailty and stand out from the rest of the group as an obvious outsider. Style-wise, I am looking for an objective, artistic look with a natural feel to it.

This being an online article, the page will contain a few adds but large amounts of body text, so the image will need to stand out using bright colours. The final digital image will need to be a JPEG file, W800px H600px 72ppi with and no more than 200KB“.

Illustration by Marc Aspinall


I enjoyed this exercise and liked the process of breaking down the image into components. I feel that my brief describes the image clearly and that an Illustrator would be able to take this and produce a close first draft from the instructions.

From this exercise, I learned the importance of understanding a brief.  The brief is the foundation for the client’s needs, and although an artist will add their individual style to the mix, they must create synergy between the two.

Changes I would make if I were to do this exercise again would be more in-depth research into examples of briefs.  Only after revisiting the exercise, I realised that it lacked any research.  This was partly because I didn’t think I would find anything of the sort and this may have proven beneficial in comparing briefs and their structure.