Finding a graphic element to illustrate an abstract or dry subject is a creative challenge. You find yourself being pulled in one direction to beautify your work and in the other to explain the subject in hand.
I am continually searching around for images, illustrations or graphics that will compliment articles with heavy corporate or technical subject matter.
Although I can purchase microstock photography produce my own Photoshop comps and Adobe Illustrator traces sometimes I need to commission an illustration.
To find a illustrator I use Sylvie Poggio Artists and Illustrators Agency. They put me through to the brilliant UK illustrator Rory Walker who I’ve been working with a lot recently. Rory takes briefs usually by email and emails back with his stunning illustrations.
Rory uses dip pens, pencils, india ink and anything else he can get his hands on and mixes them up with a wacom tablet, pen and Photoshop. See his creations here entitled Tug of War (above) and Ravers (below).
I know I have been particularly lucky with Rory and Sylvie as I know they will always understand the brief. The only advice I would give in commissioning illustration is to be absolutely clear about what you want whilst leaving the maximum amount of creativity in the hands of the illustrator. Other common sense things to specify are: size (in inches, centimetres, pixels and resolution), format (landscape, portrait or square), time and method of delivery (email or physical artwork).
Rory can be found at http://www.roryroryrory.com (what a great idea for a URL: if you can get the word you want, repeat it three times!). Sylvie Poggio Artists and Illustrators Agency can be found at http://www.sylviepoggio.com.