I’m a fantasy illustrator. A client hired me to do a cover for a “dark and serious” novel he wrote.
Client: I based this on my life. The characters are my family members.
Me: I am not sure if I want to take this up, family portraits are usually emotionally driven and I am a fantasy illustrator.
Client: Don’tworry, we love your work, and I’ll give you lots of reference photos.
The client sent me a photo of everyone smiling.
Me: In the scene I’m depicting, they just lost a friend.
Client: Yes, it’s a very emotional moment.
Me: Do you have any photos where they aren’t smiling?
Client: Can’t you just use your imagination?
I did, and delivered it.
Client: They don’t look like my family anymore. Just use the photos I sent you.
This resulted in an illustration where the characters are feeling gunfire and hiding for their lives… with smiles on their faces.