My wife, the coupon expert, actually found the above coupon in the food section of the LA Times. My first reaction was, wow, I've got a nationally printed piece, but my elation lasted about all of a minute or two. I quickly realized I was taken advantage of. I was angry as well as disappointed that my comp work was doubling as illustration.
In the beginning, I naively rendered tight comps to impress art directors that would surely see my talent and offer me real live illustrative jobs. I was angry because they used one of my pieces without paying me another nickel for it, but I was also disheartened that the agency used a comp that was not only one of my lesser pieces, but that it was being used as an illustration. Although I didn't complain to anyone at that time, I was livid. At that time, I didn't understand why they couldn't see this was not my best work and why they would not give me the opportunity to redo the comp as an illustration. For the record, I probably would have done the illustration gratis just to say, proudly, that I created artwork for a national client. On the flip side of the coupon, there was an altered portrait of Dick Van Dyke that I did for the storyboard. It too was poorly illustrated to imitate my comp style. In a strange way, I was glad that the agency didn't use my signature for this or any other promo that I illustrated without my knowledge. The irony of it all was more than I could handle as a rookie!
It was a lesson well-learned...
Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011