Ever wondered what it takes to become a brief-winning poster artist? Been staring at a blank page lost for inspiration? Need a little push to get your creative spark burning again?

Among our creative opportunities we offer to artists, there are often invitations to design poster art for international brands. The Talenthouse community is brilliantly talented, so the competition is stiff! Here we ask four of our brief-winning creatives to kindly share their tips to level up the quality of your submissions. 

To round up the best advice we spoke to:

Sajad Safajooee who was a selected creator for ‘Create inspiring artwork for the upcoming film, In The Heights’

MKS who was a selected creator for ‘Create poster artwork for the upcoming film, Venom: Let there Be Carnage’

Selcuk Gucer who was a selected creator for ‘Create artwork inspired by “Zombieland: Double Tap’ 

Liza Shumskaya who was a selected creator for ‘Create Artwork Inspired by Star Trek Fleet Command’. 

1. Do your research before you even think of starting

Remember that you're responding to what is essentially a marketing brief, not an art competition. Therefore, thorough research is the key to helping your brief stand out to the client amongst hundreds of entries. 

“What I usually do is firstly do a quick read of the whole brief, and then afterwards I'll research on the company or organization who posted the brief,” explains Sajad, an artist from Turkey.  “I try to understand their visual identity and the history of their brand. I look at what their motto is, and how they’ve been showing their brand in the past.” 

in-the-heights-movie-poster.jpgSajid's selected poster entry for In The Heights

To find out more about the brand identity MKS, from Japan, advises checking the client’s website and social media channels as a good place to start. From here you can get a decent grasp of the brand's image, tone, and target audience. 

But for Liza, an artist from Ukraine, it's the brief itself that is key to success, “I'll read a brief a solid 3-5 times," she tells us. "I stop at every part to process it. When I'm reading a brief, I also concentrate a lot on the 'do not' part.” As Liza notes, sometimes it's easier to focus on what the client does not want in order to narrow down your ideas.

star trek3.jpgLiza's selected poster entry for Star Trek: Fleet Command

“In my opinion, there are two conflicting sides when it comes to an invitation,” explains Selcuk, also from Turkey. “My idea and the actual request from the client, which has to be put into a set of words. It's a game of analyzing, guessing, and toning down one's commitment to one's "brilliant" idea. You have to find a way to make these two warring ideas good friends.”

As MGK reiterates, “No matter how good the idea of the work is, no matter how great the details are created, if the taste and style of the work deviates from their direction, the value in use of the work will be 0 for the client.”

2. Remember, genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration 

So, you’ve done your homework and now know exactly what the client is looking for. Do you sit back and wait for inspiration to strike, or go out and grab it by the horns?

For Selcuk, ideas come in one of two ways. “Either [an idea will] pop up immediately when I first read the brief, or I'll need to spend some time thinking about the core of the brief. If it's a build-up or an evolution of an idea, a lot of research goes into it.” 


Selcuk's winning poster for Zombieland

As a self-professed introvert, Selcuk finds most of his inspiration from the internet. “It involves a lot of Googling, a lot of watching, a lot of reading, and a lot of coffee... But one of the first things I do is check out the previous works of other Talenthouse Selected Creators to look at idea cores, for techniques, colors and more.“

While looking to fellow creatives for inspiration never does any harm, sometimes all you need may be right in front of you. For Liza, a great source of inspiration comes from materials provided by the brief-owner such as a trailer, story, soundtrack, or movie color theme. 

For some, mood boards are an artist’s best friend. “I consider creating mood boards to be the sharpening of a pencil before drawing the sketch, or choosing the right colors before painting on canvas," says Sajad. "A mood board helps you to achieve your artistic take on your concept better, and have a clearer vision [of what you want to achieve].” says Sajad. 

3. Take baby steps and start small

As all creatives can attest that there is nothing more overwhelming than a blank page. Starting small is Sajad’s tip to overcome that dreaded creative block. First starting with a collage of the simplest images that portray his idea, Sajad then plays around with the shapes and images to find the right composition before he begins the drawing. 

MKS has a similar approach. “Firstly, in order to make a big, rough composition I put all the titles the client wants on a canvas and add the specified ratio, and then draw a rough sketch with three or four main colours.” Testing his technique in a small part of the piece first helps determine the specific brushes, filters, and color palettes without compromising the entire piece of work. 

venom-movie-poster.jpgMKS's winning poster for Venom

However, Selcuk has a much more liberal approach showing that when it comes to the creative process, there is no one size fits all. “I think most of my art is like my mother's cooking. Nothing written down. I just add a pinch of paint, a tablespoon of strokes and slices of objects with a hint of a minimal but effective idea that makes it mine. There's no formula, it's mostly feelings.”

4. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

Even with all these nuggets of solid gold advice, there will still be moments of doubt, rejection, and failure. Unfortunately, that is just the path the artist chooses. In those moments, recognising that it is all simply part of the process is ultimately the best comfort. 

“I don't remember who it was, but a few years ago an artist wrote something on Talenthouse when the comments section was heated,” Selcuk recounts. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn".

And that seems like the best advice to end on. Share any of your helpful advice for fellow creatives in the comments below.