I work as a illustrator and I’ve had fairly picky clients before but nothing on this level. The client asked for vector illustrations of microscopic cells for a book cover.
I presented him with an illustration.
Client: That’s okay, but can you make it more realistic?
I redrew the vector with more detail.
Client: More realistic, please.
More detail yet.
Client: Hmm… but I need it more realistic?
At this point I paid for a stock photo and traced over it, keeping it 90% the same but making sure it still looks like it’s been drawn.
Client: hmm. I want you to have creative freedom, but this is still not realistic though. What are you referencing? Are you using the photo? The other artist did this illustration that is almost exactly what I want, I just want it more realistic.
He then sends me the previous artist’s (gorgeous, in my opinion) illustration, which looked nothing like the reference material he’d already given me. I scheduled a Skype meeting to get on track.
During that meeting, I placed the illustration I’d done right beside the photo I’d used for reference to get a specific sense of what he meant by “more realistic.”
Client: Oh. Huh. I guess your drawing actually IS realistic! Wow, they actually look almost the same! I never actually zoomed in, or compared the two pictures. Well, you obviously know what you’re doing, just keep going and go crazy. Just keep it realistic.
Eventually I found out that he’d worked with THREE other artists before me, all who fired him for his nitpickiness.