When a client sends large files via email, it can be problematic. That’s exactly what happened when my client, Raquel, sent me two illustrations and asked for an estimate for tweaking the drawings. Raquel trusts me, as her designer, to give her an honest assessment of any material she sends me, and that is what I always try to provide. Although I am not a book illustrator, I can modify or fix small areas of artwork in Photoshop. She said the illustrations would be used in her upcoming book and to make small promotional posters.
When I downloaded her files, I knew something was wrong. The .jpgs Raquel emailed were unacceptable. Their resolution was 72 dpi (dots per inch), and the file sizes were only 3.15 x 4.44 inches. These files are too small to be retouched or enlarged for a poster. I asked, “Was the artwork was created in Illustrator or Photoshop?” Raquel didn’t know. My advice: “Contact the artist, and ask for the original high-resolution, layered Photoshop or Illustrator files. If the files are too big to email,” I told her, “we can use Dropbox, Hightail, (an online site to share and send large files) or my FTP site.” (File Transfer Protocol: transfer files between computers on a network.)
Several hours later, Raquel forwarded me another set of files. Same problems; same images. I had to inform her that the images she had sent were exactly the same—too small and too low res. “We can’t use these for the book or poster,” I said. “Perhaps the artist did not understand the request. Each illustration should be at least 6.5 x 9.9 inches (or larger). The Photoshop files should be 300 dpi and have separate layers. I hope the artist has high-resolution files. Please ask again.”
Raquel asked, “Is there any way that we can resize them ourselves?” I had to tell her there was no way. “The art is too small. The images are not the right resolution; there are not enough pixels. If you enlarge these files, they will look terrible.”
Third time is a charm:
Finally, I realized her Outlook account was shrinking the files. I asked Raquel to forward me the illustrator’s message with a link to his Dropbox folder. In the folder were the high-resolution files at the requested size. Whew!
Beware of sending high-resolution files via email. Solutions: Use Google Drive, Dropbox, Hightail, or if you’re tech savvy, upload them to an FTP site.