Sometimes I have a problem with being a little too literal. I did a sample for a publisher recently that took me more time than I would have liked and in the end had an illustration that was bright and engaging, but perhaps not exactly for children. The character in it was a girl who in fact wasn’t a character at all. Instead, she was a real girl that perhaps kids could identify with but not necessarily get into reading about and aspire to be. Design fail.
Likewise, clients often want something they constantly refer to as “cartooney” which I take to mean they want something stylized and less realistic. My personal work can’t really be referred to as cartooney, but I love other illustrator’s more stylized approaches and have recently vowed to take notice as I think my work for clients would greatly benefit from it! A few months ago I did this rough for a client. The colors are basically thrown in since it is just a rough and all wrong and the perspective is totally messed up, but I really like the base drawing and approach. I have a brand new client and the word “cartooney” is being thrown around and I feel inspired!