An illustration career does not just involve drawing nice things, you need to be able to promote yourself, manage social networks accounts, contact art directors, tape-record your earnings and expenditures, submit an income tax return, preserve your website routinely, compose agreements, make sure you actually earn money… the to-do list goes on. It’s usually things you don’t get taught by your tutors. You just need to figure it out as you go along.

How I Started My Illustration Career

I don’t declare to know whatever, I’m not an experienced pro. Absolutely no chance, I’m still figuring some things out. However if I can assist one person not make one of the agonising errors I have made, then we’re excellent. Below are some quick points to get going, we’ll cover them in more detail as my blog goes on. (Also, please do feel free to leave comments if you have some pointers yourself. Or reach out to me if there’s a particular topic you wish to see).

1. Think of what sort of work you’d like to do

You want to start your illustration career, so you try and find something that pays. Most people I know begin off in editorial illustration. You’ll find that editorial illustration is normally the most affordable paid with the quickest turnaround times. Areas such as product packaging and advertising generally come with larger spending plans. Although to be fair, no one gets into illustration for the money!

2. Get illustrating

Right, so you’ve now figured out where you want your work to be seen. So now it’s time to make some work. Do not just draw any old thing and slap it in your portfolio. Focus and produce the work you wish to be commissioned for. If there’s nothing similar in there don’t expect an art director to look at your portfolio and believe you’re ideal for a kid’s book. I keep a list on my notice board of personal briefs associated with work I want to do and I make the time to work my method through it.

3. Create a portfolio site

Now you’ve got some new work behind you, it’s time to reveal it off on your site. You do not require anything flashy, just let the work speak for itself. Make sure you get yourself a custom domain name. I picked my domain based on my own interests.

4. Set your organisation up

I can promote Aussie artists on this matter. Become a sole trader as quickly as you can. This will be extremely helpful to get done early on. Don’t wait for documents to be approved when you secure a client. You can do it online here. Oh and definitely keep any emails they send you. I forgot to and it ended up biting me later on.

5. Share your deal with social media

A great deal of my work and site traffic has come through Twitter so it pays to flaunt in some cases. Make good friends with other illustrators in the market. Get involved in conversations. Maximise your visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t simply show your final pieces, remember to take pictures or videos of the whole process! I like to video myself because it also helps me identify areas for improvement.

6. Start hustling

How do you get the real work? Research study magazines, publishers and studios that commission work similar to yours. I find even Instagram companies are useful.

7. Make buddies with other illustrators

Illustration is a lonely profession and you’ll require like-minded people around you to keep sane and help you out in tough times. Be great to other people, appreciate their work and share it without expecting anything back and you’ll get off to a good start making new friendships.

8. Get organised

When you get into the swing of things, there’ll be so numerous things you need to do. There are a lot of planning and organisation tools out there, do a bit of research study and discover which one works best for you.

9. Do not be in a rush to drop your day job for a potential illustration career

Being a successful illustrator is a long game, it’s not going to exercise overnight. So you’ll require some stability and some routine cash being available.

10. Attempt not to work for free or exposure or as a favour

I state “attempt not to” since I have actually done it before. Three times in total. Firstly, for a regional publication when I had no portfolio. Secondly I worked twice for small non-for-profits. For me, this was great due to the fact that I wasn’t being exploited and I enjoyed donating my time.

If everybody gets paid however you, don’t even lose time on these individuals, erase that email and make your own direct exposure. If you’re going to work for free, do it for yourself.

Specification work is where a client asks to see some concepts or finished work to win the task. A dream client that I had actually been dying to work with contacted me previously in the year to pitch for some work for an occasion they were doing. A huge fancy pants firm might be great with doing that, but I’m just one person, that’s a lot of my time taken up working for free.