I have worked as a professional illustrator for just over 7 years, within this time I have done everything from junior work to now running my own business & agency. Over the years I have learnt some do’s & don’ts when trying to make it as an illustrator. To mark 7 years in the industry I have nailed down my thoughts into 7 core tips.
In no particular order…
1. Stay consistent!
One of the biggest parts of standing out & gathering an interest in your work is to stay consistent, this could be with a style you want to find work with or stay consistent with posting updates of your work online. I try to schedule as much as I can for the company each week so my attention can be focused on the day to day & the drawing!
2. Work hard.
This sounds like a given, but this space is competitive & constantly evolving so working hard is a key part to this. This doesn’t mean burning yourself out, ever. However you need to work hard at the moments which deserve your extra time, however understanding moments which deserve your extra attention can be a skill in it’s own right.
3. Things take time.
My career has taken at least 4 of the 7 years to really pick up, however it’s more towards 5.5 years to really have it move the way it’s moving now. Within this time there has been a lot of fails, a lot of own goals, a lot of pitch rejections. However, this should spur you along. These moments need to motivate you to work on & reach the next landmark of your career.
4. Expect the unexpected.
Projects might take a u-turn, projects might take a month rather than a week. You might get ghosted. You need to expect the unexpected, prepare for anything. Once you get to the stage where the unexpected is part of the fun you will be at the peak of enjoying your time navigating the creative industry.
5. Explore new techniques & new technology.
Be open to new techniques, new software, new-ness. The world we live in is constantly evolving & so is the creative and illustration space. Be ready to go on this adventure & prepare to try new ways of working.
6. Price right!
Price. Right. The way you price your services can halt or shift your career. Sometimes pricing more than your experience can help you get noticed & grab clients attention while you can underprice yourself which could lead to clients taking advantage or even not giving you a second glance. If you ever need help pricing there are buckets of resources online, one being the AOI, feel free to email one of our team too at firstname.lastname@example.org for some custom advice. We’d always love to help.
7. Believe in your work.
Another one which could sound slightly ‘cliche’, however you should take a moment each day to envision & incept where you want your career to go. Take a moment to plan a structured & easy step to take, one step towards where you want to be. To do this you need to believe in yourself. Thinking what could come from your career is also a great way to get your subconscious mind to start building methods & roads towards your goal.
Thanks as always for taking the time.
Cheers for now,