Like I was saying a few weeks ago in a previous blog post, this year I’m going to be sharing one blog post a month on freelance illustration, becoming an freelance illustrator, and general tips and tricks on the world of illustration.
I’ve been an illustrator for a number of years now, and can safety say that it’s been a roller coaster, and have learnt a hell of a lot throughout this time. Before I even get into these freelance illustration tips and tricks, I want to say that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it a reality, and shouldn’t be taken likely!
However, being a freelance illustrator is fantastic, it offers a variety of creative projects, and no project is ever the same! It’s rewarding, creative and stimulating, so I thought I would share some freelance illustration tips and tricks to those of you who are beginning in the world of illustration.
If you’re not familiar with my illustration portfolio, I specialise in publishing, advertising to editorial illustration, and I’m an illustrator for hire. Do check out my work and see what you think, I’ll love to hear from you!
Anyway back to these freelance illustration tips and tricks;
Market Yourself Towards More Work
To be a successful freelance illustrator, you need to market yourself correctly. I remember whilst I was at University, and my tutor mentioned that once you’re freelancing, you’ll spend more time drumming up business, doing admin, marketing, than actually illustrating.
I thought this was a load of nonsense, but I’m now eating my own words, and I have to admit that they were right! This might disappoint you, but this is the reality of freelancing in general.
In order for you to consistently gain illustration commissions through the door, you need to get yourself out there. Expose yourself everywhere – start up a blog, create a portfolio on Behance, join Twitter, and send offline marketing material out. This is just the tip of the iceberg of things you can do to expose yourself, but the more you do of it, the better.
This means you’ll receive commissions through the door (as more people will know about you), and you’ll gain more clients, woop! Unfortunately, no clients will come to you, unless you’re ridiculously talented or lucky. When I first started in illustration, I thought if I made a website, clients will come to me, but it’s simply not true. You need to get out there and fish them out, and don’t let them go before they commission you!
Develop Your Illustration Portfolio & Website
In order for you to gain commissions through the door, you need a well established illustration portfolio and website. This is what art directors and clients see when they look through your work, so you need to make sure it’s your best!
If there’s no work coming through the door, you need to make sure you’re always practising your craft and doing personal projects. You can see this illustrated map of Brussels below, that was a personal project of mine when the work had dried up a bit. I then used this within my portfolio, and sent this to clients as marketing material.
This allows you to build your portfolio, skills and style, and gives art directors another excuse to come back to your website – because you’ll always be updating it!
If you have a blog that you regularly update and use this as your illustration portfolio, don’t do it! Invest in building your own website, and create a professional portfolio that you can refer people to. There’s nothing worse than an illustrator or artist not having their own website!
Invest Now, And Save Later!
One of the first things I brought (or actually, I was brought by a family member), was an A4 Canon scanner, and it allows me to create work, scan it and edit my illustrations for commissions.
If you’re just about to graduate, or you’re thinking about becoming a freelance illustrator, make sure this is one of the first things you invest in. This allows you to create work for clients and produce personal work, which I highly recommend.
Another timely and money saving investment is a high quality printer. I have yet to purchase one of these, but it can save you a ton of money when you send marketing material to art directors and potential clients.
A printer is next on my shopping list!
I Hope You Enjoyed These Freelance Illustrator Tips & Tricks!
Freelance illustration isn’t easy, and much like anything in life, if there’s hard work and dedication involved, it can often lead to something great on the other side.
If you’re creative and want to pursue a career in freelance illustration, then do it! I can’t tell you anything different, but make sure you take these pointers with you, and just get out there! And I’ll like to finish today on a quote;
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Many thanks for listening and visiting my news page today. You can follow what I’m up to on my Twitter, Facebook or Google + pages, I’ll really appreciate it if you do, and don’t be afraid to say hi to me! Many thanks again, and have a great day!