Sunday, March 14, 2010
Blando's Freelance Illustration tips
Apparently every Tom, Dick, and Harry can do a guide of tips to think about or follow when trying to make it in the illustration biz. I am a small fry, but i am still able to make it as an illustrator and nothing else, so i guess i have something to say about my experiences. In the 3 years i have been freelancing so far, i came up from living on 385$ a month for half a year and eating beans out of a can, to being able to pay off my credit cards, afford health insurance, and generallylive the life i want Here are some things i have learned along the way, thought i might share them.
Blando's Biz Tips
1.) Always know that there will be somebody better than you. It is always good to be competitive, but you must know that being friendly and open, especially in helping other illustrators will repay ten fold.
2.) You must be open to Critism, and willing to accept and then change your work. We are the hand that illustrates the idea after all. We are all imperfect, accept it, and accept the fact that we are all learning every day. Being stubborn or arrogant will block you from improving and getting better, and less able to tackle certain obstacles and weaknesses in your way.
3.) You must be punctual and reliable. It is very difficult to find good workers in any job because people suck. Don't be one of those people. If you hit all your deadlines, it will be a feather in your cap, especially since art directors talk to one another and often times a good experience for them will lead to more work in the future.
4.) Get in touch with who you want to work for. Whether this requires mailers, emails (which i think is much more efficient), posting on forums, or going to conventions to meet people in person (which is ALWAYS the best thing to do), make sure your presentation is clean, you look and speak well. After all you are your business.
5.) Remember things take time to get started, so at first the work may trickle in, but slowly it will grow if you keep at it and continue to evolve.
6.) Keep drawing, especially from life. I think it relates to most other art forms, and keeps you in touch with all those skills. Also finding the local Life drawing class or session may get you connected with the local art community. Its always good to get out there and have some support.
7.) Get inspired by looking at other peoples work. It will effect you and keep you open minded.
8.) Remember to save money for your taxes. Learning how to do your taxes effectively, while organizing and keeping on top of your finances can be a bitch, but its an essential set of skills that you will have to work at.
9.) do whatever you need to do to feel or be comfortable while you work. Watching movies and shows is great, or listening to music, int he end this is highly personal. Just make sure you have a good posture or you will have back trouble.
10.) Health insurance is very important, but doesn't have to break your bank either. There are a good amount of companies that will offer fair prices for decent coverage. Lets just say if you get into an accident, you dont want to be 80,000 dollars in debt from the hospital bill. Also any health care premiums you pay during your year are tax deductible. Yep, you are a tool, and as such, your a business expense:)
11.) You should always strive to be better, and to learn. Experimentation is a very good thing, and you should NEVER be afraid to paint or draw something you are unfamiliar with. Things may look like shit, but you keep working, and the fruits of your labor will show if you stick to it.
12.) Always be polite, but direct, and willing to be flexible in your dealings with clients. You cant be stepped on, and you will in time develop a talent for being flexible but with a tough interior. Hardlining clients will usually drive them away, but being to mushy may invite them to step all over you. Its always safe to have things in writing, but dont be a douche about a couple hundred bucks, its not worth losing a possible source of income for what amounts to very little money in the grand scheme of things.
Well thats about it for now, hope it gives a little insight into the illustration biz. If you agree or disagree, or have more points, i would love to hear them:)