I graduated with a BFA degree in Information Design at the Ateneo de Manila University last year. For 6 months, I continued working freelance and used that time to build my portfolio. I always looked forward to my gap months because I thought it was the perfect time to finally focus on projects that I didn’t have the time for during uni.
However, I wanted to experience a full-time day-to-day job to build my network and see if it was for me. I was a creative director at a start-up travel platform for 8 months. Now, I’m happily working as an art director for a concept agency while still pursuing freelance at the same time. Balancing a full-time job and freelance work can be difficult, but it’s working out for me so far!
One of my favorite passion projects would be my visual diary @jillarteche. It’s an ongoing passion project that illustrates some of my experiences, people I encounter, and things I love on specific days. Since I was never good with words, it was better for me to note my days the best way I could. Plus, it has made me appreciate my life a little more! You should try it!
Draw everyday. When I was in uni, my art professor required the class to draw daily. It initially didn’t make sense because I was already drawing the most random things (like a door and a phone charger) just so I could get by. I only started to see its value after browsing through some of those sketchbooks that collectively contains a year’s worth of hard work. I began to see a recurring artistic style, theme and even characters! As an illustrator, I believe it becomes a milestone once you see consistency in your work. It all just becomes a matter of believing in its potential and developing it further from there.
Don’t be so obsessed with finding your artistic style though. It’s so important to create work that fulfills you. So, the best thing you can do is to draw what comes naturally to you.
Never settle. Always ask yourself, “What’s next?”
Collaborate. It’s a great way to build your network and to learn new perspectives from other great talents in the industry.
Never work for free. You are worth more than you think regardless of how much experience you have.
Get out there! You can take so much inspiration beyond what you can search on the web. Take a walk outside, go to exhibits, commute by public transport, talk to strangers, and observe the world! This way, you also get to live life a little bit more.
Take advantage of social media. Post as much as you can, and you’d be surprised by how much engagement and exposure you can get. Clients will follow from there.
Include passion projects in your portfolio. It’s a great way to show clients/employers how creative and passionate you can be.
YOU DO YOU. Stay true to who you are and use it to create brilliant, honest, and original work. When you commit to doing this, everything else will follow.
Rest!!! Find a non-art/design related hobby as a breather. As for me, I love watching documentaries and murder mystery films (do let me know if you know any good ones)!
In the next 12 months? Hopefully, a more consistent social media presence, a new zine, collabs with some great people, a solo exhibit, an online shop, and more jillustrations! 2019’s all about bigger goals! And it’s going to be great!