I was always drawing horses when I was young, and can remember being really proud of a cover for the Wind in the Willows that I drew. I didn’t see myself as a fine artist so I studied graphic design and illustration. I worked as a graphic designer for a few years after graduating but have since found I am way happier as a freelance illustrator.
It has taken me ages to feel like I have a recognisable style, and this is still something I struggle with. I often find others can see my style when I can’t. I guess the things I have found that work include trying not to worry about style too much, experimenting with different media, drawing a lot, and trying to draw as many different subjects as possible.
I’m a morning person, so I get up about 5.30, make coffee and start working. I love the early starts as it also means I can have some afternoons off to work in my vegetable garden! Every day I try and create new personal work, work on current commissions, and try to find new clients.
I’ve been listening to a few podcasts whilst I work lately. Andy J Miller’s Creative Pep Talk is one I highly recommend. He is incredibly generous with sharing the lessons he has learnt as a freelance illustrator, as well as featuring interviews with some interesting creative professionals. I love Dear Art Director for amusing but honest answers to all the questions illustrators have for Art Directors. And for inspiration I can’t go past Sara Barnes’ blog Brown Paper Bag. It’s a great place to find amazing illustrators as well as illustrated products to covet!
Lately I’ve learnt to take the time to work on personal projects as this is where I am happiest and how I discover new material and techniques. It is also important to get out of my studio and in to the real world to find inspiration and a fresh perspective.
Planning for the quiet periods where there is little client work is really important too. Luckily I’m pretty good at this. I make sure I save money to tide me over between cheques as well as making sure I have multiple streams of income.
Mostly I’m going to focus on creating new work, and getting better at marketing myself. I’m thinking of looking for an illustration agent, and I also want to increase the range of products I sell in my Etsy store.