I’m up at 7:30 AM, run my daughter to garderie at 9 AM, have breakfast at my local cafe until 10 AM, stave off studio loneliness via a phonecall with a friend or acquaintance daily at 2 PM, and close up shop at 4:30 PM. Somewhere in there is 6.5 hours of sketching and organizing and illustrating.
Oh my. One of the best things about my illustration practice is the absolute variety of clients I’ve attracted. In the last three months I’ve worked with the Sakerhetspolisen (aka Sweden’s state security service), an enormous aquaponic cannabis grow operation, architectural design magazines like Dwell, new-wave journalism outlets like Propublica, and old-wave established news media like the Economist. The assignments ranged from simple handbook covers to hyper-detailed semi-magical expressions of what an institution does. I want to host these clients at a studio Christmas party and see what happens.
I see a lot of young illustrators coming out of school with so many competencies—they can draw almost anything in any style, and their existential problem is finding what way best expresses themselves. I came at it knowing how to trace things and how to collage photographs. That’s it. That’s where it started. And without any conscious direction it’s turned into what I’m doing now. I honestly can’t remember a time that I’ve consciously thought “I should go in this direction.” I feel my style is mine because it’s just an outgrowth of my very being, my ethics, habits, family history, my experiences, etc., rather than pulled from some kind of enormous illustration and design library.
Once you graduate school, quit looking at what others are doing for a while. Look at your self. And there will be no white knight that comes and rescues you from the business side of being an illustrator. DIY or your career will most likely be short and uncomfortable.
Another poster-plus-download music compilation through a record label I’m part of (Pentagon Black). Some kind of print series that focuses on long-demolished but exceptional urban architecture. Organizing a group art show or two that messes with traditional approaches to organizing art shows while bringing together Canadian or Montreal illustrators and artists. So many assignments, because they make all this wonderful non-commercial stuff possible.
Blame your self-marketing before you blame your style. Don’t be afraid of asking other illustrators for pricing help. Keep in touch with everyone you’ve ever worked with. Take your work for a walk every once in a while. If you learn something, share it.
I’m talking with her right now, but that’s all I can say. Ha!