Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Open Letter To Ed Emberley

Dear Ed,

From my early beginnings in doodling and making mess, your books always came in handy when I was young. You were like some kind of creative super hero that made the hours pass in the most imaginative of ways. You broke down the concept of basic drawing that I still carry with me to this day.

Your books not only opened up a world of doodling possibilities but it occupied a creative need that I needed filling as a child. That creativity carried me all the way to Art & Design school. I am now an illustrator and “big idea generator” as my daughter now calls me.

The first of your books was the Drawing Book of Animals which my 6 year old daughter is now enjoying amongst the many others that have been added to the crative library. It makes me so happy to see my daughter enjoy them as much as I did. My three year old is quickly loving the idea of scribbling on everything and anything. She will be next in line to take on some of your books soon.

So Ed, I write this in gratitude. I thank you for your dedication to the needs of creative kids and making drawing fun. I am looking forward to whatever goodies you come up with in the future. Keep up the great work.

Creatively Yours,

Holly DeWolf

Text & Illustration © Holly DeWolf

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book happy!

Book happy!
Originally uploaded by HollyDe

My Authors Page On

I now have my own page on Amazon page that I will add notes to in the blog section: Author page on

The current note was the original Introduction to the book.

"And you may ask yourself,

Well... how did I get here?"

- David Byrne

In 2005 I started blogging as a creative diversion to working at home. What developed was an online community that not only inspired me but helped me in my pursuit of creative self-employment as an illustrator. I soon became hooked. I met illustrators from all parts of the globe producing really great work and demonstrating that it is quite possible to make a living as an illustrator. New technologies have brought to light many talented illustrators who are incredibly dedicated to their creative profession. I call these illustrators the new innovators because they not only work in the industry but they promote it as well. They are creative in finding work, setting up online communities and promoting themselves through their web sites and blogs. Today's illustrators require a new set of skills to keep them moving forward in this industry. Gone are the days of creative isolation. Digital networking is the one of the big keys to success today.

Although new technologies are being created all the time to help get us "out there", the basic needs of illustrators have not changed. Needs such as our commitment to our work, establishing client relationships, the drive to do our personal best and to make a living from our work are paramount. No less important is our need to know where we are going and have a plan pointed in the right direction. A whole lot of "luck" does not hurt either.

Through new technologies we see new illustrators blooming and on the verge of greatness. They may not have twenty years experience or been published but add a new dimension to this industry - camaraderie. A tight-knit creative network who support and help each other has emerged.We are not only visual problem-solvers. We also need to solve problems in running a business while juggling our home lives. Our schools do not always address that when we are leaving with our portfolios in hand ready to take on the world. To learn this on the fly can be daunting at best.

I was once told that illustration is 70% business and 30% talent. I don't know if
those percentages are completely true. What I do know is this, we are the business and we are the brand. Our image is everything. How we promote ourselves is what is going to get us the types jobs we want. The clients are not necessarily going to come to us.

This book is what I would like to see in a guide for illustrators. Looking at the process, the motivation, the ups and downs of self-employment and the materials illustrators use really help on many levels. There are many wonderful illustrators who work in the mediums of digital, paint, fabric, clay and even painting with coffee. Whatever the choice is, fantastic things can happen on a blank page, on the computer, on a piece of illustration board or a swatch of fabric.

Also, to look forward we need to look back at those illustrators who paved the way for us. As a child Ed Emberley was my childhood hero. Not only did he help break down the concept of drawing, he made it fun. In a way, I owe him a big thanks because those humble beginnings set my path to art and design school. Thanks Ed!

Sometimes we hit a level of our careers and ask ourselves how we got here. The answers are often surprising from very small tid bits to really big moments.We all define success differently and how we achieve those goals come from many small steps that lead to big things. Success comes from constancy of purpose and creating with purpose. Stopping to see what is working and what is leading you down the path you are on can help you continue moving toward your goals.

I want to address the creative business of illustration. Many questions are repeatedly asked about the same issues; pricing, printing, cold-calling, and promotion that can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the business. My hope is that this book provides helpful tips, advice and a lot of inspiration. Many illustrators have contributed to this along with their opinions and insights to what makes this industry great to what we all would like to see the industry become.It is a guide about real down-to-earth advice to help build a career for illustrators and aspiring illustrators to obtain their dream job of creative self-employment.

I want to give back to the industry that has helped support me in my creative endeavors. I learn daily from my network . They inspire me, critique my work with invaluable feedback and let me know that I am not creating in isolation. Our little creative corner of the world may be small but we still push the boundaries towards new heights of excellence with a little help from our friends.