Thursday, June 14, 2012

Question Of The Week- Can You Start Over As An Illustrator After A Long Absence?

Hey creatives,

I get questions.... lots and lots of questions. I thought I would start to share some of the questions I receive from in my inbox here. 

This week I received a note from an illustrator who has stepped away from illustration for awhile to work full time. 

"Is it possible to resurrect a dead illustration career after a long absence? I needed to take a full time job that was supposed to be work around my freelance work. Unfortunately, the hours clashed with my creativity. My intention was to work at another job for a short time- 3 years later I want to get back into illustration. Is it too late for me to begin again?"

My Answer

Hi A,

Sure! When it come to this career, anything is possible! Ever hear the expression It's never too late to be the person you want to be?

Seriously, this is a genuine concern especially when the creative drive to make illustrations is nagging at you. Quite simply, yes you can re-enter the field of illustration again. 

This career does not come with a rule book or a manual. A decoder ring would be nice. Continuing on... 

It's understandable to need to take another job. Many illustrators juggle two careers. Some work full time or part time. Some illustrators are weekend creatives or night owls. It is possible to do both. It will be a time juggle but once you begin, create a schedule that works for you. 

A good start is to see what you've been missing. Get reconnected to your career by researching online. Even though its been 3 years, things have changed. Great places to get reunited with the industry to see what is going on is Illustration Mundo, The Little Chimp Society, Illustration Friday, Anna Goodson Management and of course this blog too. 

1. Have a look at the work everyone is doing, latest news and trends. 
2. Create your own projects to get motivated, inspired and to create a new portfolio.
3. Need a portfolio? Create some ideas, projects or themes to create work. Post them to your blog, or join the Illustration Friday to get feedback.
4. Read everything you can get your hands on- books, blogs, forums and newsletters.
5. Sign up for free webinars. Listen while you work. 
6. Connect! Connect on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
7. Check online for calls for submissions online for books, projects, magazine articles that are looking for illustrations. Make sure these are legit. If you are not sure-ask other illustrator peeps.
8. Submit to magazine contests such as How Design
9. Attend conferences.
10. Build up a potential client contact list.
11. Create promotional materials. A great place that is inexpensive is
12. Work on a consistent style.
13. Work at it every single day.
14. Lastly, read the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration

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