“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
Here are four ideas to consider when it comes to being of service:
1. How can you be of service to your clients?
2. How can you be of service to your audience?
3. How can you be of service to your industry?
4. How can you be of service to yourself?
Being of service goes beyond a project- it's your own value you place on your work and the illustration industry. These are not rules but more like good creative codes to live by. To me, being in this industry is a lot of give and take. What makes your career even better-when you include yourself into the process too.
Once again, this is one of those things we are not taught at art school. It's just another way to think about illustration and that is a good thing.
Being of Service To Clients
Being of service to clients involves a lot of active listening and idea solving.
Your clients are part of your creative community. By creating a connection with them could lead to more work and greater word or mouth. By acting as a creative consultant you can further the importance of illustration and to create a bigger understanding about what you do. It's a good thing to communicate effectively throughout the illustration process. Remember to include them in the process: they hired you in the first place so they should be!
Being of Service To Your Audience
You can be of service to audience by promoting what you can do. This can a tricky balance of push and pull. The hard sell can drive your audience away so try the conversational and story style. If direct promotion is not your style try positive posts that share your personality that offer something to your audience. Consistently reaching out by sharing your ideas, links, thoughts, and experiences tells your audience you are involved.
Being Of Service to Your Industry
To me, a true illustration pro works in the best interest for themselves, their clients and the industry combined. A big thing to avoid is unprofessional spec work and questionable contests. It's a gamble that is not good for you and it makes the industry look bad. These practices are not going away anytime soon, so once again, you need to go with your instincts. Stay informed!
Staying professional, promoting, supporting, mentoring and teaching can go a long way. Team up with your creative community online or around the corner. No one needs to create in a bubble!
Being of Service To Yourself
You can be of service to yourself by really honing your skills and fully understanding what markets you want to focus on. Another big one- ask for what you want. Having a good relationship with your idea process and experiments are just as important as knowing when to go with your gut.
Important: Be kind to your work and yourself by always using a contract and DO NOT give your work away. Understand that the illustration industry can act like an exclusive club sometimes, so persistence and assertiveness is key! Take rejection and criticism for it is and know that not everyones "expert" opinion is fact- it's just an opinion.
You have a life outside of your work. Remember that.
Mistakes, rejection, burnout, heavy deadlines and stress happens so it's important to take care of your health and head. Time management, sleep, and letting yourself shut off from work is important to do. Give yourself time to work productively and always make time for other creative pursuits.
Happy creating this week!