Ok so you followed the guides on how the hell can you become a freelance illustrator? Now the tricky bit, you’ve done it for a few days and you want to stay one forever. How the hell can you do that? Lucky for you here’s my guide to help the nightmare, sorry, dream come true….

  1. Don’t be guided by cash, yeah you need to bring the bacon in but be prepared to have holes in your socks if you are lucky enough to own a pair.
  2. Constantly improve your drawing skills.
  3. Get your sh*t organised, otherwise after a few years of chaos you will have at least three breakdowns a week, minimum.

  1. Keep your portfolio updated and contact new clients every now and then, well that’s what people keep telling me to do.
  2. Relax. That doesn’t mean don’t do any work, it just means don’t be hard on yourself, chill out. You aren’t saving lives you’re just drawing and at best someone will like it, at worst they’ll just think you’re sh*t, you’ll live to show them they were wrong, hopefully.
  3. The ability to multi task is a life saver…apparently.
  4. It also helps to be slightly schizophrenic. You need to be an artist, an accountant, a marketing manager, a sales rep…err cleaner, cook, admin thingy, logistics manager, trainer, motivator, delivery driver, PA….the list goes on and on.
  5. Focus on what you want…not what you want for dinner, but your goals. Do you want to be the best doodler in your road, even village or do you just want to have fun and let your rich partner bring in the dosh. Whatever you want just go for it and enjoy it, bear in mind tho’ that occasionally you have to think of others and your rich partner might not always be enamoured with your lacksidaisical attitude to your income, so once in a while keep ’em sweet.
  6. Don’t be afraid to say no.
    “No I don’t want onions on my salad”
    “No I can’t draw 32 cards for Monday, well I could but they’d be crap, I can do one really good one though for Thursday”.
  7. Listen to tunes…don’t listen to tunes. Listen to stuff that cheers you up and gets the blood pumping. Change what you’re listening to at least every three years. As much as you like the music, listening to the same tracks day in day out ain’t gonna do you a favour in the long term. There will be times when it’s distracting so if you’re in a distracted mood switch ’em off. Basically do whatever you need to do to make working a fairly pleasurable experience.
  8. Remember you have a life outside of freelancing, catching up with friends, family, doing other hobbies – variety is the spice of life and all that. Yeah you can immerse yourself in your job if that’s the way you wanna roll and you’ll no doubt get to where you want in record time, but if you’re like me then other stuff is important.
  9. Take regular breaks, if a deadline is imminent, that can’t always happen but wherever you can, jet off to somewhere exotic for two months and do naff all. If finances don’t allow that then just go for a stretch and a wee.
  10. Don’t work for free.
    “Oh I’m just doing something and I need you to do a picture and it’ll potentially be a really big gig for you…” 9 times out of 10 that big gig never really happens.
    However there’s always exceptions. You might not get cash but can you benefit from it in another shape or form. For example, if Time Magazine said “Can you do a picture for the cover of this months edition? We’ve spent our budget so you’ll have to do it for free” then that’s a good contact to impress and some pretty decent exposure if you need it . So weigh it up, it may not always be about the cash. I would’ve thought Time Magazine should pay though.
  11. If I had a penny for every time someone said “That’s great I’ll be in touch to buy all your artwork it’s amazing…” Then I’d have about 9p. So don’t hold your breath, they more than likely won’t get back in touch.
  12. Lastly nothing’s forever. So if you want to become a vet after a while then you go do that instead.