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8 Steps to Becoming an Illustrator

8 Steps to Becoming an Illustrator

Hamsa Ramesha | ArtBistro

4. Know Your Field

Pop quiz: Who are the experts in illustration? Find out the history of your craft and learn about the individuals that made an impact in it. Know who your competitors are and who the big shots are. It’s the kind of knowledge that can give you an edge when talking to a client. Every little thing counts!

5. Land an Agent

Finding a great agent can be the best career move of your life. You need someone who knows the industry and has established relationships with the companies you want to work for, someone who will be your advocate and who believes in your work. If this is a financially difficult choice to make, consider getting a mentor you can turn to for advice and guidance in your career.

6. Create a Website Portfolio

Before the Internet, an artist’s portfolio was just an oversized folder of their best work. Today, you have the advantage of creating a portfolio website, a slice of digital space with an unlimited audience. While some artists may scorn the quality of artwork on the web, it really is the best way to promote yourself and display your work. Your website shouldn’t just be a list of links and pictures, though. Make sure the design reflects your artistic skills too. Keep it updated with new work and major artistic achievements. A digital portfolio is the best way for future clients to find you and see if they like your style before hiring you. And since clients who hire you once are more likely to hire you again and again, create a mailing list on your site so that people can keep track of your latest work.

7. Get Clients

With a focused medium, a killer website, and knowledge of the big players and competitors in your field, you are all set to start your search for clients! Don’t just rely on your agent to do all the work. Sometimes a good old fashioned professional cover letter or phone call can get you a foot in the door as well. This is a good time to reach out to fellow artists or art professors. Expand your network by attending art shows and staying up-to-date on the latest art trends in your field. Be open to the option of freelancing before landing a full-time gig. Always make use of existing clients to gain new ones. Don’t be afraid to ask clients if they know of anyone else who could benefit from your expertise!

8. Display Your Art

There’s nothing that draws a crowd like a traditional art show. This is a great way to meet future clients, and get in touch with your audience in person. Look into street fairs or local festivals if you feel more at home in these venues. Use these opportunities to promote yourself and your work as well as find new clients, expand your network, and work the crowd!


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