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Advice for a beginning illustrator kind of guy

Discussion in 'Illustration Forum:' started by TEM, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. TEM

    TEM New Member


    I have recently graduated with a 1:1 BA in illustration around 2014, and (in the long-run) I would be interested in becoming a freelance illustrator. Now what I have currently done to work towards the goal is having produced a series of illustrations based on pre-existing articles and sending them out to the art directors of magazines. So far I have received two replies, one near the end of 2014 for a political magazine where the AD enjoyed my work and said that it would be kept on file. The second was some time last week from an AD for a historical magazine who liked my work as well and found it to be original, but in the mean time had no work to offer as the publication has already regular contributors. Now I would consider continuing creating work in my spare time and regularly sending them to prospective ADs about every two months, as emails and post cards, but I would like some advice in broadening my approach. For example with the "style" that I have, what do you believe could be a good area to go into (i.e. postcards, publications, etc.)? What are aspects that could be improved (i.e. composition, conceptual approach, etc.)? Also, with my current skill set, what are some part-time jobs I could consider?


    The original editorial illustrations I had sent out late 2014: and

    Editorial illustrations I had sent out this February:

    Main portfolio:
  2. Wardy

    Wardy Active Member

    You seem to be targeting the right areas, you just need to do lots more of it. I remember the old 'We'll keep it on file' excuse, but most do, and one day you will have two or three
    ringing up in the same week. Then two or three of those will become regulars, and so on. However, I do feel that to be competitive in editorial illustration, you need to offer an idea
    that is original and clever, maybe with a pun in there somewhere, and I don't think yours are quite there yet. Have a look what your competitors are doing.

    Your style of illustration would look good in brochure work or blogs, but maybe look to develop one or two other styles and therefore your outlets would increase.
  3. TEM

    TEM New Member

    Thanks for the good advice, Wardy. I was under the impression (based on what I've read on illustration blogs, as well as what they generally taught at uni) that art directors preferred an illustrator with a consistent style than one who frequently goes off in many directions. I would imagine, then, that it would be best to create a series of work in a particular style to specific clients. Brochures/blogs might be interesting to explore, though I don't know of any examples/clients to approach and any examples off the top of your head would be appreciated.

    I would be curious in knowing generally which of the illustrations that had been demonstrated were stronger/weaker, so as to consider which approaches to follow and expand upon. However thank you for your help so far, and this will help give me further direction to consider for future projects.
  4. Wardy

    Wardy Active Member

    Yes, you can keep to one style for particular clients, but there's nothing wrong in diversifying for other clients.

    I hear a lot of people say keep to one style, but you will be limiting the areas in which you want to target. Your work is great for editorial and you may want to look to
    areas like book illustration etc and maybe target some graphic designers for brochure work. I can only speak from my point of view. Last month I was doing a map, this week I'm doing simple cartoons for a local
    authority, next week I've got a jigsaw puzzle to do. If I worked in only one style I would simply not have enough work coming in. But that's just me. If you want to push your one style, you may want to think
    about joining an illustration agency or two.

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