STARTING OVER


Sophia1

New Member
Deal all, I have been out of work for a while because of family commitments and career change to suit these commitments. For about 14 years in the past I have worked as a Graphic Designer mainly as an Artworker for publishing companies, based in London, I have freelanced, self-employed, part-time, full time, night shifts... That was up to about 12 years ago and of course my great skills as an Artworker are now officially out-of-date!! I have done some basic work on a freelance basis, doing artwork for reports using InDesign and some Photoshop, I also freelanced for packaging projects using Adobe Illustrator, that worked really well for me as I was able to work from home most of the time. But this has now stopped and am finding it difficult to find similar work. I live in Kent now and really would love to update my skills and find a way back in. Could anybody advise me in terms of bringing myself up and running again, perhaps any publishing companies who would use freelance artworkers, any advise would be welcome, apart from “give up”. Thanks in advance.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Never give up!

Send your details around to repro/artworker/print management companies in your area offering your freelance services.

In terms of updating your skills, there's a free months trial on Lynda.com and there's some fantastic courses on their for whatever skills you need to update.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
^^^As Hank says.^^^

I'm constantly learning and trying to improve as I think it's important not to stand still.

Personally, I completely left design for about six years just as computers were really taking over.
I returned out of necessity but had to learn a whole new skill set

I needed to learn how to use a Mac properly and all the software to go with it before everything was out there on YouTube and stuff.
I just had to sit and work stuff out for myself by trial and error.

Later on I needed to learn how to use Ai after the demise of Freehand but this was SO much easier to do using Lynda for the basics and various tut's for the rest.

It can seem daunting but it's all out there and it's never been easier to learn from home without spending a penny.
 

Sophia1

New Member
Thank you! In terms of equipment would it be a good idea to upgrade my Adobe suite - how is this done these days? (I’m back on CS5 I think but am suspecting that nowadays one needs to pay a hefty monthly subscription. I would also like to explore illustration work and perhaps invest on a tablet to work with my Mac book pro?
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
The Adobe suite is now in the cloud called Creative Cloud - it's done on a monthly or a yearly subscription.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
There isn't a great deal of difference between CS5 and CC to be honest and unless you're getting a lot of work where you can warrant the upgrade the I'd stick with that for now.

The full CC subscription is about £50pcm but that includes all Adobe packages.

As you're thinking of doing Illustration and maybe using a tablet then it might be worth considering learning and using Affinity Designer.
It's about £50, one off price for the Mac and about £20 for the iPad version.
It's the full working version on the iPad but you do need the Pro or 2018 model to use the Apple Pencil with it.
Depending on who you speak to, many say it's better and more intuitive to use than Illustrator and there have been a few discussions on here about it if you do a search.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
Affinity is a good shout, but not yet mainstream from what I can gather. Defo worth giving it a try though!
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Affinity is a good shout, but not yet mainstream from what I can gather. Defo worth giving it a try though!
Totally agree Hank.

Thing is....It works very similarly to illustrator with all the tools and UI and I think if I wasn't so use to using Ai then I'd have swapped right now.
Plus a lot of what I do goes into After Effects and Ai and Ae work pretty seamlessly and it's easier for the animators to import.

I think it would work is you were a Freelance Illustrator because nobody really cares what platform it was created on as long as it's in the fight file type.
It's be different if you were working in a studio say an an Artworker as Adobe is still industry standard.

....for now at least. ;)
 

Sophia1

New Member
Thank you for the ideas, Lynda.com sounds like a good starting point, maybe take time to look into it over the holiday break :) Ideally I would like to get involved in magazine design/artwork which is the most familiar to me. I would still want to work from home though so I am wondering if there is such an opportunity anywhere? So far, apart from those reports which I did for the University design team, I have not found anything else. And time is ticking by... :-0
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
As mad as it sounds, you should get out and about. Head to an industrial estate and pop in a letter/portfolio with the receptionist, get the owner/managers name and see if you can talk to them, and follow them up with a phone call.

I'd spend at least 2 weeks doing something like this.

The last sales guy I spoke to on this many years ago said to me that he leaves his house at 6 in the morning and is in the industrial estates at 6.30 when people are arriving for work, then pops in to them. He keeps going all morning until he hit our building, usually about 11 am.

Then he'd follow up on emails/phone calls. And by about 3 o'clock be back out on the road again.

I know it's not ideal to be out and about all the time, but you should devote some time to getting in front of people and them getting to know you.


Are there are any buisness like events on around you, any chambers of commerce, SME meetings, etc. in your area? Are there any local bodies for businesses in your area?
 

Sophia1

New Member
As mad as it sounds, you should get out and about. Head to an industrial estate and pop in a letter/portfolio with the receptionist, get the owner/managers name and see if you can talk to them, and follow them up with a phone call.

I'd spend at least 2 weeks doing something like this.

The last sales guy I spoke to on this many years ago said to me that he leaves his house at 6 in the morning and is in the industrial estates at 6.30 when people are arriving for work, then pops in to them. He keeps going all morning until he hit our building, usually about 11 am.

Then he'd follow up on emails/phone calls. And by about 3 o'clock be back out on the road again.

I know it's not ideal to be out and about all the time, but you should devote some time to getting in front of people and them getting to know you.


Are there are any buisness like events on around you, any chambers of commerce, SME meetings, etc. in your area? Are there any local bodies for businesses in your area?[/QU

The issue is I wouldn’t know how to sell my services if I don’t know what their needs are. For this reason I feel my choices are limited to my familiar environments such as publishing companies, even newspapers (I thought of these when you mentioned industrial estates :) It’s also a confidence thing when you meet people as a professional.. I did it a few years ago when I met with the University and this was so good, I felt so lucky because it was just the thing I could do and this is when I learnt to use InDesign as I had been using QuarkXPress before. It all went really well but after a couple of years they stopped outsourcing work! I tried different Universities for similar stuff but they were all in-house and not looking for freelancers. I also looked at publishing companies but didn’t get very far. I wouldn’t know how to approach chambers of commerce and SME meetings :-( But I understand about “persistence” and patience yes, I am not too good with this, I guess when I was younger it was so easy to walk into any office and sort out whatever was at the desk.
 
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scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for the ideas, Lynda.com sounds like a good starting point, maybe take time to look into it over the holiday break :) Ideally I would like to get involved in magazine design/artwork which is the most familiar to me. I would still want to work from home though so I am wondering if there is such an opportunity anywhere? So far, apart from those reports which I did for the University design team, I have not found anything else. And time is ticking by... :-0
Personally, I'd think about some other areas besides publishing and editorial.

The internet hasn't been kind to magazines and news-papers in recent years.
 

Sophia1

New Member
I could do with $10,000 to start with :) I have to find out a list of companies who use freelance graphic designers and start making contact. It’s scary because my portfolio is ancient and am no longer too proud of it :-(
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
There have been a few threads like this one about returning to the industry or starting in it.

My advice is always to pursue and produce the things that you enjoy and not just those that bring in the money.
If you have a niche and you enjoy and get good at it then the rest will follow.

If you're bringing yourself back up to speed with the software, just set yourself projects to refresh/build your folio.
That's what I did.

Search out some tutorials and instead of creating what they've done, put your own slant on it and make the final piece yours.
That way you learn and you've got another piece for your folio that you can call your own.

When I'm doing self initiated work I try to ask myself these questions.

Will I enjoy doing it?

Is it the type of thing I want to be doing for others?

Can I learn from doing it?

Can I get exposure from it?

A while ago, I set myself the task of learning After Effects so I'm doing the same thing right now.
A few times I've hit a bit of a low and thought that I've learned very little in the time and then I look back and see the opposite.
 

Sophia1

New Member
wow thank you for all this - brilliant advice! I totally agree and thank you for sharing this with me. I actually had a look at an advert of a food company looking for a graphic designer to produce display, posters, point of sale and packaging materials etc. I like the look of this because I love food and they also seem ethical producing home made food, and although looks like a full-time post, they offer some flexibility.
 

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
Are you going to apply?
If so, good luck with it.

I think it's important to at least have an interest in the kind of product or service that you're designing for as that way it's not as much like work if it's something your in to.

A few years ago, I asked my Son what he wanted to do when he grew up and he told me "A Lawyer".
I asked him why and he said "Because they earn a lot of money".

I then told him to listen to a part of an Alan Watts lecture and now he wants to be a Creative which is not something I've encouraged.
He is a natural creative and all he needed to understand is Watts important in life.

Did you see what I did there?
God I'm good! :D

 

Sophia1

New Member
You are definitely good ! ... Thank you for the video, it’s so true...
I have had a look at Lynda.com and very impressed with how much there is available!! Already started a course on photoshop / illustrator and can say that I’m more excited about learning than the job searching.
Good idea to create some things from stuff that I like. It feels like it’s just the beginning :)

How old is your son now?
I also tell my child to "find what you love to do” the most important lesson. It takes guts but its worth it
 
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