independent research

Advice on How to Become an Illustrator

This information has been gathered from a couple of Will Terry’s videos on careers as an illustrator. His YouTube channel is here:

  • It’s rare for art directors to actually see you in person – generally they have less time than ever now. Occasionally there’s policies to leave samples or portfolios with them but unless you live in the same city there’s not much point as there’s other things you can do to get a better ratio of time to success
  • Art directors are always looking for new work – postcards are actually quite successful or pursuing people to look at your work
  •   – careers advice for illustration and so on
  • He advices against portfolio sites. He sees them as a ‘deadzone’ and only got 1 opportunity after a year that costed around $300. They tend to be avoided by art directors because they’re no where near as constantly updated as sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Basically, they’re not ‘target rich environments’
  • Don’t be too afraid of art directors – art directors might actually be more afraid of artists. They’ll find an artist they think is perfect for the job but they’ll worry you won’t deliver – the quality might not be up to your portfolio, you might not stick to the brief, you might be resistant to changing your ideas
  • Often your work will be pitched but you’ll never find out so try not to be too discouraged if it seems that you’re not getting much consideration
  • Your job is to make the art directors comfortable with your portfolio
  • You need to start from lower level projects if you’ve just graduated – otherwise art directors aren’t going to stake their reputation on suggesting you as a potential illustrator
  • Sometimes working for free or for a low amount means that you’re being taken advantage of but it also could lead to more opportunities. Sometimes you might be able to say that if you’re working for such a low amount or free you can add terms like you get to make the final decisions for that project. The person who says they’re never being taken advantage of is often the person that never does anything at all

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