Tips to kick start your career as an illustrator

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A career in illustration doesn’t just mean drawing nice pictures and artistic images, you need to be able to promote yourself as an illustrator, handle your social media accounts, make contacts with art directors, have a record of your income and expenses, maintain your website, and make sure you get paid for your work. It is something that you need to figure out as you move forward in your professional life, especially if you are working as a freelancer providing book illustration services.
Below are some brief points that can kick start your career as a freelance illustrator.
1.     
     Choose your genre of work
Most illustrators tart with their work with editorial illustrations. It is one of the best choices if you want to build a career as an art director. On the other hand, you can also build your portfolio with local magazines. However, before stepping into editorial services, you need to know it is one of the lowest paid jobs having the quickest turnaround time.
Conversely, industries needing illustrations for packaging and advertising comes with a higher budget for the work. You can also illustrate stationary, children’s books, and other products. So do your research before stepping in the industry.
2.     
     Get drawing

Once you’ve figured out where you want to work, it is time to get started with the illustrations. Don’t just get started with drawing with anything that you like; you need to build a portfolio so work on drawings that you want to be commissioned for. For example, if you choose to work for children’s books, don’t expect the art director to hire you if you don’t have anything similar to your choice of work in your portfolio.
3.     
     Create a portfolio site

If you have enough work to show off, it time for you to work on your website. Being a professional illustrator, you need to establish yourself to get the desired work through the digital world. Don’t fret if you can’t code! You can use any of the online platforms to build a creative portfolio — not anything flashy, just a work of art which speaks for itself. Be consistent in your work to make your style recognizable. Create categories of work and your style that sets you apart from others.
4.     
     See yourself as a business

If you are interested in illustrations, then make it your business — and mean it business. You need to know that pretty pictures can also make money, but it requires extensive research and work that can attract. Look for gaps in the market, connect your work with different industries, and showcase your work. Establish yourself in the market to attract writers, marketers, publishers, and more to get the desired work.
5.     
     Benefit from social media

Social media is one of the best platforms where you can easily find clients to establish your business. Connect with other creative people in the industry and get involved in discussions. Make h most out of visual platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, or Snapchat. It’s not necessary to post your finished projects; you can also take pictures of the work process and post it online.
6.     
     Start hustling

You need to start researching magazines, studios, or publishers that commission work similar to yours. What’s really important is not to waste time on places where your work doesn’t fit. Do your research on the internet and visit platforms such as LinkedIn to find out the leading people in the industry.
7.     
     Get along with other creative minds

There is no harm in getting help from other people who understands the complexities of your work. Join a community or a group on the internet or organize a meet up in your city to get along with graphic designers and illustrators. Appreciating their work and sharing it without a return can lead you some serious recommendations of work.
8.     
     Get Organized

One of the most important factors of becoming a successful freelance illustrator is to be organized with your work. Keep track of your things, make a file of ideas, file your payment receipts, and set reminders of everything that you need to do. There are many organizational tools that you can use to sort things out. Do a little research to find out which works best for you.
9.    
          Don’t quit your day job

Establishing yourself as an illustrator is a long game. You are not going to be popular overnight. Just like any other business, you need to market yourself and work some other job to maintain stability.


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