Illustration Tips – By @LawrenceESlater
By Lawrence Slater
I was emailed this week from someone in Canada asking for tips starting a career in illustration. I cba’ed to answer for a few days but then decided that me putting in 5 mins could make his day. I learned a lot myself in the process. A year ago I would have given completely different answers, my response now is definitely from my new SCA ad industry related learning.
Both making ads and making drawings are creative outputs. I think many of the same rules apply in both fields to making the work and building a career.
My response goes as follows.
Thanks for getting touch.
I like your drawings, very fun.
I’m currently learning to be an art director in advertising and so illustration is just a side kind of a passion project for me right now. For years I did just do drawing work but it was quite up and down in terms of having enough money to live off but I wasn’t that proactive and lots of my friends earn well off it so it definitely can work if you really want it to.
If I was to push it again though I do a couple of things. This is kind of just like a brain dump lol. Take from it what you will.
Post on drawings on Instagram every day, this will help you develop your style and create something different and recognisable and give the chance for others to see it. Try and stand out from other illustrators as much as you can. Use opposite colors or weirder shapes or draw from weird angles etc.
Have something to say and don’t be scared of saying it. Work or an artist that has a purpose or statement I think works better. Like if you’re a vegan produce work promoting veganism. An image that doesn’t have a message sure can still look nice and is worth making but just is less powerful. This doesn’t have to be a powerful purpose message could just be something to do with everyday life or popular culture. But take a viewpoint and don’t be scared of it, chances are plenty of people will stand by you.
Contact potential clients in a nice friendly way. Don’t email them asking for work. Just make them a drawing and send them it. Or try and start a convo or meet for a coffee. It’s all about relationships. The more friendships you build up with potential clients the more work you will get. Also, you can meet these people and ask for advice on your work and just try and become friends with them. At the end of the day, networking is so important. They may also have some great feedback or tips for your work.
There isn’t really any set tips tricks or rules. Just work as hard as you can at it and get the right people to see your work.
Also most importantly have fun. Make work that you think is funny/ risky / naughty/ stupid/ enjoyable to make and look at. If you enjoy making it others will enjoy looking at it.