All Your Questions About Freelance Illustration Answered

by ryan

All YOUR Questions About Freelance Illustration Answered.


I often get questions from students who are interested in becoming a freelance illustrator or artist and want to know more about my journey as a freelancer. I decided to share my responses on this blog and hopefully provide more clarification to individuals who are thinking about becoming an illustrator as well. So here it is:

1. How did you decide that you wanted to be a freelance illustrator?

I always loved drawing and creating things. However, in high school, my focus was to get good grades and get into the best University possible to pursue a career in health & medicine. Late into my last semester of high school, I had a realization.

The thought of working hard for something I was not passionate about didn’t make sense anymore. At that point, I did my own research and decided that I wanted to seriously become an illustrator. I spent the remainder of my high school building a portfolio and managed to enroll into a good art college.

I often receive emails from students who are hesitant to pursue art as a career because of certain expectations from their parents or just the fear of possibly failing. My advice is to be honest with yourself and to pursue what you love. There is no guarantee that everything will work out but the adventure itself is worth taking.

2. What sort of art education did you receive?

I studied at Sheridan College for 4 years and got a BAA Illustration degree. If you would like read more about my perspective on Art Education, check out my previous blog post here.

3. Are your illustrations done on computer? If so, what program do you use?

I create most of my art digitally because it allows me to work faster and meet tight deadlines. Occasionally I would go back to inks, acrylics and markers just for the fun of it.

For programs, I use Adobe Photoshop to create my artwork. For text and graphic design elements, I use Adobe Illustrator.

4. Do you have a drawing tablet?

I use the Wacom Cintiq 21UX. Not sure if that’s considered a tablet but it’s a large screen that you can draw directly on. They are fairly pricey so if that’s not within your budget, any small tablet will do. I had a small Wacom pen tablet that I used throughout college and for many years after; it was wonderful.

5. Do you listen to music while you work?

Yes, music is my muse.

6. What inspires your art? I always have problems with inspiration during class. I would be given a certain amount of time and I’d spend the first few days deciding what I should create.

I’m inspired by the events that take place in my life. That could be art, music, fashion, popular culture, love and heartbreaks. Simply drawing what I love is enough to keep me up all night as well.

It’s normal to take a lot of time to think of ideas and to get inspired. Getting inspired actually requires practice and discipline. In College, it was easier for students to receive specific instructions from the professor versus coming up with their own ideas and topics. My tip is to keeping a sketchbook to record the moments when you are inspired. That way, when you are in class and you are not feeling so inspired you can pull up your sketchbook for ideas.

7. Did you make this whole site yourself?

No, I use a WordPress theme. I use to make my own websites but I think using WordPress is the way to go nowadays. There are so themes available online that you’re sure to find one that you like and then you could easily modify it to your liking. It’s are also very affordable and you don’t require a lot of coding knowledge to use it.

Hope you enjoyed this interview. Thank you to Olaf who sent me these questions. If you have any further questions or comments, share them in the comment section below and I will try by best to respond.

For those who are already freelancers and have questions about contracts and image rights, be sure to subscribe to the Drawing for Dollars newsletter. I’ve been going through important contract terminology for the last couple of weeks and there is a lot wonderful information coming up.

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