How to Take Up a Career as a Freelance Illustrator

How to Take Up a Career as a Freelance Illustrator

Are you contemplating taking up a career as freelance illustrator?  If you are going to take up a job as an illustrator you could be making paintings, drawings and illustrating images that enhance the look of products and make it more attractive and less difficult to understand. There are different kinds of illustration like educational illustration, medical illustration, cartoon illustration, technical illustration etc.  You can choose whichever you are interested in.   If you feel that you have talent and are good at drawing, your creative skills and imagination could help you to build a lucrative career in illustration.

Meeting the Requirement as an Illustrator

You should always adhere to the customer specifications and guidelines, be creative and innovative.  Finishing all your work within the given deadline, meeting client’s deadlines is the number one priority and time management is crucial to be successful in your career.  If you want to be a professional illustrator, you will need a professional degree or any other degree related to the arts, but if you are talented and have the confidence and zeal to be successful, then you could even do without a degree.

 As an illustrator you should discuss all your requirements with all those whom you work with, like designers or editors.  You should negotiate the price and time frame of the project.  When you take up your work you should decide on the perfect style for your designs. There are a number of software and design packages that you can use to work on the computer.  To be more successful, you have the option to specialize in any one type of illustration.  In educational illustration you can work for an academic organization or book illustration doing illustrative books for children or work for publications.  Taking up a career as a freelance illustrator can help you to be your own boss without the need to work under anyone but this will require discipline and time management.  It will require business skills in order to sell your goods and services.  You should have good financial stability and should be able to promote yourself as an illustrator in the business world.

Organizing your Work

You can organize yourself and have your own working hours, it all depends on your targets and deadlines that you need to meet and the work you have at hand.  You can work at the convenience of your home or can work in a studio.  You could also spend time meeting clients and marketing your skills and talents.  When you take up your career as a freelancer normally you would be negotiating your fees with the client.  You can also decide whether you want to be paid on a per hour basis or according to the work you undertake.  If you engage the services of an agent, the agent would negotiate on your behalf.  Fees depend upon the workload and the time frame in which the project undertaken will be completed.

Getting Noticed as an Illustrator

Think about innovative ways of getting noticed as an illustrator in the market, as you promote yourself.  Highlight the advantages that the prospective client will get if he hires you.  Building a portfolio of your work is a good idea, in this way prospective clients can easily judge your work and talent.

Step #1:  Website or Blog

You can build a website or write a blog where you can promote yourself and showcase your talent.  This is a great way to get noticed.  You can connect with prospective clients through social network sites like Facebook etc. In these days social media tools cannot be set aside.

 Step #2:  Social Networking Websites

There are many uses of social media sites like interacting with other professionals, making friends and interacting with other illustrators etc.   You can also share your work and update your clients about your new piece of work.  Use your social media tools consistently and at a regular pace in order to make it work for you.

If you’ve a Facebook, twitter, google plus, Pinterest or LinkedIn account, you can surely keep in touch with the industry leaders, other freelancers and several companies.

Step #3:  Creating Uniqueness in your Artwork

In order to be successful as a freelance illustrator you need to be inspired at the very beginning of the project.  Look outside of your discipline and look for ideas and themes so that you can make your work livelier and more interesting.  But be honest and hardworking in your work, do not copy others' work, but they can always be useful to inspire you.  Being an illustrator is all about being creative and using your imagination, so give a vent to the artist in you.  Each illustrator should have his own style and it should be spontaneous that comes right from your heart.

Step #4:  Create a Stunning Portfolio

Make use of your portfolio and it can work wonders for you.  You can give a glimpse of your work to prospective clients through a well-made portfolio.  Taking up illustration as a freelancer is more than just drawing beautiful diagrams or images.  Just sitting down and illustrating pictures all day long is not going to get you anywhere.

Step #5:  Accepting any Projects at the Beginning

The important thing to keep in mind is just because you started work as a freelancer it does not mean that you will gain instant success.  No matter how low the price you are offered for your services, you should never turn them down.  Sometimes it could take months to get your first break through, but be patient and work hard.  You need to be prepared with proper financial support to help you survive during the waiting period.  If you have worry and anxiety about money, this can lead to loss of productivity and will definitely affect your career.  So once that is taken care of, you can concentrate on your work and look out for clients without any worries.  Even when you are successful in getting your first client you need to keep looking, so that you have consistency in your own work.

Being a freelancer means that you are your own boss but be responsible and make yourself accountable.  Organize your work, the number of hours you are going to work or the time that you are going to spend searching for clients. Keep a strict schedule of these things so that you can establish yourself successfully as a freelancer.

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