Home Fashion Illustration The Q&A about my illustration profession

The Q&A about my illustration profession


Once I simply began out as an illustrator, I cherished studying blogs by different illustrators about their illustration careers. Typically I requested them questions immediately through Instagram. It has been very useful to me. Now I am at some extent in my profession the place different illustrators ask me about my profession and my life as an illustrator. So here is a Q&A with essentially the most continuously requested questions! I hope it is useful. When you’ve got some other questions after studying this, be happy to go away a remark or ship me an instagram DM!

Did I am going to the Artwork Academy?

No, I did not, I’m a self-taught illustrator. However the urge to attract has at all times been there. I’ve been drawing ever since I might maintain a pencil. I did comply with just a few programs alongside the best way. For instance a mannequin drawing course which actually improved my expertise in drawing the human physique.

How did I begin my profession?

I made a decision to check legislation, which I actually loved. It wasn’t my plan to pursue a profession as an illustrator at that time in my life. A couple of years after graduating, I began posting some trend illustrations on Instagram and I acquired my first fee by that platform. My first ever fee was to attract an invitation to the Amsterdam Trend Week present of the model Tailor&Elbaz (now known as Maria Tailor). Again then in 2015, I had simply began dreaming about promoting my art work or someway getting an earnings from it. I used to be very shocked to get such a excessive profile job as my first fee. However let me say this: I didn’t receives a commission for it (I didn’t ask for that both, as a result of it was all so new to me) and it wasn’t a break-through second. Nonetheless it was a vital second as a result of it gave me the boldness I wanted to essentially begin pursuing illustration as a profession. And that yr I registered myself on the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

How did I get to my present portfolio and elegance?

Drawing trend was my place to begin. I’ve at all times cherished trend, primarily historic trend. So I began out in that space. I did just a few portfolio critiques with individuals from the illustration trade and so they really helpful me to develop my portfolio to different topics. Considered one of them known as it ‘the female life-style’ which I believe is a good description for what I draw now. What she meant is that I ought to add magnificence, meals and concrete sketching illustrations to my portfolio which might nonetheless match my model. It was among the best items of recommendation I ever acquired. Drawing solely trend is simply too slim a topic for many of us if you wish to make a residing out of it (though there are exceptions in fact).

My model developed alongside the best way. Primarily by simply creating rather a lot! Actually, simply drawing on a regular basis is the very best observe and the easiest way to develop your work. I’ve checked out work from different illustrators (previous and current, Renée Gruau is a favorite) as nicely. There’s nothing mistaken with that, so long as you don’t copy someones model precisely. However you’ll be able to take parts from their drawing model which you want and incorporate that into your personal model.

How did I get my first purchasers?

Let’s return to 2015. As I discussed, my first fee did give confidence, however it wasn’t a break-through second. It did nonetheless leed to a different fee: my first live-drawing gig. Once I shared that on my web site and instagram, extra live-illustration occasions began to return in. First primarily in regional boutiques and outfitters within the Netherlands, however quickly additionally for greater manufacturers. In 2016, Ted Baker requested me to attract stay on tote-bags within the Bijenkorf division retailer in The Hague! How they discovered me? I’m unsure, however I believe through google. They employed me from their head-office in London in order that they googled in English. Though I’m Dutch, my web site is in English. And good search engine marketing is the whole lot!

How did I get the purchasers I at present work for?

I at present work for firms like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Dior. Typically I nonetheless need to pinch myself! How I acquired so far? All of it grew little by little over time. Some purchasers come by word-of-mouth. However many nonetheless discover me through google, Instagram and LinkedIn. Don’t underestimate the facility of the web. Once you publish on Instagram, you by no means know who’s watching. I as soon as did a live-illustration occasion for Tudor Watch in Paris the place I acquired to attract David Beckham. How they discovered me? They regarded on the #liveillustration on Instagram…

So my principal technique is being simple to search out in a number of locations. Web site, social media…and so forth. And I’m additionally a member of the Affiliation of Illustrators and the Listing of Illustration. Each memberships include a portfolio on their websites as nicely.

How do I decide my costs?

It will probably really feel scary to ask a value that you just take into account as ‘excessive’. Imagine me, I’ve been there. I began out with a lot decrease costs than I at present ask. However I quickly realised this wasn’t going to be sustainable if I really wished to make it my fulltime profession. Now I’ve month-to-month earnings from it. I’ve determined to solely do model/firm work and no private commissions. Primarily as a result of I take pleasure in the kind of work extra, but in addition occasion as a result of the budgets in that space are simply a lot larger.

It’s a must to be real looking if you wish to do illustration as a profession. You gained’t simply be a inventive, you’ll even be an entrepreneur. So that you’ll need to assume like one. Give this a thought: What sort of work makes you content AND lets you pay the payments?

Through the first years of freelancing I’ve stored a job on the aspect, so I knew I wasn’t utterly relying on my illustration work financially. This gave me a bit extra freedom and I’d suggest it. 2019 was my fist yr being utterly freelance. I realised that if I wished to make a residing out of this, I needed to elevate my costs. The Affiliation of Illustrators as a pricing device which might help you to find out an appropriate value. For live-illustration at location, I work with an hourly charge. For all different commissions I work with a flat charge which relies on time and the license for utilization of the art work by the shopper.

How do I prepare my funds?

I’ve an accountant. Hiring one was among the best enterprise choices I ever made. Should you simply begin out, you are able to do taxes your self. However as quickly as you’ll be able to afford it, get an accountant! Once I began my illustration profession, I made positive to know normal Dutch taxes and the way VAT works. Since just a few years I even have a enterprise checking account. It’s not obligatory in The Netherlands, however it helps to maintain an outline of my funds and to maintain cash for my firm separated from private funds. The enterprise account is break up in 3 sub accounts: In #1, the funds are available in. I switch the VAT to sub account 2 and the half I wish to hold for enterprise prices to sub account 3. The remainder I exploit to pay myself an earnings and I switch it to my private checking account. I exploit a 1/3 vs 2/3 devision for the enterprise prices (1/3 of each bill) and my very own earnings (2/3). I got here up with that devision my self by the best way, there’s no proper or mistaken right here.

What had been and are my struggles alongside the best way?

Fairly some to be sincere… I believe it’s not doable to have your personal firm with out stumbling and falling occasionally. However it’s the way you rise up once more that issues! That’s the way you study. Once I simply began out, I took on commissions that weren’t match, my costs had been a lot too low and so forth. Some of the essential issues I’ve learnt on this regard is that your personal expectations of a fee and people of the shopper won’t be the identical. So good communication and contracts are a necessity. And I’ve learnt to hearken to my intestine higher. Once I’m unsure if I ought to tackle a fee as a result of it doesn’t really feel like the proper match, I gained’t. This method additionally helped me to construct a portfolio with the type of work that I actually take pleasure in doing and to draw the proper purchasers.

What are my suggestions for books, blogs and movies?


  • Learn how to be an illustrator by Darrel Rees and Nicholas Belchman

  • Present Your Work! by Austin Kleon

  • Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon

  • In Dutch: Wat een baas by Marthe Walter

Youtube channels:



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