My Education: BFA, Illustration, Massachusetts College of a Art
My Prior Experience: I've drawn since childhood.
My Company: Self-employed; I create unique illustrations for corporate and personal assignments.
Job/Career Overview: I create artwork to accompany the written story or advertisement provided by my clients.
An art director or book publisher will contact me for an assignment. The first step is usually the worst part and that is to talk finances with my client and agree upon a price. Once that's been taken care of I start working on sketches of what I envision the final piece to look like. I collect the three sketches I like the best and present them to the client. Once the client chooses a sketch I refine it into a final, more comprehensive sketch, which I return to the client for final approval.
The sketching phase is the most creative part of my work day. I let my mind wander and draw whatever comes to mind and just enjoy being an artist.
The next part of the assignment is the final rendering. I work both on the computer and with traditional materials. During this phase I apply all the colors that will make up the final illustration. This is the magical part of being an artist. This is where the artist creates beautiful images out of nothing (with a little bit of help from Adobe).
Once this phase is done, the final illustration is sent to the client for approval. There are usually some changes but if there's nothing too drastic I do those and call it a day.
More Insights: You need to observant and have a sharp eye for the world around you.
You have to be comfortable working by yourself.
You've got to be a self-starter and have lots of motivation.
The biggest misconception about being an illustrator is that everyone thinks you can't make money doing art. You can. It's not always easy but the job satisfaction is extremely high.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
The worst part of my job is dealing with clients who undervalue my abilities because they don't think illustration is work. They get this idea because they think it's easy due to an artist's natural abilities or the enjoyment of their career.
The best part of my job is that it's incredible to make a living at doing something you love and no two assignments are ever the same.
Never stop drawing. As with most things you can get out of practice.
Learn from artists who came before you. The masters have worked out all the same problems you'll ever come across.
Don't get discouraged or take personal criticism of your artwork personally.
Definitely pursue a career in art if you love it, even if some say you'll never make any money. You may not make as much as in some other jobs, but you'll be happy. After all no one ever says, "I wish I couldn't draw."