THE SCARY BEGINNING
Are you thinking of becoming an Illustrator? Photographer? Writer? Disc Jockey to alien species? Discovering of all the avenues you need to pursue can be tough (I would know). Having finally decided after a long time of writing and illustrating a life blog a couple times a week that I wanted to really buckle down and pursue this dream, I immediately threw myself into tons of reading materials, online blogs, and illustration society websites. I also sat down with more than a few illustrator friends and picked their brains. I am by no means the voice of experience here, but I am going through this right now so everything is fresh in my mind. Which is nice, when I am not trying to, you know, sleep.
8 OF THE MANY QUESTIONS THAT ARE HARD TO ANSWER
What market do you want to aim for? What is your budget? What is your mission statement? How will you promote yourself? How much time are you willing to put towards this? How do you know if you are making headway? What is your portfolio supposed to look like? Are you even any good at this?
8 (UNRELATED) THINGS I REALIZED:
- Writing half-scribbled notes on 300 different pieces of paper is not helpful.
- You need a brand and a style. A brand should tell you what you believe in as a company (not the same as your personal beliefs), where to focus, and give guidance on how to appeal to that market. I actually have an entirely separate mind map for my many thoughts on branding, which I will one day post here. Developing style is tougher and more unique to you, but style will be what really sells you.
- You need to be nice. Help people, be honest and constructive in your critiques of other people's work. I follow this because that's what I hope people who visit this site or interact with me over the internet will do with me.
- Feedback is awesome. Even when you don't agree with it.
- Telling people your dreams gets easier with every person. Not a single person has done as I feared and replied to my confession that I want to be an illustrator by laughing in my face.
- Get out there NOW. Set immediate goals, get to know your peers right away, begin gearing up even if you don't feel your work is your strongest -- you might never get to your ideal state of readiness if you don't.
- Don't give up your copyrights. Just don't.
- Tackle the business side now. It's not as scary as it looks, and it's better to know what you need to survive and work back from there. Once you will do, you see that working for free for two years is just not going to be a financially viable option. Respect yourself and your talent and get paid.
WHERE THE MIND MAP COMES IN
So I made this mind map. If you click the image, it should open in a larger window where you can read everything in finer detail. I really hope that this is a help to other rising freelancers. If not, it will at least give my family some insight into the thought that is required to do this. Illustrators are just really creative, super awesome business people that deserve respect. Some items are specific to my brand or my business, but everything should be clearly adaptable to your own ideas. I may explore some of these concepts in further detail as I tackle them.
Do you have comments or questions? Ideas that I may have overlooked or you would like me to explore further? These kinds of questions can only help all of us, so please feel free to comment!